The long-wave infrared (8-12 μm) spectral features of selected rare earth element –bearing carbonate, phosphate and silicate minerals

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  • Rare earth elements (REEs) are a group of metals essential to high technology industries. This high demand, combined with a high supply risk, has led to an understanding that REEs are critical to society. Despite the potential that hyperspectral imaging (HSI) data offers for a fast and non-invasive characterization of the REEs, it is still poorly understood whether REEs have some information in the long-wave infrared (LWIR; 8-12 μm) wavelength range that can be used for their identification. To partially fill this gap, we have investigated the spectroscopy of twelve REE-bearing mineral samples using relatively high spatial and spectral resolution LWIR hyperspectral imaging data. These samples were formerly characterized using electron probe microanalysis (EPMA), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and hyperspectral imaging data acquired in the 0.4-2.5 μm wavelength range. Results from these analyses were compared to and used to guide the analysis of the HSI data recorded in the LWIR range. This information was further compared to a reference spectral library of rare earth oxides. Our findings suggest that the spectral features of the samples can generally be traced to the asymmetric degenerate stretching and bending modes of the X-O (X = C, Si, P) groups. Moreover and contrary to what has been observed in the shorter wavelengths, there are no definitive spectral features in the LWIR wavelength region that could be assigned to any specific REE.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International