Innovative handheld mineral analyser – ‘the first of its kind’

Posted by ap507 at Jan 14, 2014 12:05 PM |
Dr Graeme Hansford to develop inventive new device in collaboration with Bruker Elemental

Dr Graeme Hansford (pictured) from the University's Space Research Centre (SRC) has recently started a collaborative project with Bruker Elemental to develop a handheld mineral analyser for mining applications – the first of its kind.

The analyser will allow rapid mineral identification and quantification in the field through a combination of X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and will be capable of analysing mining samples for mineral content within 1 – 2 minutes.

The analyser is unique due to the insensitivity of the technique to the shape of the sample, which enables the direct analysis of samples without any form of preparation – something currently inconceivable using conventional XRD equipment.

Dr Hansford originally conceived of the XRD technique in early 2010, when trying to work out how to apply XRD for space applications - for example on the surface of Mars or an asteroid - without the need for any sample preparation.

This project is supported with an award from the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Innovations Partnerships Scheme.