Geological Applications of Helium Ion Microscopy
Analysis and Visualization of the Pore Networks within Shale and Coal
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Currently, shale gas and coal bed methane are attracting increased interest as energy sources. Various data suggest that micro- to nano-scale pores exist within shale and coal, leading to gas transport. Direct visualization of the pore networks remains relevant to fully evaluating gas storage and recovery issues associated with these resources.
The present paper compares various microscopy methods for analysis of the pore network, highlights the application of helium ion microscopy (HIM) and discusses the relevant results.
The findings illustrate that HIM provides a unique new tool in the nano-scale characterization of geologic samples that are important in developing both conventional and unconventional resources.