The microbeam line replaces the former microprobe which was in function since the beginning of the 90’s. Same as the former version, the microbeam line allows the perceptive analysis of a lot of materials, from biological samples of few micron size to geological samples of millimetre-length dimensions.
The adjustments of the system object chamber / electromagnetic lenses (Q-poles) allows the ion beam focusing. The microbeam is obtained in "triplet" configuration that corresponds to a set of three Q-pôles situated just before the analysis chamber. In this configuration, an object of 100 µm placed in the object chamber gives a spot of about 5 µm in the analysis chamber after adjustments.
The working beam size for PIXE analysis is below 1 µm for a integrated current of about 300 pA on the samples. For STIM analysis, the beam size is around 350 nm for a rate of 1500 counts/s recorded on the STIM detector.
The "quintuplet" set is the addition of 2 more Q-poles ("doublet") to the "triplet" system, situated in the middle of beam line. This set is used to obtain a sub-micronic beam size during STIM analyses. The size of the beam for an object of 5 µm is then of 200 nm for a rate of 500 counts/s on the STIM detector.
The scanning device allows the mapping by RBS, PIXE, NRA, ERDA and STIM of specific zone of the sample. Its width goes from a few tens of microns to 1 millimeter accordingly to the energy of the beam.
The sample holder is motorized to easily and precisely analyse a large number of samples. A specific sample holder provided with a goniometer also motorized, can be settled in the chamber in order to perform PIXE tomography and ERDA. Several holders are available according to the shape and the nature of samples (massif, cells, thin films...)
The observation of the samples are done through three objectives in transmission mode (X4 and X20 magnification) and in reflection mode (from x10 to x20 magnification).
Three detectors are permanently present:
♦ two PIXE detectors (Be windows of 8 mm, Li-doped Si crystal)) placed in 135° on both sides of the beam axis
Furthermore, a Silicon junction for STIM can be placed in the axis of the beam, in transmission mode and an annular Silicon detector (surface 150 mm 2 can also be mounted mostly in order to perform nuclear reaction or RBS analysis.
The most common analyses are made on biological samples because of the very good resolution and brightness available on the microbeam line.
The presence of a remote control also offers the possibility to make analysis with a deuton beam essentially used for the study of materials for energy.
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