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Businesses give Plymouth University their thoughts on the potential new investment

Engineers from 17 south west companies from sectors as diverse as photonics, anaerobic digestion, mineralogy, aerospace and precision bearing engineering, who already use Plymouth University’s Electron Microscopy Centre (PEMC) gathered on campus this week to find out about the latest in EM instrumentation developments and the benefits to their business.

A leading manufacturer of electron optical systems, TESCAN, visited Plymouth for the day to introduce both academic and industry users to the wonders of the new FIB-SEM (focussed ion beam scanning electron microscope). Some companies also brought along their products for analysis using the FIB-SEM, to put the instrumentation to the test.


Immediate feedback from the evening’s delegates included:

  • being able to work with PEMC’s facilities is an extraordinary opportunity” (Barden Bearings Ltd)
  • “very interesting event; the FIB-SEM is a fascinating piece of equipment” (PetroLab Ltd)
  • “very informative session” (New Generation BioGas Ltd)


PEMC was transformed in 2010, with investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) leading to the purchase of three electron microscopes, establishing PEMC as a world-class centre for materials characterisation and analysis, in the south west. Keen to maintain this position, the PEMC team have identified the FIB-SEM as the next step in electron microscopy analysis; invaluable to its range of industrial and academic users. 


Claire Pearce, Project Manager for the PEMC, said: 

“Receiving an injection of funding in 2010 helped Plymouth University to take electron microscopy which is traditionally the reserve of big business, out to small-medium sized companies.  These SMEs can now understand what EM is and how it can make a real difference to their product quality, their R&D and ultimately the company’s bottom line. For all of our users, we want to ensure that PEMC maintains its position as a centre of excellence for materials imaging and analysis”
In addition, the ERDF project did not cover Cornwall, so we are now keen to take EM out to Cornish businesses to ensure that they too can benefit from electron microscopy becoming a practical part of their company.”

Through GAIN, the PEMC team is planning to maximise funding sources to increase the capabilities and capacity of PEMC for its industrial customers – for anyone wanting to find out how their company could use PEMC, please contact PEMC on or call 01752 588908.

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