Effect of Beam Current and Diameter on Electron Probe Microanalysis of Carbonate Minerals

  • Xing Zhang
  • Shuiyuan YangEmail author
  • He Zhao
  • Shaoyong Jiang
  • Ruoxi Zhang
  • Jing Xie


The effect of operating conditions on the time-dependent X-ray intensity variation is of great importance for the optimal EPMA conditions for accurate determinations of various elements in carbonate minerals. Beam diameters of 0, 1, 2, 5, 10, 15, and 20 μm, and beam currents of 3, 5, 10, 20, and 50 nA were tested. Ca, Mg, Zn, and Sr were found to be more sensitive to electron beam irradiation as compared to other elements, and small currents and large beam diameters minimized the time-dependent X-ray intensity variations. We determined the optimal EPMA operating conditions for elements in carbonate: 10 μm and 5 nA for calcite; 10 μm and 10 nA for dolomite; 5 μm and 10 nA or 10 μm and 20 nA for strontianite; and 20 nA and 5 μm for other carbonate. Elements sensitive to electron beam irradiation should be determined first. In addition, silicate minerals are preferred as standards rather than carbonate minerals.

Key words

carbonate minerals electron probe microanalysis characteristic X-ray time-dependent intensity beam current beam diameter 


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This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41403022) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) (No. CUGL150401). We are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for providing valuable comments and suggestions, which helped to improve this manuscript significantly. The final publication is available at Springer via

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Copyright information

© China University of Geosciences and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral ResourcesChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.College of Earth SciencesChengdu University of TechnologyChengduChina
  3. 3.Faculty of Earth Resources and Collaborative Innovation Center for Scarce and Strategic Mineral ResourcesChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory for Mineral Deposits Research, School of Earth Sciences and EngineeringNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  5. 5.Institute of Tibetan Plateau ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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