Our Facilities and Expertise

The nmCS team offer access to a huge variety of surface analytical facilities both within the nmRC itself and also across the wider University. We have a wealth of world leading instrumentation and expertise in materials characterisation, specialising in imaging and compositional analysis. 

We also have a selection of e-leaflets for most of our equipment which highlight key capabilities, instrumentation, and relevant case studies, as well as a facilities brochure which can be found here

For more information regarding our core facilities and to explore how we can help you better access and perform them please see below. Click on the header to expand each section and learn a little bit more about the theory behind the techniques, the instrumentation we possess and what it could do for you. At the bottom of the page you will find a series of e-leaflets containing capabilities of most of our facilities. For any further information or queries please get in touch



e-leaflet available here

AFM and Female Operator

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is an example of high resolution scanning probe microscopy, which allows the imaging and physicochemical analysis of molecular surfaces with nanometre resolution.


e-leaflet available here

Our FIB-SEM can perform a multitude of sample preparation, handling and imaging proceedures.

SEM is an imaging technique with high depth of field and lateral resolution. It uses electrons to generate secondary sample irradiance. This can then be analysed to visualise sample surfaces as well as analyse the physical and chemical state of the substrate. 


e-leaflet available here

JEOL 2100F FEG TEM - An Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope with an array of specimen holders 

Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) is capable of providing very high resolution images down to a level of several Angstroms (~ 0.19nm). The study of nano-scale morphological and chemical features in cells or different materials down to near atomic levels is possible.



e-leaflet available here

ISAC's Horiba LabRam HR - A  multifunctional Raman Spectrometer

Raman spectroscopy is a non-invasive technique that generates a specific fingerprint spectrum through which the molecule or compound can be identified or observed in real-time transitions.


e-leaflet available here

ISAC ToF-SIMS facilites offer multiple ion sources and operational modes to suit the desired application

Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) is a highly sensitive surface analytical method that can describe the chemical character of a substrate surface in 3D. Solid surfaces can be analysed by either a high mass resolution Orbitrap analyser or high imaging resolution time of flight (ToF) analysers.


e-leaflet available here


Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) allows sensitive detection of molecular interactions in real time without labels. It can measure the binding, kinetics, affinity, specificity and concentration of an event and saves the work of purifying and labelling materials.





e-leaflet available here

 Acurion Nanofilm_ep4 Imaging Ellipsometer

Ellipsometry is an optical technique used to determine thin film thicknesses with Ångström resolution and infer material properties.



e-leaflet available here

Sample Chamber of an XPS Instrument

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) is a surface analysis technique that qualifies and quantifies the elemental composition and chemical state of a material.

Particle Sizing

e-leaflet available here

Pic 1-crop

Particle size analysis is the characterisation of the size distribution (size range and/or mean size) of particles in a sample. Particle sizing can be applied to solid materials, suspensions, emulsions and aerosols.


Contact Angle


Measuring the contact angle of a liquid on a solid surface allows quantification of the wettability (how a liquid spreads). This can in turn be used to investigate the energetics of an interface.



X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) is a non-invasive, non-destructive imaging technique permitting the visualisation and quantification of the interior structure of an object in three dimensions. Micro-CT generates cross-sections with pixel sizes in the micrometre range for high resolution imaging.


Prosolia DESI 2D Imaging MS Interface

LC-MS is a versatile and highly sensitive analytical technique for the measurement of small molecular weight compounds in a diverse range of sample types. It uses a series of mass detection systems to provide both quantitative and qualitative analyses.



Fluorescence Microscopy

Fluorescent nanosensors are spherical probes composed of an inert matrix with nanometre sized dimensions that selectively respond to stimuli in their surroundings to transduce fluorescence signals to a detector. 

Spectroscopy Suite

Spec Suite-Header Image

Spectroscopy involves an interaction between light (electromagnetic radiation) and matter, including absorption, emission, scattering, refraction, resonance and diffraction.



nmRC Facilities Brochure

Our facilities brochure highlights the key techniques that nmCS offers, and outlines the capabilities and applications of each one as well as some relevant case studies.

To get your copy: either click the link below or pop into the centre for a physical copy. They can be found in our entrance foyer. 

nmRC Facilities Brochure PDF format

nmRC Facilities Brochure



Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre

Cripps South building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 95 15046
email: nmcs@nottingham.ac.uk