Tom Payten

Mineral identification using upconversion fluorescence



Program 1: Define (P1-005)


 Infra-red laser (left) being upconverted to  green light (right) by powder nanoparticles.
Infra-red laser (left) being upconverted to green light (right) by powder nanoparticles.


 PhD Topic:


Mineral identification using upconversion fluorescence




The University of Adelaide




Prof Nigel Spooner




January 2022



 Meet Tom Payten:

Tom Payten Headshot


Tom Payten spent a decade as a process mineralogist in industry, helping to solve problems for a range of commodities across the mining cycle. In this time he gained expertise in automated mineralogical systems, and exposure to a wide range of mineral identification techniques.

Tom completed a Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Nanotechnology in 2008, and honours in Physics in 2011. His honours project focussed on sub-micron element mapping of minerals at the Australian Synchrotron to understand processing behaviour.

Tom hopes to continue solving interesting problems in a range of situations well into the future.




 Focus area:

Mineral identification using upconversion fluorescence.



Rapid identification of minerals remains a challenge in the mining industry, with a lack of techniques capable of real-time identification during mining or processing. Mineral identification currently relies on sampling then taking these to a laboratory where identification is performed using established techniques that are accurate, but not compatible with fast-speed on-belt mineral sorting.

Investigation of multiphoton (or upconversion) fluorescence (UF) for real-time mineral identification in on-line application is being pioneered in CRC ORE project P1-005 “Upconversion Fluorescence for Real-time Mineral Identification”.

Technological developments over the last decade have made real-time upconversion fluorescence from minerals of economic significance a possibility. This identification technique has not previously been applied to earth sciences, mining, or mineral processing.

Tom's focus in this project is the development of a mineral upconversion reference library with a focus on providing industry-achievable new methods to identify important mineral phases.

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