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Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre (PEMC)

Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre, Brunel Laboratories, Plymouth University, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA
0800 052 5600 or 01752 588908

About us

The PEMC is an established centre of expertise at Plymouth University which has worked with industry for the last 30 years. We provide expert support and access to a wide range of microscopy solutions by producing extremely high magnification images at high resolution.

Thanks to recent investment in the PEMC by Plymouth University, ERDF and JEOL (UK), which saw the purchase of two scanning electron microscopes and one transmission electron microscope, we aim to establish ourselves as a world-class centre of materials characterisation and analysis in Plymouth.

We offer

The ERDF funding also means that eligible companies can use the PEMC for free for at least 12 hours up until March 2015. 

We are continuously updating our equipment and instrumentation to enhance our capability and create new opportunities for collaboration. Our facilities include: 
> Scanning Electron Microscopy (on the JEOL 6610 and JEOL 7001) 
> Transmission Electron Microscopy (JEOL 1400 120kV) 
> X-ray micro-analysis 
> Low-vacuum SEM with large chamber 
> Low-temperature SEM (cryo) 
> Light / optical microscopy 
> Confocal microscopy 
> Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) – Inca Mineral 

The microscopes use sophisticated software to generate various data, from which we can produce detailed, objective reports for clients: 
> Analysis of the properties of a material (e.g. element composition, crystalline structure) 
> Analysis of defects and / or failure(s) in a component 
> Confirmation of a product’s quality / consistency (quality control) 
> Bio-imaging 
> Mineralogical anlaysis and sample characterisation 
> Imaging (e.g. promotional purposes)

Business Benefit: PEMC was asked to test a material for chemical and mechanical properties against similar material that was known to be correct.
"By PEMC being able to capture the mechanical properties and chemistry of the control product vs the questionable material we were able to develop a tight purchasing specification for the end user as part of a continuous improvement program and identified cost savings in time and rectification expense – plus offering greater lifecycle to the end product as the material was more stable and appropriate for its role." Chris Mahn, European Manager, Ed Fagan Europe Ltd

We support

  • Avon
  • Business Support
  • Specialists, Experts, Research
  • People
  • New Business
  • Technology
  • Networks
  • Skills
  • Start-up
  • Cornwall
  • Somerset


With a user group spanning the following, the PEMC provides expert, local access to imaging and analysis instrumentation: 
> Aerospace and aviation 
> Biomedical 
> Electronics and microelectronics 
> Engineering (precision) 
> Food manufacturing (e.g. ice cream makers) 
> Geology and mining 
> Manufacturing 
> Recycling 
> Renewable energy 
> Textiles 
> Planetary science 
> Archaeology and conservation 

This support has resulted in: 
> Improved products and processes 
> Improved quality control 
> Reduction of waste (and therefore cost) 
> New product development (by testing the effect of a process on components made from different materials) 
> Promotional images for web and printed material 

Business Benefit:
“As a cosmetic company committed to scientific research and to the use of natural botanicals we wanted an answer to a burning question: are herbal hair dyes damaging to the hair? To answer this question in an a simple and visual way we chose the powerful and high tech tool that is electron microscopy. 
"Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre (PEMC) happened to have the cutting edge equipment we needed to produce the images of our research samples, so we were delighted to work with them and to receive beautiful and insightful images that gave us the answer. Beautiful and scientific evidence such as the one provided by PEMC is of great value for new product development at Forest Secrets Skincare”  Dr Barbara Olioso, MRSC, Green Chemist at Forest Secrets Skincare 

12 hours of free use of the PEMC until March 2015 for SMEs

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