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The University of Southampton
Southampton Nanoscience Group

Centre and facilities

Nanofabrication Centre

New state-of-the-art nanofabrication facility

The new £55million Mountbatten Building on the Highfield campus is one of Europe’s leading multidisciplinary clean room complexes. It provides flexible research space for world-leading technology development in nanotechnology and photonics for the Southampton Nanofabrication Centre, which is part of the School of Electronics and Computer Science, and the Optoelectronics Research Centre.

The stringent demands of research at the nanoscale necessitate a vibration-free environment which the clean rooms provide. This has been achieved through extensive analysis and modelling before construction began, resulting in an exceptionally thick and stiff concrete frame which ‘designs out’ vibrations.”

The New Mountbatten Building represents a £55 million investment, housing £28 million worth of cutting-edge equipment.
The purpose-built cleanroom covers 820m² and provides a flexible capability and a wide range of cutting edge nano and bio-nano technologies.

Zeiss Helium Ion Microscope
World renown technology company Zeiss have sponsored a state-of-the-art helium ion microscope in the Southampton Nanofabrication Centre.
The Zeiss Orion helium ion microscope uses helium ions for surface imaging and analysis. Its functionality is similar to a scanning electron microscope, but it uses a focused beam of helium ions instead of electrons.
In addition, a new ‘Spectra’ detector has been added to the Zeiss instrument. The detector is the first of its kind to be installed, and measures the energy of the helium ions which bounce off the sample.
As modern nano devices use extremely thin layers of materials, this functionality enables the measurement of the composition of such thin layers.

The Optoelectronics Research Centre

The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) is one of the world’s leading institutes for photonics research based at the University of Southampton.

The ORC was formed in 1989 as an Interdisciplinary Research Centre, merging groups from the Schools of Electronics and Computer Science, and Physics and Astronomy at the University. The Science and Engineering Electron Microscopy Centre

The centre houses strategic research facilities for the microstructural characterisation of materials by high resolution imaging and micro-area chemical analysis. Both scanning and transmission electron microscopes are available. It provides a consultancy service for commercial clients and serves the research community at the University of Southampton and other regional institutions. The facilities are jointly managed by the School of Engineering Sciences and the School of Chemistry.

Nanophotonics Portfolio Centre

Nanomaterials Rapid Prototyping Facility

Real nanodevices with rapid turnaround via rapid prototyping. Competed 2003.

Clean Room facilities


Researchers based in the Centre regularly work with companies in the UK and globally and the facilities are available for commercial projects through collaborative work.

"This magnificent clean room building is unique and world leading in its imaginative vision for the integration of nanoscience, photonics and optical fibre technology.” Professor David Payne, Director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre

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