UWC hosts workshop with world-renowned geoscientist from the GFZ Helmholtz Centre Potsdam


From the 5th to the 9th of June, the Earth Science Department of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in Cape Town hosted a workshop dedicated to Focussed Ion Beam (FIB) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) techniques. The course was presented by Dr. Richard Wirth, a renowned researcher from the German Research Center for Geosciences GFZ-Potsdam, and organized by Dr. Elizaveta Kovaleva, a lecturer at UWC and an Alexander von Humboldt scholar in GFZ-Potsdam

The workshop accommodated approximately 35 on-site and 10 online participants from such South African institutions as UWC, UCT, UJ, UP, Wits, and Stellenbosch Universities, as well as Mintek, MinSA, and from international institutions such as the Polish Academy of Science and the Russian Academy of Science.

The first two days of the workshop were dedicated to the theoretical background of electron microscopy with an emphasis on FIB and TEM. The next three days covered a variety of applications focussed on geoscience, material science, and biology. Attendees learned about discoveries of nano-sized diamonds in ophiolites, impactites, and basaltic lavas, mantle-derived inclusions captured by diamonds from kimberlites, nanostructures in meteorites, symplectitic rims, and aircraft turbines, magnetite chains produced by the bacterium, and other exciting subjects. Every topic was theoretically explained, supported, and illustrated with TEM images, 3D models, and FIB-derived 3D animations.

Participants were invited to collaborate with GFZ laboratories, bringing forward their research ideas and samples.

This was an incredibly informative and unique opportunity, brought to South Africa by a specialist who personally examined over 9 000 FIB foils in TEM. The workshop was supported by the National Research Foundation and the Earth Science Department of UWC.

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