Ingrain, Inc. has just announced the acquisition of a NanoXCT Imaging device to be used in conjunction with their reservoir modeling capabilities to provide geoscientists an unprecedented look at the pore properties of rock samples, even oil sands. From their press release:
The 3-D NanoXCT imaging device, which is the first of its kind to be used outside of the microchip industry and some of the synchrotron beams in the country, is capable of focusing an X-ray source onto an extremely small region of interest within a rock sample — as small as 20-60 microns. The best resolution of the new device is 0.05 microns (50 nanometers) or 1/1000th of the diameter of a strand of human hair.
Click through for the links to the press release and the company website which has some nice 3D animations of oil displacing water in rock pores. The image below is a screen capture from one of those animations. (All screen captures property of Ingrain, Inc.)