Having access to high-quality equipment is crucial, and the School has recently invested almost £2 million on a wide range of modern facilities including wet and dry labs, an observatory and our new crime scene house. Our students use industry-standard equipment and work in state-of-the-art surroundings from the very beginning of their studies.

State-of-the-art laboratories

Our newly refurbished labs are well equipped for synthetic and analytical techniques ranging from soft organic polymers to nanoparticles to highly sensitive organometallic species. 

In addition to conventional synthetic laboratories, we have:

  • glove-boxes for both air-sensitive sample storage and preparation
  • Schlenk lines for the handling of highly reactive chemicals
  • a CEM microwave reactor with autosampler for high-temperature microwave-assisted synthetic procedures
  • high-velocity light-gas gun and impact laboratory. 

Our solid state laboratories are equipped with eight ovens and ten furnaces with the capacity to reach 1600°C. The furnaces include three-zone and tube furnaces suitable for chemical vapour transport studies in various atmospheres. 

We have also a brand-new NMR facility, which includes two 400 MHz machines. One of these is a Bruker Neo, the most up-to-date instrument on the market, which currently is installed in just three universities in the UK. 

Students at work in chemistry lab

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Crime scene house

Our latest investment provides our Forensic Science students with the opportunity to find out what is involved in working at a crime scene. West Oast House is a bespoke on-campus training facility where students put their academic studies into practice and develop transferable skills.

Within the house, the rooms provide crime scene simulations for scenarios such as burglary, domestic assault and suspicious death. Outside, the extensive gardens provide a different environment for students to undertake the mapping and triangulation of evidence, and consideration of buried remains. They experience the challenges of searching and documenting different evidence types in the open air.

The realistic scenarios we create help our students to develop their approaches to evidence recording and preservation, and to appreciate the importance of persistence. Extensive use of these practical sessions helps to prepare our students for the diverse nature of crime scenes they may encounter in their future careers and to develop many transferable skills for the future.

Beacon Observatory

The Beacon Observatory provides a fully automised system with both optical telescope and radio telescope capability. It includes a 17" astrograph from Plane Wave Instruments with a 4k x 4k CCD and a BVRIH-alpha filter set, as well as a 90-frames-per-second camera. The new facility is motorised and connected to the internet, meaning that observations can be carried out remotely. 

The observatory is extremely valuable for our students and staff, and we are pleased to welcome the local schools, interested local amateur astronomy groups and members of the public who also make use of this facility.

Business services

Our facilities are available for use by researchers or industry and we are always keen to hear about potential collaborative projects with industrial partners. We also provide consultancy services to businesses. Contact Stuart Gibson to learn more. 

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