Loughborough Materials Characterisation Centre (LMCC) are now offering a VirtualNanoLab service.

Investing in advanced characterisation equipment and running this equipment can be very costly to a business. The aim of this service is to provide companies with a cost-effective solution for accessing world class advanced characterisation in a timely manner. Outsourcing work no longer means you are not involved, our VirtualNanoLab service provides the ability for your staff to be involved with every session remotely.


PFIB lab with researchers
One of the labs included in the VirtualNanoLab service

Our Plans

We have a range of plans to suit the needs of your business. Our micro plan provides you with the opportunity to access £2M of equipment with a five-day turnaround time. Our atomic plan allows you to access £5M of equipment with a two-day turnaround time that allows you to study materials down to the atomic level. Plans can be customised to suit the needs of your business.

Our Micro Plan

Our micro plan is by no means 'micro'. You gain access to approximately £2M of characterisation equipment including a number of field emission gun scanning electron microscopes (SEM's). All our SEMS are equipped with EDS and EBSD capability.

One of the key advantages of the scheme is that we have duplicate system FEGSEMS available so we can always ensure we have at least one system operational. A monthly cost of £1,995 allows you to extend the capability of your lab at the fraction of the price of purchasing, running the equipment and employing highly skilled staff to operate the instruments.

Additional Benefits

* Tours for prospective clients * Ability to be trained on equipment

Monthly Hours

20 hrs

Turn Around Time

5 Working Days

Monthly Cost


* All prices exclude VAT

Our Nano Plan

Our nano plan allows you to extend the capability of your laboratory beyond the typical capabilities commonly found within industry. Providing you with a competitive edge over your potential competitors. You will gain access to approximately £4M of characterisation equipment, including scanning electron microscopes (SEM's), focussed ion beam (FIB) and a transmission electron microscope (TEM).

A monthly cost of £2,495 allows you to extend the capability of your laboratory at the fraction of the price of purchasing and running the equipment on your own site. This plan is extremly competitive, for example the typical annual servicing cost of a TEM is higher than the total annual cost of the plan!

Additional Benefits

* Reserve one regular weekly slot * Plus micro plan benefits

Monthly Hours

20 hrs

Turn Around Time

5 Working Days

Monthly Cost


* All prices exclude VAT

Our Atomic Plan

Our atomic plan provides companies with a rapid turnaround service in addition to an increased number of monthly hours. In addition to this, we will also provide a bespoke short course in respect of electron microscopy for up to four delegates (normally £7,950).

LMCC is an extremly well-equipped characterisation centre and therefore we have duplicate systems available, so we can ensure we will always have a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and focussed ion beam (FIB) operational. We can provide a guaranteed turnaround time of 48 hrs for all SEM and FIB work. 

A monthly cost of £4,995 allows you to extend the capability of your laboratory at a fraction of the price of purchasing. It also provides you with a rapid turnaround time to ensure you have an edge over your competitors and you can also keep your clients happy when you experience quality issues. 

Our Rapid Service Plan

Turn Around Time

48 hrs #

Additional Benefits

A bespoke 3 day electron microscopy course for four delegates

Monthly Hours

40 hrs


Nano Plan

Monthly Cost


* All prices exclude VAT, #TEM analysis not guaranteed 

Increase Your Companies Productivity

We now live in a world where all companies need to be highly productive and streamline their business. The days of technical staff travelling a number of hours to witness an experimental session is no longer required. Our remote capability provides the ability for your staff to view the instruments’ interface and be involved with the data acquisition process from your office. It is also a highly efficient way of working as you no longer need to travel to the lab to be involved in the session.

This new approach also allows data to be obtained correctly the first time whilst also increasing the efficiency of your business – we have found that this capability is extremly useful to clients.  When carrying out remote sessions the client does not need to be present for the full session, for example, with site specific TEM sample preparation, it may be useful to have one of your staff on a session for the first 15 minutes to help locate the area required - increasing the efficiency of your business. 

Can we reduce your company’s overheads?

Compare the Cost of the VirtualNanoLab with the cost of Running Your Own Equipment

The costings below show the potential cost benefit analysis to your company. The costings show two scenarios; one where you already have a lab, but the equipment is ageing or where your company is looking to invest in new equipment.  

The costings show that if your business has an electron microscope which has lower than 25% utilisation then the scheme could provide your business with cost savings. Another key benefit is that you would be able to increase your capability by accessing more characterisation equipment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum term of the plan?

The minimum term of the VirtualNanoLab is 12 months. This can be paid quarterly or monthly depending on your company’s preference.

What happens if I exceed the number of monthly hours on the plan?

If you exceed the number of hours on the monthly plan. There is an hourly additional charge for each piece of equipment. This rate is significantly cheaper than our standard consultancy rates. The additional charges will be added onto your quarterly or monthly invoice.

Is it possible to have a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in place?

We would be more than happy to arrange for an NDA to be put in place at the start of the contract. Data confidentiality is a high priority at the centre; your data will not be stored on the instruments and we have a separate data storage system which has access control at the heart of the system.

Is it possible to rollover the hours to the next month?

No unfortunately it is not possible to roll over any unused hours to the next calendar month. We do however understand that the needs of every business are different and we always try to provide flexibility to our customers. For this reason, we provide the ability to roll over the hours in one calendar month per 12 months contract.

Talk to us

We have a proven track record of collaborating with industry to provide state of the art characterisation. Please do not hesitate to get in touch and we will be more than happy to talk through the options with you.

01509 228574