Department of Materials


Loughborough Materials Characterisation Centre

The Loughborough Materials Characterisation Centre (LMCC) is located within the Materials Department of Loughborough University. The purpose of the centre is to provide a high quality materials characterisation facility to support research within Loughborough University, the wider academic community and for industrial clients.

The centre has a wide range of analytical techniques, some of which have capabilities unique within the UK. The main areas of expertise are Electron and Optical Microscopy, Surface Analysis, X-Ray Diffraction and Thermal Analysis. The facilities are supported by a team of specialists who enable researchers to gain the maximum benefits from the instrumentation.

The LMCC not only makes use of sophisticated analytical techniques but continues to develop new methods and capabilities. It has worked with leading instrument manufacturers to help them improve their products and shift the boundaries in materials analysis.

360 degree views of a selection of our equipment

Activities we address include but are not limited to

Surface Analysis

  • Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)
  • Auger Electron Microscopy (AES)
  • X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS)
  • Micro X-ray Fluorescence (µXRF)

Electron Microscopy

  • Field Emission Gun Scanning Electron Microscopy (FEGSEM)
  • Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)
  • Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM)
  • Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD)
  • Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS)
  • Focused Ion Beam (FIB)

Optical Microscopy

  • Brightfield Microscopy
  • Darkfield Microscopy
  • Differential Interference Contrast (DIC) Microscopy
  • Phase Contrast Microscopy
  • Polarised Light Microscopy

Thermal Analysis

  • Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA)
  • Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)
  • Dilatometry
  • Thermomechanical Analysis (TMA)

Mechanical Testing

  • Automated Micro Hardness Testing
  • Hardness mapping

Sample Preparation

  • Gold Sputter Coater
  • Ion Milling for EBSD analysis
  • Mechanical Polishing
  • Plasma Cleaner
  • TEM Carbon Extraction Replicas
  • Site Specific TEM Samples Produced using a FIB
  • TEM Samples produced using Ion Milling
  • TEM Thin Foil Samples
  • Vibratory Polishing for EBSD analysis

More about us

TEM In-situ heating to replicate service conditions

An investigation to examine the effectiveness of new technology to allow the in-situ heating of samples within the closed environment of a TEM. The in-situ investigation for bulk materials was enabled by focussed ion beam sample preparation. Site specific TEM samples are produced and transferred onto a heating chip using our in-house FEI Nanolab FIB. The chip allows for heating up to 1300°C with heating and quenching rate 200°C/millisecond.

The microstructure of the material can be studied in real time as it is being heated or cooled, even thermal cycles can be simulated at a fast rate. This new development allows us to study dislocations and precipitation/dissolution of second phases as a function of temperature to name a couple of examples.

Read more about this case study »

TEM In-situ heating to replicate service conditions

In-situ micro bend testing of SiC and the effects of Ga+ ion damage

The Young's modulus of 6H single crystal silicon carbide (SiC) was tested with micro cantilevers that had a range of cross-sectional dimensions with surfaces cleaned under different accelerating voltages of Ga+ beam. A clear size effect is seen with Young's modulus decreasing as the cross-sectional area reduces. One of the possible reasons for such size effect is the Ga+ induced damage on all surfaces of the cantilever. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to analyse the degree of damage, and the measurements of damage is compared to predictions by SRIM irradiation simulation

Read more about this case study »

In-situ micro bend testing of SiC and the effects of Ga+ ion damage

The LMCC team:

General enquiries to the characterisation centre:

Loughborough Materials Characterisation Centre
Department of Materials
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

Tel: +44 (0) 1509 223387
Campus map location »

Scott Doak
Tel: +44 (0) 1509 223314

External Enquiries & Quotations
Ryan MacLachlan
Tel: +44 (0) 1509 228574