The World In Extreme Close Up
“Don’t sweat the small stuff”, they say. But here at the University of Nottingham, we’re changing the world with the small stuff. The really, really tiny stuff, in fact.
At the Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre (nmRC), we’re solving some of the trickiest problems in industry by looking at the world at a microscopic and even nanoscopic level.
A nanometre is a unit of measurement so tiny it’s hard for our human brains to imagine, at just one millionth of a millimetre. Yet through our world-leading instrumentation and facilities at the nmRC, we can observe materials down to this level of incredible detail.
Understanding what different materials look like on these scales and what they are composed of allows us to answer all sorts of interesting and unusual questions!
“What’s that mystery stain that keeps appearing on my fabric?”, one textile manufacturer asked us. Our Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer revealed it was a specific dying agent that wasn’t being fully washed out after the dying process, saving the manufacturer tens of thousands of pounds per year in wasted product.
“How can we improve the performance of this fuel?” was another problem posed by a chemical manufacturer. We were able to precisely analyse the deposits that were forming on fuel injectors, enabling the company to develop strategies to prevent this and leading into a number of PhD projects..
We’re even revolutionising the humble loaf of bread. Ever wondered if your morning toast could come with the added bonus of probiotics? – the good bacteria that support a healthy gut. Using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), we’ve worked with food manufacturers to prove that edible probiotic films can successfully be applied to the crust of a loaf of bread, without affecting its texture.
A Remote Service for Business
Through new funding, the nmRC is now looking at exploring expanding its services to business, and making the types of question above even more convenient to answer via a professional remote characterisation service. Businesses would be able to send their samples by post and watch live virtually as their samples were analysed, talk to or instruct the expert operator while an analysis is in progress or even potentially have their own staff run the instruments remotely.
But before we commit to this type of service we need to hear from you on whether this is something your business could use?! Would it be appealing? Would it encourage more work?
Tell us whether a remote service would be of interest to you using by responding to our 5 minute form below and you’ll have the option to be entered into a prize draw to win a session (morning or afternoon) free sample analysis by optical microscopy or electron microscopy from the nmRC team (draw will be made after the 30th June):
Click to complete remote access survey
For more information on the nmRC in general please visit our homepage.
Posted on Thursday 28th April 2022