About us


Our Investigators using some of the many scientific instruments we have at our disposalOur advanced materials research relies heavily on highly sophisticated instruments.

These transformational tools allow us to achieve amazing leaps forward in new discoveries, real-world applications and marketable innovations. They strengthen our national and international collaborations as many are available to investigators outside the institute. They are also a drawcard for top PhD and postdoc students and open up exciting career channels.

For more information on the instruments below, contact the relevant investigator.

1 Tesla vibrationing sample magnetometer (VSM)

For magnetic field loops (+/- 1 Tesla) and temperature dependent magnetisation from 20 to 310 K. We also have a magneto-electric test-rig that can run on the 1 Tesla electromagnet.

Shen Chong

Analytical ultracentrifugation

Size and shape determination of nanoparticles, such as proteins, quantum dots etc, through sedimentation in solutions (usually aqueous, but can be anything).

Renwick Dobson

Ar ion mill

For physical milling/patterning of thin film structures into patterned devices using a beam of Ar ions.

Simon Granville

Atomic force microscope

Nanosurf FlexAFM atomic force microscope (AFM). Contact and tapping modes including: conductive, magnetic, piezoresponce.

Jérôme Leveneur

Atomic force microscopy and magnetic force microscopy

Can do atomic force microscopy, magnetic force microscopy and piezoelectric force microscopy.

John Kennedy

Biological applications laboratory

For fabrication of microfluidic and Lab-on-a-Chip devices using photo- and soft-lithography, micro-milling, and their characterization and application to live cell and microorganism culture in combination with fluorescence and confocal microscopy.

Volker Nock

CD micro-spectrometer

Custom-built spectrometer system with intense broadband white light (UV-near-IR), alternating circular polarisation, high-NA microscope objectives, and spectrometer with CCD and PMT detectors for absorbance, fluorescence, Raman measurements of optical activity.

Baptiste Auguié

Cleanroom fabrication facility

Equipment suite for the fabrication of microelectronic devices. Includes photolithography evaporation, sputter coating, oxygen plasma etching and electrical testing.

Natalie Plank

Cluster deposition system

This purpose-built system provides a capability to deposit nanoparticles of controlled sizes and to measure the electrical properties of devices fabricated using the nanoparticles as building blocks.

Simon Brown

Dynamic microfluidics laboratory

High-speed cameras, lighting, lenses etc. optimised for visualising droplet-scale microfluidics experiments.

Geoff Willmott

Electrochemical instrumentation

We have an extensive suite of electrochemical instrumentation to perform variety of electrochemical analyses.

Jadranka Travas-Sejdic

Electrochemistry facility

A wide range of potentiostats capable of common electrochemical techniques like cyclic voltammetry and impedance spectroscopy. Current ranges from 100 femtoamps to 10 Amp. Also rotating disc and ring-disc electrodes, electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance, photoelectrochemical set-up and online gas chromatography (coupled to electrochemical cells).

Aaron Marshall

Electron beam annealing

Vacuum annealing system using a medium energy (30 keV) electron beam to heat inorganic samples up to 1,200° C.

Jérôme Leveneur

Emulsion formation and characterisation facility

Mechanical mixers and ultrasound probe for preparing colloid dispersions and static light scattering, bulk rotational rheometers, interfacial rheolometer, microscopy and interfacial tensiometry equipment for characterising them.

Catherine Whitby

Field emission measurement

Vacuum chamber to undertake field emission measurements.

Jérôme Leveneur

Gas absorption analyzer

For measuring the uptake of gases by porous materials, for example to determine the BET surface area or their affinity for various guests

Shane Telfer

Gas separation analyzer

For measuring the performance of membranes or porous materials in separating gas mixtures.

Shane Telfer

Hall probe

Four point probe to measure conductivity, carrier concentration and mobility.

John Kennedy

Inert atmosphere glovebox

For synthesis and manipulation of materials under an inert atmosphere.

Robin Fulton

Ion beam analysis facility

3 MV Van de Graaf accelerator and beamlines to undertake a range of ion beam analyses including: Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS), particle induced X-ray emission (PIXE), nuclear reaction analysis (NRA), elastic recoil detection (ERD). Provides elemental and structural characterization.

Jérôme Leveneur

Ion beam sputter deposition

Thin film deposition equipment using 20 kV accelerated inert gas beam to sputter atom from a target onto samples to be coated.

Jérôme Leveneur

Ion implantation facility

Undertake ion implantation with acceleration voltages ranging from 1 to 60 keV in 1 cm2 size sample.

Jérôme Leveneur

Low and high field NMR facility

Facility for material characterisation using NMR spectroscopy, diffusometry and imaging.

Petrik Galvosas

Low-temperature vacuum cryostat

Vacuum cryostat with 20x20 cm sample stage, currently set up for thermopower and resistivity measurements down to 5 K.

James Storey

MOKE (magneto-optical Kerr effect) microscope

For imaging magnetic domains of materials and measuring magnetisation loops with magnetic fields both in-plane and out-of-plane using polarised light at ambient and cryogenic conditions.

Simon Granville

Nanopipetting equipment

Equipment for making, positioning, and transducing through nanopipettes. Can be adapted for functions such as scanning ion conductance microscopy, resistive pulse sensing, and soft particle mechanical measurements.

Geoff Willmott

Optical lithography laboratory

The combination of a basic mask aligner, spinner, evaporator etc provide capability for simple lithographic processing with resolution down to about 1 µm.

Simon Brown

Optical tweezers

Optical tweezers use focussed laser beams to manipulate microscopic particles and measure forces at the nm and pN scales, for example colloidal interactions and single molecule stretching.

Bill Williams

Raman laboratory (VUW)

Raman spectrometers: Raman microscopes with multiple laser excitations, time-resolved (ms) and scanning/mapping capabilities. Combined absorption/extinction UV/Vis spectrophotometer for measuring turbid samples.

Eric Le Ru

Raman microscope

For using Raman microscopy to examine distribution and variations in composition over an area, with micron to sub micron resolution.

Keith Gordon

Raman spectroscopy (custom-built)

Raman spectroscopy facility including low-frequency, spectroelectrochemical, and high pressure measurements.

Mark Waterland

Raman spectroscopy systems

For recording the vibrations spectrum of system using a wide range of Raman spectroscopy techniques, including Resonance Raman, low-frequency Raman, time-resolved Raman and non-resonant Raman spectroscopies.

Keith Gordon

Scanning tunnelling microscope / atomic force microscope

Omicron variable temperature STM/AFM provides a capability for atomic resolution imaging and scanning tunnelling spectroscopy of nanostructures and surfaces.

Simon Brown

Six-target magnetron thin film sputtering system

For depositing thin films and multilayers by magnetron sputtering in ultra-high vacuum - optimised for spintronic structures such as GMR or TMR junctions.

Simon Granville


Custom-built surface plasmon resonance setup. Can also be combined with Raman spectroscopy.

Baptiste Auguié

Transient absorption and emission

For measuring the excited state dynamics on the nano to micro second timescales via transient absorption and phosphorescence spectroscopies.

Keith Gordon

Ultrafast optical spectroscopy facility

For measuring excited state dynamics on ultrafast timescales via transient absorption, fluorescence, stimulated Raman, and time-domain terahertz spectroscopies.

Justin Hodgkiss