Scanning Electron Microscopy at the core of Earth Sciences; reading 4 billion years of history in backscattered light.

01 May 2018 → 30 April 2022
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Archaeology not elsewhere classified
  • Natural sciences
    • Geoarchaeology
    • Geochronology
    • Mineralogy and crystallography
    • Petrology
    • Stratigraphy
    • Palaeontology
    • Soil sciences, challenges and pollution not elsewhere classified
earth sciences electron microscopy
Project description

With this application we seek to replace the Dept. of Geology’s aging Scanning Electron Microscope with a model that is up to challenges of modern Earth Science research in geology, archaeology and soil management. Our current SEM is c. 25 years old and has reached the end of its serviceable cycle. Nevertheless, this instrument is pivotal in the day-to-day functioning of the emerging research group of two newly appointed lecturers, T. Vandenbroucke (Oct. 2015) and S. Dewaele (Oct. 2016), who respectively focus on micropaleontology and ore geology/mineralogy, as well as being a indispensible step in the methodological protocol used by all the co-promotors, their research students and external partners in the study of: microfossils to track ancient episodes of climate change & unravel the root causes of mass extinction events; ore deposits & minerals to ensure a continued and durable supply of critical resources for our economy; minerals such as zircons to precisely date events in our geological past; artefacts & pottery to understand how prehistoric man lived; pores in building stones to safely restore our architectural heritage and construct new infrastructure; and ocean sediments to explore the deep sea. Its basic and routine functionality at the foundation of a wide range of state-of-the-art, dynamic and productive research programmes in Earth sciences warrant re-investment in a SEM hardware and software dedicated and fully tuned to geological materials and applications.