Name of the infrastructure: UNIVLEEDS-TA

Location (town, country): Leeds, UK

Web site address: www.particlescic.com; www.nanotechnology.leeds.ac.uk; nmi.leeds.ac.uk; www.engineering.leeds.ac.uk/imr/lemas/index.shtml

Legal name of organisation operating the infrastructure: University of Leeds

Location of organisation (town, country): Leeds, UK


Description of the Infrastructure


The University of Leeds is the second largest university in the UK and isinternationally recognized for its pre-eminence in nanotechnology research and teaching. Over 200 academicstaff are engaged in research in nanoscience and nanotechnology based in departments rated 5 and 5* in thelast Research Assessment Exercise, which is the highest possible rating and denotes research of internationalstanding. At any one time, over 120 PhD students from all over the world are studying at Leeds in the field ofnanotechnology. Most of the university's research programmes are collaborative within the university, drawingupon the expertise and infrastructure available across a number of departments. The university also collaborateswidely with research groups and industry in the UK and internationally. Its research activities inform our manynanotechnology undergraduate and graduate programmes, which include 3 undergraduate degree courses, and6 MSc programmes.

The annual research income of UNIVLEEDS is more than million (2007/08), 8.25% of which being from EUawards.


Principal centres contributing to the UNIVLEEDS infrastructure offer are:

Particles Centre for Industrial Collaboration (PCIC). An internationally-leading and self-sustaining knowledgetransfer unit involving 6 sTAf with >m EKT expenditure for nanoparticle sourcing, synthesis, processing andbasic characterization of size and dispersion characteristics.


Leeds Electron Microscopy and Spectroscopy Centre (LEMAS). An internationally renowned research centrein Microscopic and Spectroscopic Characterization of solid materials. LEMAS’ focus is to develop and underpinmaterials characterization techniques across the University of Leeds and to also offer external services to otherresearch institutions and industry.


Leeds Nano Equipment Facility (LENNF). A jointly funded EPSRC/University of Leeds facility, providingexternal EPSRC-eligible funded researchers free access at point of use, to a wide range of state-of-the-artinstrumentation for both characterisation and structural and device fabrication, including: electron microscopy;scanning probe microscopy; lithography and clean room facilities; surface analysis; and, specialist facilities,specializing in both inorganic and hybrid inorganic/organic nanosystems.


NanoManufacturing Institute (NMi). Is the leading European centre for research into the nanomanufacturing ofhigh volume consumer products. An interdisciplinary research institute it draws upon the University of Leeds'substantial science base in nanotechnology, undertaking fundamental and applied research focusing on theproblems of scale-up and high throughput manufacturing of nano-enabled consumer products, and the use ofnanomaterials in products primarily in the pharmaceutical, chemical, energy, food packaging, textiles, personaland household goods and related sectors.


All centres provide appropriate academic and technical expertise.



UNIVLEEDS will be offering access to particle characterisation in the project as follows:


Particle characterisation:

Analytical and imaging facilities – LENNF/LEMAS/PCIC: UNIVLEEDS-TA maintains a wide range of analyticalcentres, with dedicated dry and wet-chemical facilities with fume cupboards and glove boxes, includingstate-of-the-art particle characterisation [DLS, Zeta potential, Surface area etc], electron and atomic forcemicroscopy [FEGSTEM, AFM, SPM etc], X-ray diffraction, spectroscopy [Raman, IR, ICPMS etc], and chemicalanalysis. A comprehensive listing of the equipment provided by UNIVLEEDS-TA is provided in Appendix 2 of Part B of the DoW. The facilities are unique and connected through our on-going nanomaterial and nanoparticleresearch projects. All of the techniques are supported technically and academically with expert users availablefor advice and guidance. Although Users will access a wide range of analytical techniques during their visit,it is likely that many will focus their research around a small number of facilities, such as electron microscopyand particle characterisation, or electron optics and Molecular and Nanoscale Physics Group [LENNF facility].However, Users who wish to focus all of their attention on one technique [e.g. DLS/Zeta potential] to optimisemeasurement protocols will also be welcome. To ensure an appropriate research experience, and to drivecollaboration, visitors will be encouraged to present their work via seminars and to interact as widely as possiblewith the multidisciplinary teams at UNIVLEEDS.


Research supported by the infrastructure

Particle Characterisation In Situ & Ex Situ:

The following characterisation techniques are offered to characterise the nanoparticles regarding surfacearea, Particle Size Distribution (PSD) and crystallinity of dried powders using: BET, DLS, X-Ray Diffraction(XRD), Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetry (TG), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). The long-term stability of the particles can also be determinedusing the ζ- potential of the suspensions measured using a range of techniques. In addition to studying thephysico-chemical properties and reactivity of nanoparticles prior to dosing in in vitro toxicity testing protocols,studies will also be made on dispersion, aggregation, solubility and dissolution characteristics of the particlesin media for mammalian test systems, e.g. cell culture media (both serum and serum-free), phosphate bufferedsaline solutions; and, artificial fresh and sea waters used in environmental test systems. Nanoparticles takenin by cells and organisms during test treatments will also be re-characterised to evaluate whether biologicalsystems have modified the original particles in any way. Standard operating procedures to produce consistentdilutions and dose-response curves for particles exposed in toxicity testing systems will be established.The continuing problem of the tendency of nanoparticles to aggregate will be investigated and addressedusing suitable, minimal stabilization mechanisms for each nanoparticle produced within the InfraNanoSafeEUConsortium. The approaches to be evaluated include steric and electrosteric stabilization with appropriatemolecules and ions. Appropriate molecules which do not in themselves cause toxicity to biological systems andorganisms will be investigated.


Services currently on offer and scientific highlights

Particle Characterisation In Situ & Ex Situ

UNIVLEEDS-TA offers access to all the UNIVLEEDS analytical facilities detailed in the Annex below. Thesegenerate an outstanding and stimulating research environment. As the facilities are based across severalfaculties, this provides a unique opportunity for users to collaborate with, and experience a breadth of expertisein Physics, Chemistry, Engineering that is unique. This unique experience of the interdisciplinary culture atUNIVLEEDS is evidenced by the success of our NanoManufacturing Institute, which is multidisciplinary, crosscampus institute that is highly active in EU projects. All of the equipment listed in Appendix 2 of Part B of theDoW are located in fully resourced dedicated facilities that provide an academic and professional researchenvironment. This consistent quality is evidenced by the recent award by the UK national funding body, EPSRC to create LENNF [free access to nano facilities for UK researchers] and PCIC being award sole UK independentlaboratory status by Malvern Instruments Ltd for particle sizing, shape analysis, zeta potential and rheology. Allusers of the facilities will be provided with expert help and advice to optimise their visit, maximise the analyticalservices used and to provide the best data interpretation possible.