New research facility to analyse a nano-world

Thursday, 7 February 2008

A new South Australian research facility being launched today will help researchers around Australia view, analyse and modify structures as small as one-millionth of the diameter of a human hair.

Science and Information Economy Minister the Hon. Paul Caica will launch the South Australian Regional Facility for Microscopy and Microanalysis (SARF) as part of a national network of microscopy and microanalysis research infrastructure and expertise.

Minister Caica will also launch SARF's first new flagship instrument, an Ultra High Resolution Dual Beam Instrument. The $3.5 million combination focused ion beam scanning electronic microscope is the only one of its kind installed in the Southern Hemisphere and gives researchers the ability to look at the tiniest parts making up the structure of materials - at smaller than nanometre level. It can, for example, allow researchers to 'see' a human brain cell in three dimensions.

SARF Director Professor Hans Griesser said: "This new research facility, and the national network, will help Australian researchers compete internationally. The national network is truly world-class in the instrumentation and expertise it offers researchers. Microscopy and microanalysis are enabling technologies, and this facility will help Australian researchers do cutting-edge research in a broad range of disciplines with application across industries like defence, health, biotechnology, mining, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals."

SARF will be the South Australian node of the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility (AMMRF), created under the Federal Government's National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).

SARF is a collaboration between South Australia's three universities, the Ian Wark Research Institute at the University of South Australia, Flinders University's School of Chemistry, Physics and Earth Sciences, and the University of Adelaide's Adelaide Microscopy. SARF is funded by the Federal and State Governments and the universities.

The launch will be held at 11am, Thursday 7 February, at the University of Adelaide's Adelaide Microscopy in the Medical School North building on Frome Road.

Minister Paul Caica will launch the new facility by using an ion beam from the new dual beam instrument to inscribe the whole launch commemorative plaque (about 30 words) onto a pair of cufflinks. The whole plaque will be inscribed in an area 15 microns in diameter (1 micron = one-thousandth of a millimetre). The State Government logo will take the place of the dot above the 'i' in Minister Caica's name.


Contact Details

Professor Hans Griesser
SA Regional Facility for Microscopy and Microanalysis (SARF)
Business: 8302 3703

John Terlet
Adelaide Microscopy
University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 4078
Mobile: 0414 859 749

Ms Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084