PIXS: Portable Imaging X-ray Fluorescence System

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leicester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy


There are a number of major challenges that have been identified for the scientific community which expertise from the STFC could help to address. Of these, disposal of nuclear waste (existing waste from the nuclear power industry and future waste from the planned new nuclear power stations) and the capture and storage of carbon dioxide are seen as critical for security of electricity supply and to reduce greenhouse warming. Subsurface repositories are one way in which these challenges may be addressed. Across the globe a significant amount of funding is being expended in exploring a variety of storage methods, repository types and monitoring systems.

The project aims to develop and test a prototype Portable Imaging X-ray Fluorescence System (PIXS) for use in geological repositories building on Space Research Centre expertise in XRF (imaging and non-imaging) for planetary exploration including Beagle 2 and the BepiColombo mission to Mercury. A current project to develop a handheld XRD/XRF instrument in conjunction with Bruker Elemental is also highly synergistic with the proposed development of PIXS.

Planned Impact

Our project is in alignment with the scientific remit of the Global Challenge Concept call building on STFC funded research to develop a small scale demonstrator with applications within the Global Challenge themes: Energy and Environment.

The successful project will be the starting point for the development of a new type of imaging XRF system which will complement a number of other techniques currently in development for repository assessment and monitoring. Benefits include improved measurements which will contribute to the safety of such sites. In addition there will be a commercial opportunity for the instrument, in the mining sector, which will benefit UK industry. Archaeological and


10 25 50