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Photon Science Institute

Close-up of equipment with red light on the inside of silver metal


The Photon Science Institute provides comprehensive photonic characterisation capability to researchers.

Key capability

Imaging and characterisation techniques that form part of the infrastructure and research base include:

  • Ambient XPS
  • Electron microscopy
  • Electron paramagnetic resonance
  • Laser materials processing
  • Optical spectroscopy
  • Raman spectroscopy and imaging
  • X-ray imaging

The PSI delivers X-ray through to THz spectroscopy, imaging and characterisation of advanced materials and devices on timescales down to femtoseconds, at temperatures down to 1.2K and at magnetic fields up to 7T.

Additionally, we have invested in key basic facilities which allow immediate exploitation of our laser sources through UV-VIS-NIR absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy, high spatial resolution fluorescence and triple raman / photoluminescence spectroscopy.

These are accompanied by the necessary sample and device processing facilities including a cleanroom for lithography and an inert atmosphere glovebox-based materials deposition suite.

We also host ultramodern capability that includes the CUSTOM, P-NAME, and XPS facilities described in detail below.

Cryogenic Ultrafast Scattering-type Terahertz-probe Optical-pump Microscopy (CUSTOM)

CUSTOM is a national facility for advanced nanoscale material characterisation and will provide the 'missing tool' required to conduct simultaneous imaging and spectroscopy at 3 extremes: ultrafast (<1ps) timescales, nanoscale (<30nm) length scales, and low temperatures (<10K).

By combining ultrafast THz and mid infrared (MIR) spectroscopy with cryogenic scattering-type near-field optical microscopy, this facility will provide an exclusive tomographic tool that allows surface-sensitive, non-destructive optoelectronic characterisation of individual nanomaterials over a temperature range of 4.2-300K.

Hard X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (HAXPES)

The Hard X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy allows for the non-destructive measurement of the bulk chemical and electronic environment and depth-profiling from the surface into the bulk of a material up to depths of around 100 nm.

Previously only available at synchrotron radiation sources (such as I09 beamline at Diamond LS), this has been made possible by new technologies in lab-based hard X-ray sources with 1000 times more flux.

Platform for Nanoscale Advanced Materials Engineering (P-NAME)

The P-NAME facility provides the ability to create materials in which highly localised atomic doping is engineered to introduce novel functionality, delivering the ability to perform electronic, optical and magnetic doping of advanced materials with sub 20nm precision.

It enable the versatility to image, dope and pattern crystalline and amorphous materials with multiple ion species at high spatial resolution at ion energies and doping levels sufficient to locally engineer existing and synthesise new materials, setting it apart as a new tool for advanced materials and devices engineering.