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X Ray Microscopy
Electron Microscopy Service X Ray Microscopy  ...


The combination of the optical capabilities of a microscope and the X-ray source of a tomograph offers an absolutely innovative equipment: we add the ability to obtain sub-micrometer resolution images of relatively large samples to the advantage of being non-destructive tests. Therefore, the sample does not require any prior preparation and can be reused at the end of the experiment. All microscopic techniques available so far require a pre-treatment of the sample which is always destructive, since a very small size of the part to be observed inside the microscope is required. This implies that the sample cannot be reused in manufacturing processes, development, etc. in which it was involved before its extraction for examination.

The observation process consists of irradiating the sample with an X-ray beam and successively imaging a specific volume of the sample by rotating it at previously fixed angles. The experiment is performed in a chamber with ambient conditions and can accept a wide variety of samples from different fields of research and industry, from organic samples from the field of biology and life sciences (plants, food, insects, ...) to inorganic materials used in energy storage and conversion applications, and complex structures (membranes, electrochemical cells) and their resulting devices (batteries, fuel cells and electrolyzers...).

The maximum volume over which information can be obtained is 165 mm X 140 mm and will vary depending on the final resolution required. The degree of resolution will depend on the type of sample, the objective used, the volume scanned and the time spent, i.e. the number of rotations applied. One can start the experiment by scanning a large volume at low magnification and then adjust the target and scanning conditions to image different volumes. The process ends with the three-dimensional reconstruction of the acquired scans to provide a final 3D image on which measurements can be made as accurate as the final resolution allows. In this equipment it is 500 nm.

The X-ray microscope incorporates different contrast techniques (absorption, phases, etc.) so that the widest range of sample types can be characterized. It also includes the necessary filters and objectives to be able to work in different conditions.

The main objective offered with this equipment, integrated in the Microscopy Service, is to obtain high contrast and submicrometric resolution 3D images of samples belonging to numerous scientific fields (Materials Science, Engineering and Electronics, Life Sciences, Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, Additive Manufacturing, Ceramic Industry, etc.), of large objects. The 3D reconstructions of these objects will allow, among others: quantification of defects, organization of phases in composite materials, permeability, connectivity and porosity studies, microstructure analysis, etc.

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