Update: On 08 March 2013 the Cameca 1280-HR instrument was delivered to Potsdam. Installation is planned to begin during the first half of April. Short film from Potsdam-TV.
Update: On 15 Janaury 2013 the GFZ SIMS Laboratory announced that it will be hosting the Biennail Geo-SIMS workshop BGSW7, which will be held on 21 and 22 August 2013.
Update: On 09 May 2012 the Cameca ims 6f instrument was transported to its new home at the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden Rossendorf, thus marking the end of a highly productive 13 years in Potsdam where it produced data for over 100 scientific projects. Once installed at our sister facility in Dresden, the 6f will be coupled to an accelerator mass spectrometer at the core of the "Super-SIMS" initiative of the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology.
Update: On 13 September 2011 the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam signed a purchase contract for the acquisition of a Cameca 1280-HR instrument. The acquisition of this new technology will open many new research opportunities for our world-wide user community. The new instrument is scheduled for delivery in Potsdam in December 2012 and acceptance should be approximately 3 months later. Routine operation of the new facility, which will emphasize high-precision isotope ratio determinations, will begin in mid-2013. The currently available Cameca ims 6f instrument, which has been in operation since 1998, will be decommissioned by the GFZ in March 2012.
Ion microprobes, also know as secondary ion mass spectrometers (SIMS), use a finely focused ion beam to probe a selected sample domain. A small percentage of the material sputtered from the polished surface of the sample is ionized, and these ions are accelerated into a mass spectrometer where they are separated according to their mass-over-charge ratio. An important characteristic of SIMS is its high sensitivity compared to other microbeam sampling techniques: the ability to count individual ions results in detection limits in the parts-per-billion range for many elements. Also the fact that ions derived from the sample are separated by their mass-over-charge ratio means that isotopic analyses can be performed on very small sample volumes.
- Backscattered electron image of a zircon crystal which in this example has a ~20µm diameter sputter crater produced during a 90 minute SIMS analysis. The size of the sputter crater varies between applications, but for most geologic applications ranges between 5 and 30µm in diameter. Electron Microscope image courtesy U. Glenz of the GFZ.
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