Quantities of high-purity rare earth metals and alloys in single and polycrystalline forms are available to scientists outside of Ames Laboratory. Complete chemical analyses, obtained by mass spectrometry, inert gas fusion and combustion analysis, accompany the materials. Special preparations of high-purity alloys and compounds are also available in small quantities. Various processes employed by the MPC include:
- vacuum casting
- electro-transport processing
In most cases, the rare earth oxides are first converted to their respective fluorides and are then reduced metallothermically on a kilogram scale, using pure calcium metal specially sublimed for this purpose. This preparation technique is called the Ames Process and the resulting metals are very pure. Nonetheless, many are further refined at the MPC by various processes.
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