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Dr. Thomas Ulrich wins laser ablation prize

Dr. Thomas Ulrich, a research scientist at Laurentian University’s Trace Element Mapping Facility for Geological Samples, has been awarded the inaugural Laser Ablation Prize by New Wave Research of California for a paper describing an innovative application of laser ablation technology.Using Laurentian University’s solid-state laser ablation system to analyze ore samples, Ulrich was able to demonstrate the superiority of laser ablation imaging over conventional laser ablation spot analysis.”Single spot analysis could lead to erroneous conclusions about the distribution of elements in such samples,” wrote Ulrich in an October 2009 paper published by the Canadian Mineralogist.  “The heterogeneous distribution of the PGE in the pentlandite can never be resolved with only a few laser spots… Owing to the tendency of the PGE to occur as nuggets, their detection and element associations are more readily determined in element-distribution images,” he concluded.

“The elemental images also provide an estimate of the density distribution of these nuggets. In contrast, single spot analysis is not an effective method to provide information about the presence and density of nuggets because it relies on the probability of encountering the unevenly distributed nuggets during spot analysis.”

Ulrich collected his prize along with a $1,000 travel bursary at the 2010 Winter Conference on Plasma Spectrochemistry in Fort Myers, Florida, in January.

A bulletin from New Wave Research, a manufacturer of laser systems, said the company was “inundated with applications of the highest quality from around the world, and that made choosing an eventual winner very difficult.”

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