EPMA is a non-destructive technique yielding high-precision elemental composition data of materials at micro- and nanometre scales. This union of analytical precision and spatial resolution makes EPMA unique among microanalytical techniques. Its data contributes to a variety of disciplines critical to the UK research and industrial infrastructure. These include fields as diverse as photonics, earth science resources, nuclear engineering, and high strength, high-temperature materials development, archaeology and biomaterials. Users of these facilities include academic researchers as well as industrial partners such as Rolls Royce, EDF and mineral resource companies. The technique is relatively mature, yet the last decade has seen significant innovation in technique simulation and instrumentation. These have led to increases in analytical resolution, and type of chemical data acquired. They offer significant benefits to end-users, particularly those involved in time-dependant processes, such as materials oxidation, and slow, diffusion controlled processes which demand the highest spatial resolution. The UK has some 20 installations shared between academia and industry working on a variety of materials. The RII connects a network of 14 installations in 6 universities (Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh), 2 government bodies, (Natural History Museum, AWE), and Johnson-Matthey (NB. data for last two not included). Our goals are four-fold: To advance EPMA as a fundamental technique of advanced materials characterization; to continue to capture innovations that will deliver the world-class data demanded by our academic and industrial partners To underpin teaching of the next generation of materials scientists in the field of EPMA, in particular the correct interpretation of data To raise the awareness of funding bodies of who we are, what we do and, crucially, what we can offer the UK R&D community To highlight the centres of microanalytical excellence that exist in UK institutions to both UK Industry and other global bodies. The UK has made significant investments in the technique, but the community needs a forum to plan the roadmap for continued innovation, education and knowledge exchange. The RII is a new initiative formed in 2018.
East of England