The AZS operates in three modes: (1) image processing to choose targeted individual zircon grains out of all heavy minerals spread on a tray, (2) automatic capturing of the individual zircon grains with micro-tweezers, and (3) placing them one-by-one in a coordinated alignment on a receiving tray.The automatic capturing was designed/created for continuous mineral selecting without human presence for many hours.Aluminum-alloy cotterless cranks had been a high-end item, not found on the run-of-the-mill European ten-speeds that sold for around 0 in the early 1970s bike boom years.
(1) direct dating of zircons selected by LA-ICPMS without conventional resin-mounting/polishing, (2) high speed U-Pb dating, combined with conventional sample preparation procedures using the new equipment with multiple-ion counting detectors (LA-MIC-ICPMS).
With the first approach, Pb-Pb ages obtained from the surface of a mineral were crosschecked with the interior of the same grain after resin-mounting/polishing.
To improve the efficiency in zircon separation by an order of magnitude, we have designed/developed a new machine – an automatic zircon separator (AZS).
This is designed particularly for automatic pick-up of 100 μm-sized zircon grains out of a heavy mineral fraction after conventional separation procedures.
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With the second approach, the amount of time required for dating one zircon grain is ca.
20 s, and a sample throughput of 150 grains per hour can be achieved with sufficient precision (ca. We tested the practical efficiency of the AZS, by analyzing an Archean Jack Hills conglomerate in Western Australia with the known oldest (4.3 Ga) zircon on Earth.
The Maxy was much lighter and easier to work on than cottered cranks, and gave a competitive advantage to mid-priced Japanese derailer-equipped bicycles.