Zircon and other accessory minerals are extensively used for dating geological processes. We are investigating how different processes affect trace element mobility in these minerals, thereby giving a greater understanding of the controls on element migration and allowing us to broaden the application of mineral dating. Our principal targets are deformed and/or high temperature zircon, monazite, rutile and xenotime grains that record element transfer at the nanoscale.
Critical Minerals & Ore Deposits
We are using atom probe to understand the distribution of precious and critical metals in gangue minerals, the processes that control these distributions and the optimal downstream processing to extract energy-significant trace elements that underpin the global energy transition. Our current focus includes, Ge, In and PGEs.
Meteorites, Asteroids and Planetary Sciences
Meteorites record microstructural and geochemical data that provide a wealth of information about the processes taking place during the evolution of the solar system. We are working with the Desert Fireball Network, members of SSERVI, JAXA and NASA to understand these processes. We are also studying the effects of impacts on crustal rocks to better recognise, understand and utilise the geochemical information locked in terrestrial shocked minerals.
Specimen needle manufacture in the FIB and atom probe data acquisition involve a number of instrument variables that can greatly affect the quality and amount of data that is collected. We are using a range of testing protocols to optimise data collection from minerals and adapt the atom probe methodology for geological samples. Current work is focussing on reconstruction parameters and the development of APT for nanoscale isotopic analysis.