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Scientists to benefit from new research equipment

Scientists to benefit from new research equipment

Scientists from research institutions, universities and industry will benefit from two major pieces of equipment, worth more than $1 million each, bought by The University of Auckland recently.

The long-awaited Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM) and an X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscope (XPS) are the only ones of their kind in the country.

Based within the Faculty of Engineering’s Research Centre for Surface and Materials Science, the new equipment will be officially launched on Thursday March 10, 2005, by the Minister for Research, Science and Technology, the Hon. Steve Maharey.

The equipment will be used by food and biological scientists, as well as surface and material scientists from around the country.

The ESEM is an advanced version of conventional SEM microscopes, which are relatively commonplace having been commercially available since the 1960s. The older style machine required samples to be placed in a vacuum chamber, which meant it could not be used to research wet items such as blood, apples, or adhesives in their natural state because any moisture would evaporate. The ESEM has overcome this problem and samples can now be examined in water vapour or other gasses.

The XPS has been bought to replace the one-and-only machine of its kind in New Zealand - a 17-year-old XPS at the University. The XPS, which will be available to a wide range of industry and university researchers, provides detailed analysis of the top ten atomic layers of a material.

The ESEM and the XPS, both fully funded by The University of Auckland, were made-to-order and shipped to New Zealand from Europe.

The Research Centre for Surface and Materials Science offers a number of powerful imaging and surface analysis techniques. These are used by researchers from The University of Auckland as well as other Universities. In addition, the Centre provides solutions to problems related to surface properties for industry. The Centre is also involved in commercial research projects with Crown Research Institutes in areas such as forestry research, industrial research and environmental science.

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