New advanced materials imaging facility

Posted on 15 Jul 2017 and read 167 times
New advanced materials imaging facilityResearchers at the University of Glasgow’s School of Physics and Astronomy (www.gla.ac.uk) are celebrating the installation of a unique piece of imaging technology — a xenon plasma focused ion beam microscope — in the university’s Kelvin Nanocharacterisation Centre.

Described as “a Swiss army knife for the nano-world”, this will allow samples to be manipulated — cut, sliced or drilled — by beams of plasma, as well as analysed via spectroscopy and crystallography.

Donald Maclaren, who played a key role in the installation of the new facility, said: “Focused ion beams are very useful tools. For example, we can now slice a sample up like a loaf of bread, take detailed images of each slice and produce a detailed 3-D image of the sample.

That could be useful for following a crack through a pipe or for checking the pores of a piece of shale rock that is under consideration for drilling by the oil and gas industry. We can also use spectroscopy to examine chemical variations in a block of steel or analyse the elements in a sample via crystallography.

“We can now manipulate materials on a larger scale and then, if required, pass them along to our MagTEM electron microscope — installed in 2012 — to look at in more detail.

“We’ve already undertaken a lot of exciting work for industrial partners, and this new facility greatly strengthens the capabilities of the Kelvin Nanocharacterisation Centre.”

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