Research Mineralogy - X-ray Diffraction Lab

Science Center Objects

The primary goal of this project is to ensure the availability of state-of-the-art mineralogical analyses and, when needed, development of new analytical methods that can be applied to topical studies in Energy and Minerals Mission Area, as well as the other mission areas.

The project includes mineralogy by X-ray diffraction (XRD), qualitative and semi-quantitative x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, and other related analytical techniques for mineralogical studies. For many USGS projects, there are no commercial laboratories that can provide the unique types of mineralogical characterization or the high quality data required to carry out the project objectives.

Methodology

Our project will focus on the following areas of investigation:

  1. X-ray powder diffraction (XRD): Maintain the XRD laboratory for Mineral Resources Program and Energy Resources Program projects, provide training and assistance as needed, and develop new methods and applications.
  2. Development of methods for qualitative and semi-quantitative X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy for rapid screening of sample composition.
  3. Develop supplementary mineralogical techniques (mineral separation, selective dissolutions, environmental chamber for XRD in controlled atmosphere) to facilitate mineral identification.
  4. Quantitative mineralogy using Rietveld refinement.
X-ray Diffractometer

X-ray diffractometer in the USGS powdered x-ray diffraction laboratory in Reston, VA.

(Credit: Nadine Piatak, USGS. Public domain.)

XRD lab

USGS powdered x-ray diffraction laboratory in Reston, VA.

(Credit: Nadine Piatak, USGS. Public domain.)

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