The exploratory phase of any mining venture can be the most taxing. Spending hundreds, if not thousands of man hours analyzing ore deposits and sifting through layers of dirt in the hopes of finding gold or copper requires serious investment and a pocket full of high hopes. Yet, as technology improves, the process becomes somewhat less onerous as machines get to do the thinking for us. Agilent Technologies is now streamlining the elemental analysis process with the release of its new air-powered 4100 Microwave Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectrometer.
Unlike most elemental analysis instruments used in the mining industry, which rely on flammable and often expensive gases to operate, Agilent’s 4100 MP-AES is powered by a nitrogen based plasma that draws fuel from the air. The machine requires no connection to an external gas cylinder and is therefore ideal for onsite analysis in remote locations or in mobile laboratories.
"The Agilent 4100 MP-AES is the most significant technology advancement in atomic spectroscopy in decades," says Philip Binns, Agilent vice president for spectroscopy products. "Agilent is changing the game in the field of elemental analysis. The 4100 MP-AES does not redefine a product category, it creates an entirely new one while offering the lowest cost of ownership for elemental analysis along with improved laboratory safety."
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The 4100 MP-AES operates by using magnetically excited plasma to provide improved linear dynamic range, superior detection limits and faster measurement compared to flame atomic-absorption spectroscopy. The machine also requires minimal training for an operator to have the device up and running, and since there is no flammable gas, the system is safe left unattended for multi-element overnight operation.
"The MP-AES instrument from Agilent is a home run for both gold analysis and base-metal analysis," said Bobby Joe Reichel, analytical development -- Nevada Laboratory Services, Newmont Mining Corporation. "It provides superior detection limits and a vastly expanded calibration range to enable quick and easy analysis at trace levels, while eliminating the need for time-consuming dilutions of higher grade samples."