Facility: Material Testing and Innovation


As a manufacturer having a fully optimised process and using the most effective raw material is essential. Defective material, faults or contamination can be costly and we can help you identify issues and work with you to solve them - helping to give you the competitive edge.

Our specialist materials testing and innovation centre offers unique state-of-the-art facilities for material analysis and characterisation. Our team of specialists work with businesses to test and analyse the raw material properties, review the manufacturing process and develop innovative effective solutions. We do this using a variety of methods including:

- High resolution, real time material analysis
- Material characterisation to investigate material detects, faults or contamination
- Material surface analysis measuring defects, patterns, composition, and 3D
- Atomic resolution, in situ elemental and chemical material analysis
- Undertake quality control checks of material samples 

With some of the most advanced microscopy, x-ray and spectrometry equipment in Ireland we can get results of the highest resolution and detail across a wide range of raw materials including polymers, metals, glass, paint, paper, ceramics and biomaterials. Some of our equipment includes:

Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM): High performance TEM with a field emission electron source for analyses at the atomic/molecule level in materials science, nanotechnology and lifesciences. Electron energy loss spectroscopy is a powerful technique which can be used to determine the atomic structure and chemical properties of a specimen.

Atomic Force Microscope (AFM): AFM provides 3D topographic information by probing the surface structure. Operating under atmospheric pressue at room temperature and in air so that a full range of materials (i.e. metals, insulators, ceramics, polymers, and biological specimens) can be investigated.

X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS): Provides the surface composition of organic and inorganic materials, with depth profiling it can give compositional information of through-sections. XPS is a surface-sensitive quantitative spectroscopic technique reporting the elemental composition of samples in their parts per thousand range.   

X-ray Diffraction (XRD): XRD provides crystallographic information of a wide range of materials. XRD is a rapid analytical technique primarily used for phase identification of crystalline materials. Information on unit cell dimensions can be provided. Sample types can include powder and thin films.

Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (TOF-SIMS): TOF-SIMS provides information on the surface composition of organic and inorganic materials. Applications include semiconductor, polymer, paint coatings, glass, paper, metals, ceramics, biomaterials, pharmaceuticals and organic tissue. It provides detailed elemental and molecular information about the surface, thin layers, interfaces of the sample, and gives a full three-dimensional analysis. 

SEM-FIB: The Quanta 3D is designed to be a 3D-SEM. It combines traditional thermal emission Scanning Electron Microscopy with Focused Ion Beam to extend the application ranges for 3D characterisation and nanoanalysis.

Additional Equipment: In addition we have high resolution analytical electron microscopes, UV-VIS, FTIR and Raman Spectroscopy as well as a range of benchtop equipment to undertake analysis of solids, particles and solution based samples to provide information on particle size, concentration, chemical composition and bonding, or molecular structures of the materials.

Contact Us 
If you have an enquiry or a project that you would like to discuss, or to arrange a tour of the facilities please contact Paul Beaney, Head of Business Development, Ulster University on 

T: +44 (0) 28 9036 8903


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