Synchrotron PEEM and ToF-SIMS study of oxidized heterogeneous pentlandite, pyrrhotite and chalcopyrite

Robert Acres, Sarah Harmer-Bassell, David Beattie

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    29 Citations (Scopus)


    Synchrotron-based photoemission electron microscopy (PEEM; probing the surface region) and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS; probing the uppermost surface layer) have been used to image naturally heterogeneous samples containing chalcopyrite (CuFeS2), pentlandite [(Ni,Fe)9S8] and monoclinic pyrrhotite (Fe7S8) both freshly polished and exposed to pH 9 KOH for 30 min. PEEM images constructed from the metal L 3 absorption edges were acquired for the freshly prepared and solution-exposed mineral samples. These images were also used to produce near-edge X-ray absorption fine-structure spectra from regions of the images, allowing the chemistry of the surface of each mineral to be interrogated, and the effect of solution exposure on the mineral surface chemistry to be determined. The PEEM results indicate that the iron in the monoclinic pyrrhotite oxidized preferentially and extensively, while the iron in the chalcopyrite and pentlandite underwent only mild oxidation. The ToF-SIMS data gave a clearer picture of the changes happening in the uppermost surface layer, with oxidation products being observed on all three minerals, and significant polysulfide formation and copper activation being detected for pyrrhotite.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)606-615
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Synchrotron Radiation
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2010


    • chalcopyrite
    • heterogeneity
    • oxidation
    • PEEM
    • pentlandite
    • pyrrhotite
    • sulfide mineral
    • ToF-SIMS


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