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Department of the Interior (DOI)

Innovative methods to identify critical and/or strategic elements from unconventional domestic sources

Sourcing sufficient quantities of precursor chemicals at the appropriate purity can be a major challenge for scaling up production of advanced materials containing critical and/or strategic elements (many of which are imported). The USGS Minerals Program has been applying several innovative technologies for in-situ quantification of the amounts and forms of critical and/or strategic metals in potential domestic sources including historic ores, unconventional mineral deposits, and various types of solid and liquid waste streams.

Development and application of innovative methods for quantification of hexavalent chromium in soils

A team of researchers in the USGS Minerals Program is improving and expanding the available methods for direct quantification of hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] in solids using innovative techniques. Synchrotron-based X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) is currently the best available technique for direct quantification of Cr(VI) in solids at trace (ppm) levels and in phases lacking long-range atomic order. The USGS group has developed semi-automated peak-fitting methods to overcome user bias in this approach to quantifying Cr(VI).