£800k grant from Wolfson Foundation to boost nanoscale capability

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The University of Liverpool’s capability for nanoscale science is to receive a huge boost thanks to an £800k grant from the Wolfson Foundation.

The investment will provide the University with a new state-of-the art instrument that will transform research in critical areas such as advanced surfaces, materials, energy and global health.

The Nano Atomic Force Microscopy−Infrared (nanoAFM-IR) platform has the ability to characterise and correlate the structure, chemistry and properties of matter down to the nanoscale level, providing new insights and understanding of functional interfaces and materials.

Accessing this new tool, the first of its kind in the UK, will create new opportunities for researchers working in surface, interfacial and materials science to push scientific frontiers, address new challenges and unlock new technological innovations.

In addition, the new nanoAFM-IR platform will further enhance industry collaborations and create a world-class national and regional resource.

Professor Rasmita Raval, from the University’s Department of Chemistry, said: “This new state-of-the-art instrument represents a ground-breaking development for research scientists working in advanced surfaces, materials and interfaces.

“For the first time, nanoscale structure-chemistry-performance properties will become accessible, which will be transformational across all our major research themes supporting outputs and driving innovation.”

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive at the Wolfson Foundation, said: “The University of Liverpool has assembled an impressive roster of materials scientists and chemists who are researching and developing the next generation of medical devices, energy storage technologies and antimicrobial surfaces. We are delighted to help them acquire this nanoAFM-IR instrument, which will allow them to understand the interaction of surfaces and materials at nanoscale in exciting and novel ways.”

Professor Raval is Director of the University’s Surface Science Research Centre and the Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces. She is also co-Director of the National Biofilm Innovation Centre.

The new instrument builds on the University’s internationally recognised research strengths in nanoscale surface science and advanced functional materials.

It will support research across existing Centres of Excellence including the Surface Science Research Centre, the Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces, the Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy, the Materials Innovation Factory, the Leverhulme Research Centre for Functional Materials Design and the National Biofilm Innovation Centre.