G-Probe programme for laser ablation and microbeam techniques

The G-Probe microanalytical proficiency testing programme was initiated and run for many years by Steve Wilson of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) through the IAG. It is designed to evaluate laboratory performance for those labs specialising in the use of microanalytical techniques such as laser ablation ICP-MS and electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) for the analysis of minerals and other geological materials. The programme combines natural and synthetic geologic glasses with pressed powder samples representative of polymetallic sulphides, oxides, corals, bones and organic materials. So far, the materials distributed have been:

  • 2008 – basalt glasses
  • 2009 – diorite glass, calcium carbonate pressed powder
  • 2010 – basalt glasses
  • 2011 – basalt glass, spiked soda lime glass
  • 2012 – andesite glass, calcium phosphate pressed powder
  • 2013 – diabase and gabbro glasses
  • 2014 – dolerite and basalt glasses
  • 2015 – alunite pressed powder, syenite
  • 2016 – Mid Ocean Ridge basalt glass, gabbro glass
  • 2017 – dolerite and gabbro glasses
  • 2018 – synthetic basalt glasses spiked with 50+ trace elements
  • 2019 – synthetic basalt and norite glasses

Participating laboratories are provided with two test samples a year and are asked to send the organisers their results acquired under routine conditions. The data submitted are evaluated using guidelines established by the GeoPT programme, with an assessment of accuracy based on the Z-score approach. Laboratories are provided with feedback on each element, from which the laboratory can decide whether their reported data were satisfactory or possibly affected by unsuspected bias.

Objectives of the G-Probe Programme:

  • To enable laboratories to evaluate the routine analytical capability of their microprobe techniques on a diverse range of sample types commonly encountered in the field of geochemical analysis.
  • To enable participants to evaluate their performance relative to other micro-analytical laboratories using the same or similar techniques.

Full details about the operation and organisation of the scheme are available in the G-Probe protocol.

Registration of interest in G-Probe:

To register your interest in joining the G-Probe programme, go to the G-Probe website www.gprobe.info and click on the link “Register interest here”.

Enquiries about G-Probe:

For information about the test material, its delivery and the programme, contact Dieter Garbe-Schönberg: dieter.garbe-schoenberg@ifg.uni-kiel.de

For information about the G-Probe website and reporting results online, contact Peter Webb: gprobe.iag@gmail.com

For information about subscriptions and payments, contact Chris Jackson: iag-treasurer@virginmedia.com