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The challenge

Understanding matter

You need to understand your material before you can work with it. All our work, from polymer bank notes to potential cancer cures, starts with the identification and characterisation of matter.

Microscopic image of thylacine hair.
Microscopic image of a thylacine hair captured by our Characterisation team

Put simply, Material Characterisation is the study of matter up close, from the micro- and nano- to the macroscopic levels. You can determine what a material can do by looking at its properties up close.

Our Materials Characterisation team then interrogate the new material in a variety of different ways to collect data and gain a greater understanding of its properties.

Materials Characterisation techniques are used in almost every project we undertake. We’ve done characterisation on everything from ink, paint, nanofibres, graphene, 3D printed titanium objects, and even potential cancer cures.

Our response

A closer look at materials

We measure a material’s structure and properties using microscopes, X-rays, spectrometry, chromatography, thermal and mechanical analysis, and biophysical analysis. Anything that lets us look at material up close and personal and helps us understand what it does.

All our work in characterisation has made us experts in chemical, physical and biological materials interrogation at the biology-materials science interface.

Materials Characterisation can be used in everything from medicinal chemistry to the structural analysis of ceramics. The start of just about all our projects begins with Material Characterisation, including our work with carbon fibre, titanium additive manufacturing, biophysics, and polymer facial implants.

Our range of equipment includes:

  • Microscopy
    • SEM including Cryo and variable pressure
    • TEM including Cryo
    • Laser confocal microscopy and surface metrology
  • X-ray Science
    • Micro-tomography
    • X-ray diffraction
  • Spectroscopy and spectrometry
    • Mass spectrometry (LC-MS, GC-MS, MALDI-TOF)
    • NMR spectroscopy
    • FTIR, Raman, UV-VIS spectrometry
  • Surface analysis
    • XPS
    • AFM
  • Thermal and mechanical analysis
    • DSC
    • TGA
    • Instron
    • DMA
    • Membrane permeability
  • Chromatography
    • Liquid chromatography (UHPLC, HPLC)
    • Gas chromatography (GC)
    • Gel permeation chromatography (GPC, SEC, APC)
  • Analytical chemistry

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