PCM or TEM?
for Asbestos, Lead, Mold,
A Commitment To Quality and Integrity
Above: transmission electron
microscope indexed diffraction pattern of a chrysotile bundle; the circles are
diffraction from gold that has been evaporated on the specimen to provide a
precise internal scale; the three-digit numbers are the miller indices of the
diffraction spots next to them; the positions of the diffraction spots in space is
specific to the chrysotile structure. The chrysotile image at the left and
the diffraction pattern above are identically oriented in space, i.e., the
streaks in the diffraction pattern arise from the scrolling, and are therefore
perpendicular to the length of the fibril.
- founded by scientists
- run by scientists
transmission electron micrograph, 75,000x; the fibrils have their normal and
constant diameter of ~0.07Ám; each fibril is composed of a sheet of
Mg-O/Si-O which curves into a many-layered scroll; the empty cores of the
scrolls are darker than the edges.
An analytical laboratory has many choices to make during an analysis
choices that affect the accuracy or dependability of the analysis
choices that affect the cost of an analysis
Fiberquant has has and will never sacrifice accuracy or dependability for cost.
Choices in Personnel
microscopy, an analysis is only as good as the analyst performing it.
Fiberquant has always
collected the very best and brightest people, from their
backgrounds - all analysts have at least a bachelor's degree in a relevant
science - to their months-long extensive and rigorous training, to their
continuing improvement through attendance at technical conferences.
Our employees take pride in going the extra mile to give our
clients the best that can be done.
spores two ways. Top: at the limit of what an optical microscope can
do (1000x, oil apochromat objective). Bottom: scanning electron
micrograph, same magnification. The SEM has far greater resolution
that is easily achievable, but unless you take the time and trouble to push
optical technique, you would never known that they have maroon stripes over
a green core.
measuring the diameter of a TEM beam (full-width at 10% maximum). A
line-scan of intensity allows the 10% maximum to be known.
Choices in Quality
Brilliant analysts, however, are not enough. The analytical system
must include an
equally brilliant quality assurance (QA) program.
Therefore, quality assurance is a
large part of a Fiberquant
analysis. For every analysis
type attempted, a comprehensive QA program has been planned
and implemented, including analyst background and training,
routine analysis of reference samples, routine calibration and equipment checks, routine
re-analysis, analysis of blanks and spikes, the exchange of samples with other labs, and
precise record keeping.
Choices in Procedures
will not compromise the accuracy, precision
or dependability of an analysis
for the sake
We count fungal spores at 1000x oil-immersion. Even though to count that
way is time-consuming, messy, and expensive, we feel the difference is obvious:
at any magnification, the dry objective does not have the resolution or contrast
to allow the analyst to count, and especially to identify, fungal spores.
Paecilomyces variotii - same mount photographed two ways. Many
laboratories count fungal spores using 400x magnification and an air
objective (as in the left-hand photo above). Fiberquant counts spores
using 1000x and an oil-immersion objective (the right-hand photo above).
Details such as a slightly roughened surface and a certain cell wall
thickness may be needed to identify a spore type.
chrysotile, also known as serpentine asbestos, photographed at 200x using
phase contrast dispersion staining. Dispersion staining, despite
its name, requires no physical stain or dye. It is an optical
technique that utilizes the difference in dispersion (refractive index vs.
wavelength) between a mineral and the liquid in which it is mounted.
This technique allows the refractive indices of a mineral to be calculated.
Every Procedure has
Unlike almost all other laboratories, Fiberquant specializes in phase
contrast dispersion staining (PHDS). Its advantages over the usual
central stop dispersion staining (CSDS) are 1) PHDS can be easily
performed at magnifications of 100, 200 or 400x, rather than just the usual 100x
for CSDS; 2) with 400x PHDS, smaller fibers may be seen and characterized than
possible with CSDS at 100x; 2) the PHDS working range of wavelengths
is narrower than for CSDS, so the refractive indices so calculated are more
accurate; 3) the background for PHDS is gray rather than CSDS black,
allowing the background matrix to be seen (e.g., for a point-count
It is not easy to remain competitive with laboratories who do not share our
"quality first" approach to business. We spend more time analyzing your sample
than other labs, and so our prices tend to be higher than theirs, but considering the
stakes riding on environmental analysis, we feel that we cannot take any other approach.
Fiberquant is run by
scientists, not accountants
accredited? In some cases (e.g., AHERA and lead (Pb) analyses),
accreditation is required by law. And some customers just assume that if a
lab is in business, it is accredited. Beyond that, the accredited lab
proves that it is committed (by spending significant time and expense to attain
and maintain accreditation) to a level of quality assurance and documentation
far above that of non-accredited labs.
(Lab Code 101031-0) accredited for bulk (PLM) and air (TEM) asbestos analysis; Licensed by Arizona
DEQ #00904 for asbestos in water
(#101593) accredited, IHLAP:
fiber counting (PCM), bulk asbestos
EMLAP: air (spore trap), bulk and surface direct
ELLAP: Pb in paint, soil,
and air matrices (and thus recognized by NLLAP
for submitting samples (requires Adobe Acrobat PDF reader,
available at Adobe.com)
Chain-of-Custody in a word processing form to fill out on a
Fiberquant Analytical Services
"The Home of the Screaming E-beam"
Fiberquant Analytical Services
5025 S. 33rd St., Phoenix, AZ, 85040
Copyright 2012 Larry S. Pierce, All Rights Reserved