The AURIGA® CrossBeam® FIB-SEM workstation, recently introduced by
Carl Zeiss, now has demonstrated
the ability to improve the analysis of shale rock's porosity and permeability.
This is done in order to more accurately predict the shale's suitability
for the commercial extraction of oil or gas.
Houston-based Ingrain, a provider of digital rock physics services to oil and
gas companies around the world, is now using an AURIGA CrossBeam workstation
to generate high resolution 3D images. These are used to create the company's
vRock™ digital reservoir rock—a complete digital capture of the
actual fabric of the original rock sample. Ingrain then uses proprietary simulation
technologies to analyze the samples for fluid flow. According to Henrique Tono,
Ingrain CEO, “We have significantly advanced our capabilities—especially
for the analysis of shale rock—by integrating the unique Carl Zeiss AURIGA
instrument into our analytical processes. As a result, our customers, who are
world leaders in oil and gas exploration, can now get more detailed, more accurate
rock properties analyses. In essence, we are now able to provide more accurate,
more complete information to support their decision making needs.”
The AURIGA CrossBeam workstation integrates a focused ion beam (FIB) system
and a scanning electron microscope (SEM) in one powerful instrument. The FIB
system acts like a Nanoscale scalpel to remove very thin slices of material
from a sample—like shale rock—while the SEM provides extraordinary,
high resolution images of the rock's structure, revealing and distinguishing
between voids and minerals. The AURIGA FIB/SEM fully automates these functions
to produce consecutive image slices as thin as 5 nm, which can be reconstructed
to form a 3-D image of the rock.
The very heart of the AURIGA CrossBeam workstation is the proven GEMINI®
FE-SEM column. Its special in-lens Energy-selected Backscatter (EsB) detector
generates images with superior materials contrast. Another important feature
unique to CrossBeam workstations is simultaneous milling and high-resolution
The AURIGA CrossBeam workstation also has a newly designed vacuum chamber,
which includes a total of 15 ports for full analytical flexibility. An unrivaled
charge compensation system enables the local application of an inert gas flush.
In this way, charge build-up on non-conductive samples, such as shale, is neutralized
and detection of secondary electrons (SE) as well as backscattered electrons
(BSE) becomes feasible.