Physical, chemical, and isotopic analyses of individual radioactive
and other particles in the micron-size range, key tools in environmental
research and in nuclear forensics, require the ability to precisely
relocate particles of interest (POIs) in the secondary ion mass
spectrometer (SIMS) or in another instrument, after having been located,
identified, and characterized in the scanning electron microscope (SEM).
This article describes the implementation, testing, and evaluation of the
triangulation POIs re-location method, based on microscopic reference
marks imprinted on or attached to the sample holder, serving as an
inherent coordinate system. In SEM-to-SEM and SEM-to-SIMS experiments
re-location precision better than 10 μm and 20 μm, respectively,
is readily attainable for instruments using standard specimen stages. The
method is fast, easy to apply, and facilitates repeated analyses of
individual particles in different instruments and laboratories.