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USyd opens research facility in analytical science

The facility will be used for x-ray analysis and other areas of analytical science.

The University has launched a new facility, Sydney Analytical, dedicated to analytical science research including spectroscopy, x-ray analysis, chemical characterisation, and training and access for industry.

The facility, unveiled last week, gives researchers access to a range of portable analytical technologies. Some of the key research capabilities include vibrational spectroscopy, x-ray analysis, and magnetic resonance imaging.

On top of access to cutting edge technology, researchers will have access to technical guidance, training courses, and commercial consulting services.

“We’re delighted to officially launch Sydney Analytical and the infrastructure, tools, and technical support that it brings to the University,” said Professor Duncan Ivison, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research.

“Our investment in core research facilities supports our researchers who rely on the most modern equipment to further their findings and stay at the top of their game.”

The coffin of the Egyptian mummy Mer-Neith-ites, from the Nicholson Museum Collection, was one of the first objects analysed using portable instruments from Sydney Analytical.

Researchers used vibrational spectroscopy, a non-destructive method of measuring vibrational energy, to characterise and identify compounds. Micro X-ray fluorescence (XRF), a process that displaces electrons from their orbital position, releasing bursts of energy specific to certain elements, was used to analyse small samples with enhanced resolution.

The new facility has also been put to work informing ongoing investigations into the origins of microplastic pollution in the Sydney Harbour.

Sydney Analytical is now looking to expand its arsenal of research technology with the purchase of the Bruker Artax, portable micro-XRF mapping equipment.

The first of its kind in Australia, the Artax is designed for spectroscopic analysis of rare and valuable objects. The new technology allows for mapping of chemical composition across large objects, including artworks and museum pieces.

Acquiring the Artax will boost the potential of Sydney Analytical to break ground in fields such as geoscience, archaeology, agriculture, and forensic science.