Researchers from CWI and ExxonMobil Chemical Europe Inc. in Machelen (Belgium) are starting a joint research program on three-dimensional imaging of nanomaterials. Currently 3D-techniques are too time-consuming to be used routinely in nano-scale materials research. CWI and ExxonMobil Chemical aim to develop fast computing and processing methods in order to enable practical applications of 3D techniques in industrial R&D.
ExxonMobil Chemical is one of the largest petrochemical companies in the world, producing a wide range of advanced synthetic products. The company’s researchers are studying materials at a nanoscale in order to improve their production processes and materials properties. Currently this requires a significant amount of highly skilled work using two-dimensional electron microscopy. Although it is technically possible to construct three-dimensional images of the materials, this is not yet broadly applicable because of the time and expertise currently required to produce and interpret these images. ExxonMobil Chemical’s and CWI’s researchers will developing new methods that will accelerate both the production and the interpretation of these images, so that large sample sets can be analysed routinely in 3D at nanometer resolution.
The project ‘ICT Solutions for rapid 3D analysis of catalysts and polymers’ will be executed as a public-private collaboration as part of the ICT Roadmap within the Top Sectors and will run for two years.