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Experimental Techniques Centre

ETC logoThe ETC at Brunel University, West London, was established in 1979 in purpose built laboratories designed to accommodate high resolution electron microscopes and spectroscopic equipment. It has developed into a highly regarded cross-disciplinary characterisation facility, with specialist staff that have expertise from various scientific disciplines, e.g. biology, metallurgy, geology, engineering etc. The ETC is also UKAS accredited for many analytical services, which ensures traceability of calibrations. 

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The Centre is staffed by a highly skilled team with expertise in the sciences, engineering and environmental investigations, including expert witness roles in legal matters. UKAS accreditation has been obtained for many of our analytical services which include microscopical, chemical, mineralogical and surface analyses so that you may have further confidence in the results obtained. ETC clients include local, national and international companies, as well as university research groups. 


The equipment within the ETC has been funded from various sources, including Brunel University, Research Council Grants and Commercial Partnerships. 


Imaging Platforms

Jeol 2100F FEG 200kV HR-TEM (0.2nm resolution), with STEM; 120kV, 100kV and 80kV; selected area and convergent beam diffraction; and tomography. Attached are: a Gatan Vulcan Cathode-luminescence detector; Gatan GIF Quantum GIF/EELS energy filter; Gatan Orius Camera; with Gatan Microscopy Suite V.3; and a Thermo-Scientific Ultra-Dry SDD EDX system with NSS software.

Zeiss Supra 35VP FEG SEM, with variable kV (0.2-30kV); variable pressure; secondary and back-scatter electron and high-resolution (~20nm) imaging. Attached are: an EDAX Octane Super SDD EDX and Pegasus EBSD systems with TEAM and OIM software packages.

Jeol JXA-840A 20kV tungsten SEM, with 5kV and 10kV; secondary and back-scatter electron (~100nm resolution) imaging. Attached is a Oxford E5574 SiLi EDX detector; Avalon digital imaging system and Spirit software

Veeco Dimension 3100AFM (4.8um-~10nm Z-height resolution)

Zeiss FIB with 3-dimensional EDX and EBSD and correlative LM-TEM capabilities (Arriving in Nov 2016)


ETC is a multidisciplinary research institute specialising in high level characterisation and analysis of a wide spectrum of materials. By fostering an interdisciplinary philosophy, it serves as a hub to the broader university community, encompassing bioengineering and biosciences, the environment, and an extensive range of engineering. Furthermore, ETC provides an accredited evaluation service to both local and international industries and a wealth of collaborative research opportunities for external research and development enterprises.

Sample Preparation

TEM prep:
Gatan Plasma Ion Poilishing System, with cryo-preparation capabilities
Gatan ultra-sonic disc cutter and dimple grinder
Gatan Plasma Cleaner (O2 and H2)
RMC PT-PC ultramicrotome with cryo-sectioning capabilities

SEM prep
Quorum Sputter Coater
Agar Carbon Coater with metal evaporation capabilities
Mechanical polishing wheels
Agar Critical Point Drier
Tenu-pol Electropolishing system with cryo capabilities

Resin embedding expertise for TEM or SEM preparation
Fixation and staining expertise of biological tissues for TEM and SEM
Laarman super fine mill

Zeiss FIB for TEM cross sections 

Data Analysis

Gatan GMS 3
Thermi-scientific NSS EDX analysis


Jeol-840 SEM

Recent News 

The latest addition to our suite is a Zeiss Crossbeam 340 scanning electron microscope (SEM) with focused ion beam, to complement the recently acquired JEOL 2100 FEG-TEM transmission electron microscope (TEM) with cathodoluminescence (CL). A full list of our investigation techniques can be found at our characterisation facilities page. ETC also runs a range of advanced training courses in analytical techniques.


Contact Us

For further information on our work or services, or to obtain the website content in brochure format, please see contact details, or get in touch with any of our staff.