CSEC Equipment and Facilities

CSEC Equipment and Facilities

CSEC facilities are located in the central Erskine Williamson building and in the five participating Schools on the King’s Buildings campus of the University of Edinburgh, and at the Harwell Oxford National Science and Innovation Campus.


Equipment and Facilities in the Erskine Williamson Building


Ground Floor

Astrobiology Laboratory: This lab houses a planetary environment simulation chamber, and a Veeco SPM atomic force microscope system.

Shielded X-ray Laboratory: This interlocked laboratory contains a Bruker-Nonius rotating anode x-ray generator equipped with a 4-circle Huber diffractometer and closed-cycle He refrigerator, and the data analysis suite.

Gas-loading Laboratory: A facility for loading gases under pressure into measurement cells.


First Floor

Sample Preparation Laboratory: This room is equipped as a small, high-quality chemistry research laboratory. It is used for the preparation and loading of non-biological samples for measurements within the building. The laboratory contains fume cupboards for the safe preparation of samples, a nitrogen glovebox for the loading of reactive samples, as well as new and existing cell-loading microscopes and a BETSA spark eroder for drilling gasket holes. It contains extensive benching and the facilities for simple glass blowing. A drench shower is located in the laboratory for safety reasons.

Open X-ray Laboratory: This large laboratory contains a Bruker AXS D8 powder diffractometer which is run as the College Powder Diffraction Facility, and a Bruker APEX-II single-crystal diffractometer equipped with a Helix He-flow cooler capable of cooling samples to 20K. Specialist Laue and energy-dispersive diffraction systems are also located here.

Instrumentation Development Workshop: This small workshop is the core if the CSEC instrumentation development programme. It houses the suite of advanced tools and machines required to fabricate and test new and advanced instrumentation, such as diamond faceting machine, gundrilling, Struers cut-off and polishing machines, low-current welder, high-speed lathe with drilling and milling attachment, etc.

Meeting Room: This small glass-fronted room can accommodate a meeting of up to 10 people.

Raman/IR Laboratory: This lab houses CSEC's Jobin-Yvon Labram and T64000 Raman spectrometers which are equipped with He-Ne (633nm), He-Cd (442nm) and Ar-ion (488/514nm) lasers. The laboratory also houses a Bruker Equinox FTIR system.

Laser Heating Laboratory: This lab houses the double-sided laser heating system for studies of systems at extreme pressure and temperature. This laboratory is also used for thermal conductivity and other measurements requiring the laser heating system. The laboratory is equipped with both 40W CO2 and 50W Nd:YLF lasers.

Cell Loading Laboratory: This room is dedicated to loading of diamond anvil cells and contains optical microscopes, spark eroders for drilling gasket holes, and ancillary equipment.

Materials Preparation Laboratory: This laboratory houses Czochralski systems for growing large single crystals of intermetallic alloys, used for studies of quantum order physics. 

Second Floor

Magnetism Laboratory: The magnetism laboratory is located on the top floor as it requires a 4-metre ceiling height for safe handling of cryogens. This laboratory houses all the equipment concerned with magnetic and transport property measurements. It houses 9 Tesla Physical Properties Measurement Systems (QD PPMS) with electro-transport, vibrating sample magnetometry, heat capacity, 3He low-temperature options and other low-temperature transport measurement equipment. The laboratory also has 7 Tesla  and 1 Tesla Magnetic Property Measurement Systems (QD MPMS) and a Closed Cycle Refrigerator system adapted for a variety of measurements.

Seminar Room: The room is designed to seat 70-75 people and serves a double function. Firstly, it provides a room equipped with advanced Audio-Visual (AV) facilities for regular Centre research seminars and for the hosting of international workshops. Secondly, the advanced AV facilities in this room include those required to conduct Access-Grid meetings and seminars. This facility is crucial to the concept of a linked University/Central Facilities Centre and allows regular video contact to be made between researchers in Edinburgh and at the Harwell Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Reading Room: This room, which is divided from the research seminar/meeting room by a retractable wall, serves as a journal reading room and meeting room for CSEC staff. With the partition retracted, this room increases the capacity of the Research Seminar and Meeting Room to 100.

Access Grid Suite: This room is used for meetings and is equipped with an InSors Access-Grid (AG) facility enabling multi-site meetings with collaborators. The AG system can broadcast to the Seminar room, enabling seminars to be conducted over the AG system.


Equipment and Facilities for CSEC research in the Schools


School of Biological Sciences: The Institute of Structural & Molecular Biology houses X-ray and electron microscopy facilities to study structure and function of large biological assemblies, including those from extremophile organisms.

School of Chemistry: Laboratories are used for synthesis of a range of materials, from molecular magnets to ceramic oxides, and including a 1000 tonne Walker press system for high pressure synthesis. X-ray diffraction and NMR measurements facilities are also available.

School of Engineering: Further workshops for instrumentation development are located here.

School of GeoSciences: Experimental facilities for geochemical studies under high fluid and mechanical pressures and flow studies through porous media are available.

School of Physics and Astronomy:  A floating zone furnace for crystal growth and the computational materials research group are located here.The CSEC Instrumentation Facility also has a laser machining centre and a honing machine, which are appropriately located at the Physics workshop.

CSEC Research at the Harwell Oxford Campus

CSEC researchers based at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory make use of facilities in the Research Complex at Harwell, the ISIS pulsed neutron source, and the Diamond synchrotron light source.