University collaborate in new £4.5m facility

Published: 2 February 2012

Dr Ian MacLaren from Physics and Astronomy attended the opening of a facility that will conduct research into the materials of tomorrow

Dr Ian MacLaren from Physics and Astronomy represented the University at the opening of a pioneering facility that will conduct research into the cutting-edge materials of tomorrow.

The new EPSRC National Facility for Aberration Corrected Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM) was officially opened by Dr Andrew Bourne of the EPSRC at the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus on 11 January.  The University (represented by Dr Ian MacLaren and Prof Alan Craven) is one of five university partners in the new £4.5 million facility, which will become a new national facility for STEM research for all RCUK eligible researchers.

Aberration Corrected STEM is the technique of focussing a tiny beam of electrons down to the size of a single atom and using this to study materials.  Researchers can use this technique to study atoms one at a time, building up an image of the atomic structure and chemistry of objects just a few nm in size. This research is enabling a new field of science that is capable of constructing new synthetic materials and devices; there have already been studies into functional oxides for memory storage, the structure of biological molecules, semiconductors for next generation electronics, and solar cell materials.

Speaking about the new partnerships Dr Ian MacLaren said, “The EPSRC funding for this facility is excellent news for nanoscience in the UK and we are really looking forward to working with top researchers from all over the UK on revealing the atomic secrets of many different materials.”

First published: 2 February 2012

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