The department maintains world-class laboratory facilities with access to extensive equipment related to surfaces, colloid science, porous media, network analysis and X-ray tomography.

Equipment listing

Atomic force microscopes (AFM)

The department currently maintains three AFMs, at least one of which is open for general use to approved users within the university.

  • Asylum Research MFP-3D
  • Digital Instruments/Veeco - Multimode with Nanoscope IIIa
  • Digital Instruments/Veeco - Multimode with Nanoscope III: This instrument has been outfitted with custom hardware designed for measurement of nanorheology and surfaces forces using colloidal probes

Contact (MFP-3D): Tim Senden
Contact: (DI/Veeco): Vince Craig

Langmuir troughs

The Langmuir-Blodgett technique enables the production of highly organised organic monolayers on a large variety of substrates. The department's three troughs can be used in a variety of configurations, including in-situ ellipsometry experiments.

  • KSV System 2000-3 alternate layer Langmuir-Blodgett trough
  • Nima miniature Langmuir trough w/quartz window
  • Joyce-Loebl Langmuir-Blodgett trough

Contact (for all): Shaun Howard

KSV CAM200 contact angle goniometer

Video camera based and fully computer controlled Goniometer for the measurement of static or dynamic (advancing/receding) contact angles (DCA). Furthermore, surface & interfacial tension (SFT & IFT) measurements can be performed using the pendant drop or raising drop technique.

Contact: Shannon Notley

Laurell WS-400B-6NPP-Lite spin coater

Capable of spinning a 150mm wafer up to 10000RPM.

KSV QCM-Z500 quartz crystal microbalance

A computer controlled quartz crystalmicrobalance based on impedance analysis for determining the frequency (f)and the quality of resonance (Q) of quartz crystals in a gaseous or liquidenvironment. In other words, the QCM-Z500 microbalance is a mass sensingdevice with the ability to measure very small changes in mass on a quartzcrystal resonator in real-time.

Narishige MWO-202 3D hydraulic coarse/fine micromanipulator

A versatile coarse and fine movement integrated micromanipulator.

Surface forces apparatus (SFA)

The SFA allows the forces between two surfaces in vapour or liquid to be measured with a sensitivity of a few millidynes ( l0 nN) and a distance resolution of about 1 Å (0.1 nm). It can also be used to measure the refractive index of the medium between surfaces and to study adsorption from liquids, capillary condensation, viscosity in thin films, and surface deformations caused by surface forces.

Contact: Tim Sawkins

Small-angle x-ray scattering apparatus

Applications / Capabilities: Study of mesostructured complex fluids and colloids between 10 and 300 Angstroms. Special Features: Guinier/Luzzati optics, film detector.

Water plasma reactor (designed and built in-house)

Permits the passive cleaning of adventitious carbon from inorganic surface, rendering them reproducibly clean with a high degree of surface hydroxylation. Has a vacuum transference chamber for post cleaning reaction with reactive vapours, ie. silanes.

Particulate CO2 cleaner

Ultra-pure CO2 is forced at cylinder pressures through a sub-mm hole. High velocity particulate CO2 is then used to remove debris or contamination from a surface to be cleaned. A stream of clean N2 is used to remove solid CO2.


Mechanical testing equipment

Contact: Shannon Notley

Hg porosimeter

Sample pore size measurements

He pycnometer

Volume measurement of samples

X-ray computed tomography (XCT)

Microfocus (5 micron) X-ray source; very high resolution digital camera; custom reconstruction software; materials modelling software for elastic, conductive and porous materials; in-situ materials testing for fluid flow for time resolved tomography.

Contact: Mark Knackstedt

» read more about x-ray tomography

Updated:  12 October 2012/ Responsible Officer:  Head of Department/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster