During the demonstration our Product Manager Toon Coenen briefly explained the principles of cathodoluminescence and a few imaging modes. After that, he showed the system and talked about the hardware: detectors and optical modules. The rest of the demonstration was dedicated to looking at the geological samples and acquiring images with intensity mapping, hyperspectral and angle-resolved cathodoluminescence.
The SPARC is a great tool for acquiring information about geological samples, such as zircon crystals. Rich internal crystal structure of zircons can be easily visualised with cathodoluminescence. The open-source software ODEMIS allows to easily switch between imaging modes, and during the demonstration we show how images can be acquired with three modes. For example, intensity mapping reveals data about the internal structure of the sample, which is not available with a simple SEM image, and hyperspectral cathodoluminescence can provide information about the spectrum (of the light colour) for each sample point. Cathodoluminescence, therefore, can be an extremely helpful technique for those who want to reveal the geological histories of rocks and minerals or understand their relevance for oil and gas purposes.
If you would like to know more about the SPARC system, watch the recording of the demonstration.