Facilities

The Department of Natural Sciences is based at Thornton Science Park, which is growing to become a major research and innovation hub for the North West. Our world-class facilities are used by research-active members of staff in physics, chemistry, materials science and biotechnology.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering offers a wide range of benefits and services to SMEs and new start-ups located throughout the Northwest of England. These include the opportunity to run your business from Thornton Science Park via purpose-built incubator units. The Enterprise Zone at Thornton offers incoming companies the possibility to build a cost-effective corporate headquarters on site, including all functions such as research and development, and manufacturing capabilities, or to move into an existing office and fully equipped laboratory or workshop space.

Our research informed teaching provides practical skills to our students, who are able to gain first-hand experience in laboratories equipped with industry-standard instrumentation.

The Materials Characterisation and Micro-Analysis Laboratory is very well equipped and includes facilities for high resolution surface profilometry, crystalline phase investigation by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy for high-resolution imaging with micro-area elemental analysis (SEM-EDX), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) for surface and thin-film chemical analysis. The laboratory also houses high quality optical microscopes configured for bright and dark field imaging, polarisation, phase and interference contrast. The facilities are completed by atomic force and scanning tunnelling microscopy (AFM/STM).

Fume hoods

The Materials Preparation and Testing Laboratory includes facilities for sample preparation - ultrasonication, milling, polishing, sectioning, coating, hardness testing along with tensile and hardness testing. Surface energy and surface tension can be investigated, and tribological testing carried out.

The Analytical Chemistry Laboratory includes facilities relevant to particle size analysis, gas chromatography (GC), gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC-MS), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). It is part of the Analytical Centre based at Thornton Science Park.

Bioreactor The Biotechnology Laboratory includes facilities for research in the areas of bioinformatics & computer modelling, bioreactors and genomics.