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The University of Manchester orders NanoSIMS 50L

The University of Manchester has ordered a NanoSIMS 50L Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer as a major component of its new Multi-Disciplinary Characterisation Facility. The new Facility, initiated with £18m from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund, is a £117m partnership between the University of Manchester, BP plc, Rolls-Royce, EDF and many other companies. It will accelerate research into advanced materials that can operate safely under increasingly harsh conditions, such as the extraction of difficult to access oil and gas reservoirs or aero-engines operating at higher temperatures.

The NanoSIMS 50L will be put to use across a wide range of applications, one of the most important being to understand the process of hydrogen embrittlement of metals. Indeed, high-resolution secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) is emerging as an important technique for the elemental mapping of a wide range of advanced materials, uniquely being able to map the presence of hydrogen at the nanoscale. The NanoSIMS 50L is capable of analysing materials with a resolution down to 50nanometres for isotopic and elemental composition of samples.
 
Hydrogen diffusion into metals can produce cracking and loss of structural integrity of components and can be a significant problem for industries such as nuclear, petroleum and aerospace. Understanding the processes by which this happens is key to developing materials and manufacturing methods that inhibit hydrogen cracking.

Other major research areas for the NanoSIMS 50L at the University of Manchester will be advanced research into geological materials of interest to the nuclear and oil and gas sectors, as well as the study of extra-terrestrial materials from lunar and Martian samples, meteorites and interstellar grains, tracing biochemical processes in microbes and plants, and nuclear forensics, identifying and analysing environmental micro-particles that are emitted from nuclear reactors and weapons tests and their pathways in the environment.

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