So the question is : is it possible to use both a new automated counting system and the traditional external detector method (EDM) technique of fission track dating (which involves irradiation of a mica/apatite sandwich) with a Zeiss AxioImager microscope-based system, supported by Trakscan software?

The short answer is : Yes, you can.

One of the reasons the new technique was developed is that it bypasses the need for a neutron irradiation step. In some countries, access to a suitable nuclear reactor is becoming problematic. We are, however, aware that for many users, neither the long time required to complete the existing (EDM) analysis technique, nor access to a suitable reactor, are problematic issues.

We are also aware that, on the contrary, some users may have difficulty in accessing a suitable LA-ICP-MS (which is required as an alternative method for the necessary measurement of the U-concentration).

We have therefore designed the new software to allow both techniques to be used. In fact, automatic counting of tracks on the mica detector (with its clean background) is a much easier task than the equivalent process on the apatite grain, with its many artefacts and highly variable background.