Project title: Refining multi-element analysis and mapping methodologies for sulphides and silicates
Researcher: Dr Maurice Brodbeck
The facilities at the raw materials laboratory of the geology department at Trinity College Dublin can analyse trace element concentrations in all kind of materials, such as ore, magmatic, metamorphic and sedimentary minerals. This helps us to understand the formation history of rocks, their age, and whether they contain valuable metals, or elements that are harmful for the environment. This project focuses on analytical method development, with the aim to broaden the scope of our laboratory and to produce even more accurate data. The research focuses on method development, in particular on the techniques to analyse non-traditional matrices, such as sulphides and carbon-based materials by LA-ICP-MS/OES. Commonly used reference materials have different ablation behaviour to non-traditional matrices. The absence of appropriate calibration materials for these matrices leads to a systematic bias. Hence, the project involves characterising natural sulphides and aim to produce synthetic doped sulphides to determine their usefulness as standard materials. The project also targets to establish fully quantitative LA-ICP-MS mapping of heterogenous and multiphase samples. This will be achieved by integrating spatially identical major element ICP-OES data into the LA-ICP-MS data reduction. This approach will make time-consuming prior micron-beam analysis unnecessary.