University of Ulster’s facility will support research from academia and its industry partners.
University of Ulster opened the FEI Centre for Advanced Imaging in Northern Ireland. The center will provide a suite of FEI electron microscopes for research areas within the university’s Biomedical Sciences Research Institute, academic research from other faculties within the university and beyond, including industrial R&D for the university’s industrial partners.
The new center is equipped with FEI tools including a Quanta™ ESEM, a Tecnai™ cryo TEM, and a Nova NanoLab™, which FEI reports is the first DualBeam™ system to provide cryo applications. It is funded in part by a 1.3 million pounds from the Department for Employment & Learning and the Office of Science & Innovation through the U.K. Science Research Investment Fund 2006-08.
Some of the leading applications at the center will include addressing potential hazards related to nano-enabled technologies. “We intend to be recognized as one of the world centers of excellence for investigating nanoparticle toxicology,” says Vyvyan Howard, head of the University’s Bioimaging Research Group. “There will be a lot more work to do in the coming years because every single product that is developed containing free nanoparticles will have to undergo a toxicological safety assessment.”
George McKerr of the University of Ulster adds, “Our research into neural repair and regeneration will benefit greatly from the tomographic capabilities of the Tecnai TEM and our collaborative work with Unilever Research has exciting opportunities ahead in the full deployment of the unique capabilities of environmental SEM. This venture also has a window onto all the advanced work that we do with optical microscopy techniques and we look forward to fuller integration.”