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Sample Preparation

Sample preparation is normally fairly simple. Sample mounts must be compatible with the ultra-high vacuum of the sample chamber (ideally, better than 10–8 torr), and present a flat polished surface of the objects of interest. For analysis of insulating samples (such as silicate melt inclusions) mounts must generally be pre-coated with a thin (300–500 Å) conductive layer of gold or carbon. Most SIMS instruments used for light stable isotope determinations limit overall sample size to a maximum 25.4 mm diameter. The general sample requirements are, therefore, quite similar to those for electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) of major or trace elements.

SIMS Method Publications

A detailed description of SIMS technique and instrumentation, with specific reference to light stable isotope analysis:

  • Layne, G.D., 2006, Application of secondary ion mass spectrometry to the determination of traditional and non-traditional light stable isotopes in melt inclusions, in Melt Inclusions in Plutonic Rocks (J.D. Webster, ed.), Min. Assoc. Can. Short Course36, 27-50.
  • Applications of SIMS to the study of Marine Biomineralization: Bice, K., Layne, G.D. and Dahl, K., 2005, Application of secondary ion mass spectrometry to the determination of Mg/Ca in rare, delicate or altered planktonic foraminifera: Examples from the Holocene, Paleogene and Cretaceous, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 6, Q12P07, doi: 10.1029 /2005GC000974.
  • Layne, G.D., 2009, Li, B and Cl isotope determination by SIMS, in Fayek, M. ed, Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry in the Earth Sciences: Gleaning the big picture from a small spot, Min. Assoc.

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CREAIT Network

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000