Department of Mathematical and Physical Sciences facilities

The Department of Mathematical and Physical Sciences has world class facilities in X-ray science, optical physics, microscopy, materials design, engineering and characterisation at the nanoscale.

Our facilities support the ground-breaking work of our researchers, while offering students learning experiences where they can hone their technical and problem solving skills.

Centre for Materials and Surface Science facility

Surfaces play a key role in the manufacturing and processing of many products. Surface analysis can be used to examine materials including metals, polymers, biomaterials, textiles, semiconductors, ceramics and glass. It can also identify changes in composition with time, spatial location and depth.

The Centre for Materials and Surface Science hosts Australia's most comprehensive surface science capability, featuring a range of custom built ultra-high vacuum instrumentation, synchrotron end stations and modern surface analytical instrumentation. Contemporary surface analytical techniques determine the elemental composition, chemistry and molecular structure of the outermost layers of solid surfaces.

Atom-scale laboratory

This laboratory contains equipment that engineers diamond surfaces for quantum electronics, computation and sensing, using a combination of scanning tunnelling microscopy, synchrotron spectroscopy, device fabrication and low-temperature magnetotransport.

It also houses instrumentation for the functionalisation and measurement of surfaces, including a Createc low-temperature, ultra-high vacuum scanning tunnelling microscope/qPlus atomic force microscope with in-situ instrumentation for molecular dosing and low-energy electron diffraction, and a SPECS Aarhus ultra-high vacuum scanning tunnelling microscopy with in-situ surface functionalisation, molecular dosing and low-energy electron diffraction. Other equipment includes a JEOL 4500 ultra-high scanning probe microscope with integrated X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Auger and scanning electron microscopy; metal and oxide ultra-high vacuum molecular-beam epitaxy; microwave hydrogen plasma system for passivation of diamond surfaces; Oxford instruments Teslatron quantum measurement system; and a Cryomech helium liquifier.

X-ray imaging and characterisation facility

This multi-purpose facility supports both teaching and research activities. Students gain experience in X-ray imaging and characterisation of biological and materials science samples by examining the structures of materials and the interactions of X-rays with matter.

This facility includes both micro- and nanoscale X-ray characterisation tools. An Xradia micro-CT tomographic imaging system features in-situ stress/strain 3D imaging capability and spectrally resolved microscopy. Other equipment includes a nano-focus X-ray generator, spatially and spectrally resolved detectors, sample preparation tools, and a micron-precision, computer-controlled positioning system.

Bioimaging laboratory

This laboratory features a wet sample preparation area and has blackout capabilities for sensitive optical measurements. It can be reconfigured for specialist optical experiments including in-situ microfluidics and high-speed, time-resolved imaging.

The laboratory’s suite of optical microscopy tools includes a Nikon Eclipse Ti with microscope slide scanning capabilities and an Olympus microscope with spectrometer and hyperspectral imaging capabilities. It also has a purpose-built scanning nearfield optical microscope capable of quantitative optical imaging at the nanoscale, and an optical ptychography set up that can be used for quantitative phase imaging.

Photo of Professor Brian Abbey

La Trobe hosts a range of cutting-edge characterisation and fabrication tools. Our laboratories support collaborative projects with industry and enable our students to gain a practical understanding of fundamental issues in the materials and life sciences.

Professor Brian Abbey
Department of Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Feature stories

Our facilities are transforming teaching and research in mathematical and physical sciences.

Centre for Materials and Surface Science

Centre for Materials and Surface Science

The Centre offers Australia’s most comprehensive suite of surface science and surface analysis equipment.

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Our Freely-Accessible Remote Laboratories (FARLabs) are transforming the way secondary school students engage with science.

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The Learning Hub

The Learning Hub

Our Maths and Science Hubs offer support to students studying mathematics, statistics and sciences.

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