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Specialist facilities and equipment

We use a wide range of industrial processing techniques, with particular emphasis on polymer mixing, extrusion and moulding technologies, including unique mixing and injection moulding techniques developed here. These are housed in a new purpose-built processing hall.

Research is underpinned by extensive state of the art instrumentation for thermal, Rheological, chemical and structural in including micro characterisation of materials, together with modern mechanical and related physical testing facilities.

We are equipped with a wide range of modern analytical instruments. We can characterise materials throughout an entire processing route from the raw materials, via compounds to finished components. Our instrumentation covers the areas of rheology (capillary and rotational rheometry), thermal analysis (DSC, TGA, SDT, MS) and mechanical properties (tensile, compression, flexural, impact, nano-indentation). The microstructure of specimens can be studied with several microscopy techniques.

Each technique alone provides valuable information. Combined, the techniques complement each other and provide a powerful way to fully characterise a wide variety of materials.

Through collaboration with the Schools and particularly with Engineering and Design at Brunel, the Centre also has access to materials design and process modelling expertise.

      • We have recently acquired a Bruker D8 Advance X-ray Diffractometer with Bragg-Brentano geometry.  The instrument is fully equipped with Chromium, Copper and Molybdenum tubes to study the crystal structure of a wide range of materials.  Advanced components and software enable high signal-noise ratio, measurement of residual stress and analysis of texture, crystal size and micro-strain.
      • We have also procured a state-of-the-art laser Raman spectrometer, equipped with a motorised translation stage for X-Y-Z mapping, three lasers and two array detectors, which facilitates the characterisation of polymers and nanocomposites.
      • In addition, we have recently procured a spectrofluorimeter, equipped with continuous wave and pulsed xenon sources, and nanoLEDs, for emission, excitation and lifetime measurements.

We are very well equipped with precision analytical equipment. Some of this is listed below but we recommend that you visit us to fully appreciate our facilities and to discuss your particular interests.

Bentham Spectrometers

These are used for measuring the excitation and emission spectra of materials across the UV, Visible and near IR spectral regions. We also have two integrating spheres and variable temperature capability which facilitates the calculation of luminous efficiency.

Jeti Spectroradiometers

Specbos 1200 and Specbos 1201 Spectroradiometers for fast data gathering of emission spectrum, radiance, luminance etc.

Photo Research PR880

Pritchard® PR-880 Automated Filter Photometer

Mössbauer Spectrometers

This is a very powerful technique for analysing materials that contain iron, tin, europium or antimony between the temperatures of 80K and 600K and pressure up to 10GPa. This technique provides information about the metal’s local environment (coordination state and can distinguish between crystallographic symmetry sites) and oxidation state. For more information on this technique please see these links, Royal Society of Chemistry and Currently three systems are operating.


0-5,000V (low voltage) CL apparatus which we use for testing phosphor used for applications such as FED, SED and VFD

5,000-25,000V including LEED, RHEED and Auger Spectroscopy capability. This apparatus is more versatile and allows us to use more specialised analytical techniques. This is most useful for surface analysis and higher voltage CL phosphors such as those used in CRTs.

In conjunction with our other apparatus we are able to characterise the cathodoluminescence properties such as luminance and emission spectrum.

Particle size analysers

Horiba LS 920 particle size analyser and auto sampler capable of characterising particle size distribution and concentration between the ranges of 20nm to 2000µm.

Sympatec particle size analyser

UV-Visible spectrometers

Absorbance and transmission modes of analysis between 200-1100nm in solution.

Perkin Elmer Fluorimeter LS5

Analysis of the fluorescence of solid samples.

Differential Scanning Callorimeters

Measures transition temperatures and heat flow. Model TA Instruments Q1000 with Tzero technology, temperature range - 170oC to 550oC.

Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA)

Measures weight changes. Model TA Instruments Q500 with temperature range ambient to 1000oC.

Simultaneous DSC-TGA (SDT)

Measures both heat flow and weight changes in a material as a function of temperature or time in a controlled atmosphere. Model TA Instruments Q600 with temperature range ambient to 1500oC.

Mass Spectrometer (MS)

Determines the relative atomic masses of molecules and their relative abundance in a gaseous sample. Model Pfieffer Vacuum Benchtop Thermostar with a range from 1 to 300 amu.

Dynamic Mechanical Analyser (DMA)

Measures mechanical (viscoelastic) properties. Model TA Instruments Q800 with temperature range - 150oC to 600oC.


We have a large range of Carbolite and Lenton furnaces comprising of tube, ashing and muffle furnaces capable of reaching 1700oC in a purpose built furnace laboratory.

Glove boxes and inert atmosphere synthesis

Saffron Alpha Glove box and another glove box and we have extensive chemical synthetic experience in Schlenk type glassware. The Saffron glove box has recently been fully serviced and can achieve very low moisture and oxygen pressures and also has electrical feed-throughs for electroluminescence testing under controlled environments.

Screen Printing and deposition techniques

For prototype and production of screened materials we have the highly reproducible DEK247 semi-automatic screen printer able to print test areas of up to 12”x12”. We also have spin coating, K-bar and doctorblade for quick screening. Depending on the application and deposit areas we also have other techniques available within our laboratory.

Electron Microscopes

In the same building as our labs is the Experimental Techniques Centre (ETC) which has FE, TEM and SEM along with IR and surface analysis equipment such as a Gaton Vulcon cathodoluminescence detector. We make considerable use of their facilities and have an excellent relationship with them.