Pittcon, the leading annual conference and exposition for laboratory science, was held last month in Chicago. Pittcon presented the latest analytical chemistry technology and instrumentation with more than 2,200 technical sessions and exhibits representing more than 1,000 companies. A little overwhelming? If you didn’t plan first, and didn’t get to see the live seminars, workshops, and new products that were at our booth, you can visit the Thermo Scientific / Pittcon web page, which outlines the products and technology demonstrated in our booth, and the community discussions with other scientists. You can still get answers to your questions from our experts, so you can discover ways we can help solve your toughest mining and geological challenges. Here’s a peek at the mining technology that was available at the show. X-ray Techniques Cement QC laboratory personnel who face demanding elemental analysis requirements to determine major and minor oxides in clinker, cement and raw materials — such as limestone, sand and bauxite — explored X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) and X-ray Diffraction (XRD) technologies for process and quality control of cement and related materials. Many mining applications also benefit from combined XRF/XRD technology. Mining processes often require a combination of elemental and phase analysis requiring both XRF for elemental composition and XRD for phase identification. When elemental analysis doesn’t provide enough information to maintain accurate and consistent process control, phase analysis with XRD can identify impurities and improve ore beneficiation. Instrumentation combining the two technologies is being used by mining companies to optimize process control to recover the most valuable minerals. The petrochemical community has online, at-process, and laboratory analytical needs which range from single element analysis to the most complex additives/lubricants, polymers, catalysts, chemicals and associated materials. XRF is among the range of analytical techniques able to fill these requirements. Petrochemical professionals may want to learn more about WDXRF instrumentation capable of quantifying up to 30 elements in a variety of fuels, light and heavy distillates and lubricants both quickly and cost-effectively. Raman Spectroscopy Raman spectroscopy is an established analytical technique for geological samples. It not only provides a fast and efficient way of identifying specific materials, but it also provides considerable information for molecular structure and chemical environments, identifying various minerals using ever expanding databases, evaluating phases of the same or very similar chemical composition, characterizing inclusions within samples, and analyzing archived samples that have been mounted under glass cover slips. Research geologists got to check out the latest advances in Raman techniques and instruments, including our brand new Raman imaging microscope that made its public debut at Pittcon. There’s still plenty to learn from Pittcon, even if you weren’t there. Presentation slides, videos, and other resources are still available on www.thermoscientific.com/Pittcon.