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The EXCITE network consists of 19 cutting-edge imaging facilities over 12 different countries. Together, they provide access to advanced imaging techniques, that enable detailed analysis of Earth and Environmental materials. The techniques offered by the EXCITE network include: 


Our variety of advanced imaging techniques allow for chemical and structural characterisation of Earth and Environmental materials, all the way down to the atom-scale. We constantly aim to improve and expand our existing network, to make sure the latest leading-edge imaging equipment is available to all researchers.

Electron Microscopy

The EXCITE network provides access to an extensive selection of electron microscopy (EM) equipment. Our line-up consists of leading-edge scanning electron microscopes, transmission electron microscopes, and electron microprobe analysers. Our selection of electron microscopy equipment allows for chemical and structural analysis, at micro- to nanometre scale. Some of our facilities also allow for natural biological samples and cryogenic samples to be analysed, with the use of environmental sample chambers. Our network also hosts facilities with strong expertise in nanoscale sample preparation via FIB-SEM nano-manipulation techniques.

For more information, check out our facilities that provide access to cutting-edge EM equipment:

X-Ray Tomography

Through the use of advanced CT systems, the EXCITE network provides access to 3D/4D imaging of various materials. Our network is specialized in in-situ 3D/4D analysis of Earth and Environmental materials, of different sizes. We offer non-destructive high-resolution analysis of final and developing products. These include characterisation of internal structure of materials, volume quantification, inspection of dimensions and geometric tolerances, bulk density, particle distribution and orientation, fluid flow experiments, weathering of materials, deformation of materials or porosity.

For more information, check out our facilities that provide access to X-ray Tomography systems:

Raman Spectroscopy

Raman Spectroscopy can be a powerful tool for providing valuable insights on compositional and phase characteristics of Earth and Environmental materials. EXCITE provides access to cutting-edge Raman equipment via our partner at the University of Porto. For more details on their Raman systems:

Atom Probe Tomography (APT)

Via our partner at Curtin University, EXCITE offers unique access to APT. Atom probe tomography is an advanced materials characterisation technique that is renowned for high spatial resolution and analytical sensitivity, and provides 3D imaging and compositional data measurement at sub-nm resolutions. For more information:

Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS)

LIBS can provide valuable information on elemental composition of materials. LIBS has numerous applications across various fields, including environmental monitoring, geological analysis, and material science. It offers several advantages, such as rapid analysis, minimal sample preparation, and the ability to analyse samples in situ or remotely. Our partners at CEITEC provide access to high-end, state-of-the-art LIBS instrumentation. For more information:

Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)

Atomic Force Microscopy is a powerful imaging technique often used in nanotechnology and material science, but also geoscience, to obtain high-resolution images of surfaces at the atomic scale. Our partner at the University of Granada provides access to an AFM system. For more information:


NanoSIMS, short for Nano-scale Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry, is a cutting-edge analytical technique used in various scientific disciplines, notably in geology, biology, and materials science. It enables researchers to visualize and quantify the distribution of isotopes and trace elements within samples at the nanometre scale. Our parter at Utrecht University provide access to a state-of-the-art instrument that offers high-resolution imaging of isotope ratios with exceptional isotopic precision. For more information:

‘We strive to provide access to the latest, leading-edge imaging facilities to all scientists.’

Facility overview

A detailed overview of all facilities, equipment, and contacts that were included as part of the first EXCITE2 call can be found here:

1st EXCITE2 Call Facility Information

For more information on upcoming calls:

Access to EXCITE2

Curious to learn more?

Interested in gaining access to the EXCITE2 facilities? Please enter your email address and be one of the first to be informed when we open the first EXCITE2 call for proposals. Other questions? Contact us here.

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