COLLABORATION

Flinders University’s cutting-edge new research equipment open to industry

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The newly established department operates an open access policy and makes its resources available to businesses.

Adelaide’s industry leaders and scientists are about to have access to a whole range of brand new, cutting-edge instruments and research equipment as Flinders University opens its doors to industry.

Among the state-of-the-art equipment available to companies is the multimillion-dollar photoemission electron microscope (PEEM).

The microscope is the only one of its kind in Australia and will be housed in the Flinders Microscopy and Microanalysis facility at the university’s Bedford Park main campus. The newly established department operates an open access policy and makes its resources available to businesses.

The department is currently aiding in the important development of nanomaterials, photovoltaics, corrosion, 3D metal printing prototypes and minerals processing.

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The new PEEM will help in these projects, providing analysis of the chemical composition of material surfaces through its spectro-microscopic technique.

“The new centre will house a unique suite of capabilities and instruments, including custom-built facilities designed in collaboration with scientific instrumentation companies,” Flinders University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robert Saint said of the new Microscopy and Microanalysis facility.

Funding from the federal government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), combined with contributions from an Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) grant, and Microscopy Australia, supported the project.

Faculty are hopeful the new investment will help boost not just the university’s research capabilities, but also help give local institutions a leg up.

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“With instruments specialised for materials characterisation and light microscopy, Flinders Microscopy and Microanalysis is ideally suited to support the research needs of university, government and industry in South Australia and beyond,” the facility’s director, Associate Professor Sarah Harmer, said.

Any industry players who want to use the equipment will not, of course, be turned loose in the laboratories. Harmer said there will be qualified staff, trained on the research tools, at the centre at all times to offer guidance and instruction where needed.

Interested parties are able to access the facility for a one-off testing and analysis session. If they want to spend time on an ongoing project that requires multiple visits to the facility, training will be provided to allow them to conduct research independently.