TIMA - Mineral Analyzer


The TESCAN Integrated Mineral Analyzer. TIMA, a fully automated, high throughput, analytical scanning electron microscope is designed specifically for the mining and minerals processing industry. The TIMA solution will address applications such as Mineral Liberation Analysis,TESCAN, a world leading manufacturer of scanning electron microscopes and focused ion beam workstations has introduced the TESCAN Integrated Mineral Analyzer.

TIMA, a fully automated, high throughput, analytical scanning electron microscope is designed specifically for the mining and minerals processing industry. The TIMA solution will address applications such as Mineral Liberation Analysis, process optimization, remediation, and search for precious metals and rare earths. TIMA measures modal abundance, size-by-size liberation, mineral association, and performs PGM search automatically on multiple samples of grain mounts and thin or polished sections.

TESCAN’s unique technology is based on a completely integrated EDX system that performs full spectrum imaging at very fast scan speeds. Image analysis in TIMA is performed simultaneously with SEM backscatter electron images and a suite of x-ray images. The level of hardware integration of the SEM and EDX allows for unprecedented acquisition speeds for fully automated data collection, resulting in fast, accurate, repeatable and reliable results. process optimization, remediation, and search for precious metals and rare earths

TIMA Advantages:

  • Very fast and fully automated data acquisition process reached via SEM and EDX high level hardware integration
  • System based on MIRA or VEGA SEM platform proven by customers in many countries
  • Special VEGA column design significantly extending tungsten filament lifetime
  • Newly designed exchangeable sample holder with integrated fixed BSE/EDX calibration standard and Faraday cup
  • Possibility to modify size of samples according to customer demands
  • Up to 4 integrated EDX detectors for maximum system performance
  • New Peltier cooled EDX detector type for thermal stability guarantee
  • Improved approach to data analysis increasing speed and reliability of process
  • Variable dwell time and EDX analysis duration adapting to each part of the sample
  • Software released in three editions
  • Various modules for data analysis
  • Customizable classification rules
  • Favorable price to performance ratio
  • Custom solution possibilities

TIMA Hardware

The TESCAN TIMA is based either on MIRA Schottky field emission or VEGA thermal emission scanning electron microscope. Special VEGA column design with permanent gun high-vacuum and the isolation valve significantly increases emission stability and tungsten filament lifetime. The system is available in high-vacuum version as the standard, low-vacuum version as an option.

Large chamber with fast computer controlled stage carries a specially designed mineralogical sample holder. It allows inserting up to 7 resin blocks with a diameter of 30 mm at the same time. The sample holder can be customized for unified diameter of samples from 25 to 32 mm. In the center of the holder, an EDX/BSE calibration standard for automatic system calibration is placed. The standard consists of platinum Faraday cup for BSE signal calibration, manganese, copper, quartz, carbon and gold elements for system  performance checks. Elements of the calibration standard can also be customized.

TIMA Software

TIMA software is developed for BSE and EDX data collection, processing and analysis. It runs on the latest 64-bit edition of Windows™ allowing maximum computation performance. The software is released in two editions – online and offline, extendable by several software modules for various applications. Both editions of TIMA software enables processing and exporting of results in various file formats. Tables can be exported into TXT, CSV, or HTML formats. Fields can be documented as images in BMP or PNG formats and panoramic sample previews can be generated. Also spectra reviewing and their comparison with standards are available with a possibility of MSA or PNG export. The TIMA application provides two measurement modules – Modal Analysis is available as a standard part of TIMA software suite, while Liberation Analysis module and Bright Phase Search are available as an option, each of which is designed to be used for specific task. 

Electron Optics:

Electron Gun:


VEGA Thermal emission gun with extraordinary emission stability and filament lifetime (typically 2500 hours)
MIRA Schottky field emission gun
VEGA SE 3.0 nm at 30 kVBSE 3.5 nm at 30 kV
MIRA SE 1.2 nm at 30 kVBSE 2.0 nm at 30 kV
Accelerating Voltage:

200 V – 30 kV

Probe Current:


VEGA 1 pA to 2 μA 
MIRA 1 pA to 200 nA
Electron Optics Working Modes:
VEGA Unique four lens Wide Field Optics™ electron column
MIRA Unique three lens Wide Field Optics™ electron column 


Internal diameter:

230 mm

Chamber Suspension:

pneumatic or optional active vibration isolation

Specimen Stage:


Sample holder for 7 resin blocks, ø 30 mm + position for BSE / EDX calibration standard + Faraday cup



BSE – premium YAG scintillator BSE detector (manual or motorized retractable); SE - Everhart-Thornley

Probe current measurement; Touch alarm; IR chamber view camera


Low vacuum SEM mode; WDX (option - 1x WDX + 3x EDX detector)

Optional Accessories1):

EDX Detectors Up to 4 x Silicon drift detector (SDD), Peltier cooled (no liquid nitrogen required)
Analytical Working distance 15 mm
Elevation angle 35°
Detector area 30 mm2 (or 10 mm2)
Maximum pulse load 320 kcps (each EDX, sample Au)
Energy Resolution 129 eV Mn Kα , 10 mm2 – best resolution
145 eV Mn Kα , 10 mm2 – at 1280 kcps (Au)
132 eV Mn Kα , 30 mm2 – best resolution
155 eV Mn Kα , 30 mm2 – at 1280 kcps (Au)


TIMA is equipped with an ultra-fast YAG scintillator BSE detector, which is one of the key components of the data acquisition part of the system. It is available in manual or motorized retractable version. The BSE detector is complemented with up to four silicon drift EDX detectors in analytical geometry to cover maximum solid angle of X-ray data acquisition for high throughput analysis. Collection of EDX data is synchronized with a scanning system and BSE signal acquisition using integrated hardware. The TIMA system can be optionally supplied with independently working 3rd party EDX-WDX system for complementary chemical analyses.

SE Everhart-Thornley type detector is a standard part of each TIMA, and its low vacuum mode option LVSTD can be added. Cathodoluminescence detector can also be used for some configurations. Chamber view camera facilitates manipulation with samples in the chamber. 

TIMA full machine

TIMA full machine 

TIMA opened chamber

TIMA opened chamber 

TIMA close view

TIMA close view 

TIMA advert

TIMA advert 

Panorama - Liberation Analysis TIMA

Color-coded map of phases

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