SAMPLE PREPARATION DECISION TREE
[You will be analyzing: portions of a sample that you could or already have cut (sawed) by hand to expose the analytical surface (cm-scale)?).]
You will need to carefully plan how to cut your sample so that the analytical target fits within the 16 mm "sweet spot." Some considerations depending on your sample type:
- For samples with parallel layers, consider cutting diagonally across the layers so that you don't lose layers to the saw kerf.
- For samples where you plan to make analyses along a linear traverse >16 mm in length (the diameter of the "sweet spot"), you will need to cut the sample into multiple sections. If possible, try to mount multiple sections of the traverse within a single mount. It will save you time (and money), but be sure to carefully document and label how the sections fit together.
Whenever the analytical target is on a surface that has been cut (e.g. by a rock saw, or preferably a jeweler's saw with a small-kerf diamond-embedded blade.), it is essential that the cut surface be perfectly flat before casting in epoxy. Otherwise, after casting, a significant amount of material may have to be removed by grinding in order to expose the analytical target. The excessive grinding can introduce polishing relief in the final mount, can grind through mineral standard grains, or worse, can remove important portions of your sample. To avoid these issues, please grind the cut analytical surface of your sample to flatness before casting in epoxy.
Next step (leaving decision tree):