Future Developments and Innovations in High-Resolution Core Scanning

TitleFuture Developments and Innovations in High-Resolution Core Scanning
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsCroudace, IW, Rothwell, G
EditorCroudace, IW, Rothwell, G
Book TitleMicro-XRF Studies of Sediment Cores: Applications of a non-destructive tool for the environmental sciences
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
ISBN Number978-94-017-9849-5

The rapid expansion of palaeoclimate research from the late 1990s onward stimulated the introduction and subsequent use of non-destructive XRF core-scanning systems worldwide. As a result these scanners now exist in approximately 90 international institutions and they must rank as one of the most useful analytical screening tools in the geosciences. Their development has contributed to an analytical revolution in palaeoclimate and environmental research due to their overall capability, speed and spatial resolution. From the 1990s to the present time five separate commercial XRF core scanners have been available with two being dominant in the academic research sector. Up to the current time the two market leaders have been Avaatech Analytical X-Ray Technology (Netherlands) and Cox Analytical Systems (Sweden; manufacturers of the ITRAX). Other manufacturers include Geotek (United Kingdom) who are developing a growing international presence while Jeol Ltd. (Japan; manufacturers of the Tatscan) is largely limited to Japan. The Avaatech core scanner, which evolved from the Dutch CORTEX instrument, firmly established itself in the marine research sector but has also served the lake and Pre-Quaternary research community. The Itrax core scanner (Cox Analytical Systems) has been widely used by both the marine and lake sediment community. Its integration of a high power X-ray tube, X-ray capillary wave-guide, advanced silicon-drift detectors and radiographic imaging proved of great interest to users (particularly the lakes community) requiring high-resolution elemental analysis and radiographic imaging of fine sediment layers. In the last few years Geotek have expanded their core logging instrument expertise to include XRF analysis. With their user base they are likely to become a significant competitor in the XRF core scanning sector. Looking to the next decade geoscientists are likely to see extended capability arising from the addition of new or enhanced sensors to existing systems or to the appearance of new dedicated systems carrying out specific scans. Some system developments that are just becoming available involve the enhancement of existing components that allow greater analytical speed with no loss of spectral data quality. Future development will likely involve addition of other non-contact technological sensors perhaps exploiting investments made in the in-situ extra-terrestrial sector. Fertile areas for development could be based on lasers (LIBS, dispersive Raman), hyperspectral imaging (reflectance spectrometry in the VNIR, SWIR and NIR wavelength regions), X-rays (simultaneous XRD) and magnetic susceptibility. Overall, future non-destructive scanning instrument are likely to provide improved sensitivity and additional high-resolution proxy records from natural materials including sediment and rock cores, speleothems and tree rings.