IPE'S Rapid EDX mapping capability will be the UK's fastest

Tasks that would have taken days will now be done in minutes.

Dr Jim Buckman, ESEM Facility Manager

The recent decision to invest in the upgrade of our electron microscopy capability means that Heriot-Watt €™s Institute of Petroleum Engineering (IPE)  can accelerate their analytical research.   "Tasks that would have taken days will now be done in minutes", says Dr Jim Buckman who manages IPE €™s Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM).

The new facility will be the UK €™s fastest and opens up a wide range of research capabilities. The new resource will arrive in late October and will be up and running shortly after.

Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) is one of the ways in which IPE researchers can determine the composition of hydrocarbon bearing rock material. EDX mapping allows us to build up a picture of the different minerals present in the sample. By understanding more about the geology of the Earth via EDX we gain a better understanding of geological processes that occurred in rock formation. This enhanced understanding helps lead to the development of more effective ways to extract hydrocarbons from the Earth €™s crust.

The new equipment will be adding to our strong existing ESEM capability and will consist of an Oxford X-MaxN  150 mm EDX detector, with Aztec software.   The EDX detector will integrated with our new FEI Quanta 650 FEG ESEM, a large chambered high resolution environmental scanning electron microscope.

The rapid EDX mapping facility will be a real benefit to the whole university giving a chance for deeper understanding of a wide range of materials and minerals.