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Donation boosts AMMRF mineral analysis capability

11 March 2009, Sydney, NSW, Australia

BHP Billiton has generously donated a Qemscan automated mineral analysis system to the Australian Centre for Microscopy & Microanalysis, the University of Sydney node of the AMMRF. This donation makes a very valuable instrument available to the entire Australian research community, significantly increasing the AMMRF’s capability in the area of mineral analysis. As with all AMMRF instrumentation, the Qemscan will be available to researchers in universities, research labs and industry.

The Australian Centre for Microscopy & Microanalysis has built up a close working partnership with BHP Billiton over a number of years based on collaborative research and provision of testing services. Such a donation not only facilitates further valuable linkages with BHP Billiton and other industry partners, but also supports top-quality Australian research.

The Qemscan is an automated mineral analysis system based on a Zeiss EVO 50 scanning electron microscope. Four EDS detectors are used simultaneously to rapidly determine the mineral phases in a polished section of rock.  Sophisticated software differentiates the mineral from the mounting resin so that analysis time is devoted only to the rock itself. The results are visually presented in colour-coded mineral maps, which are readily interpreted by mineralogists and process metallurgists. With the four EDS detectors, the instrument can analyse up to 200 points per second, making it a serious tool for improving productivity in the analysis of rocks in geoscience research and the mining industry. It will be an absolute boon to anyone in these fields.

As well as the specialised mineral-analysis functions, the Qemscan is also a very high quality scanning electron microscope in its own right. The Qemscan system was developed by Intellection, a Brisbane based spin-off of CSIRO that was recently acquired by FEI.

As well as the newly donated instrument at the University of Sydney, a Qemscan is also available to Australian researchers at the Ian Wark Research Institute at the University of South Australia, part of the SA node of the AMMRF.

For usage enquiries please contact:

The AMMRF is Australia’s peak research facility for the characterisation of materials by means of advanced microscopy and microanalysis, providing capability and services to all areas of the physical, environmental and biological sciences, to engineering, to medicine and to technology development.

Established under the Commonwealth Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), the AMMRF is a truly national research facility with nodes at the University of Sydney (which also serves as the national headquarters), the University of Queensland, the University of New South Wales, the University of Western Australia, Australian National University, Flinders University, the University of Adelaide, and the University of South Australia. The facility is funded by the Commonwealth Government through NCRIS and the State Governments of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

The facility unites microscopy and microanalysis centres at these universities into a national collaborative grid of laboratories, unified in terms of both equipment and research expertise. The AMMRF provides new, state-of-the-art instruments to researchers from Australia on a merit basis at nominal rates.

Contact: Dr Jenny Whiting, AMMRF Marketing & Business Development Manager, ph. 02 9114 0566.