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Williamson Research Centre

RADER Facility

RADER is the National Nuclear User Facility for RADioactive waste management and Environmental Remediation. It includes a range of analysis and experimental equipment from leading manufacturers, for analysis of active environmental samples.

Radionuclide biogeochemistry labs

RADER included several radiochemistry laboratories designed for research into molecular scale understanding of the behaviour of radionuclides in natural and engineered environments. Work includes fundamental radionuclide biogeochemistry with a range of actinides and fission products. This work is also applied to contaminated land remediation and geological disposal of radioactive wastes.

Facilities include a fully licensed radiochemistry lab for use of isotopes and the ability to manipulate radioactive samples (minerals, biomass) under controlled conditions. The laboratories complement the work carried out in the Molecular Ecology, Geomicrobiology and Environmental Mineralogy Labs in DEES.

Facilities include:

  • Radiochemistry lab
  • Thorium, natural/depleted uranium lab
  • Sample preparation lab
  • Wet chemistry laboratory
  • Kinetics, column laboratory
  • Counting laboratory (housing: liquid scintillation counter, alpha and gamma spectrometers and an Amersham Typhoon autoradiography instrument)
  • Instrument laboratory (housing: XRD, FT-IR, NIR-UV-Vis spectrophotometer, BET surface area, NTA particle size/distribution, DLS particle size/distribution and zeta potential, low particulate (<0.02 nm) ultra pure water system)
  • Coy anaerobic cabinets with CO2 control
  • Isocratic / reciprocating pumps for flow-through column experiments
  • Self-contained chemostats/bioreactors
  • Fume cupboards
  • -80 °C Freezers
  • Incubators (static/orbital)
  • UV/vis spectrophotometers
  • Centrifuges/microfuges
  • Autoclave
  • pH/Eh meters
  • High purity water
  • Ovens/furnaces

Brucker D2 X-ray diffraction (XRD)

D2 PHASER XE-T edition. The energy resolution of <380 eV allows a unique, digital monochromator mode to efficiently remove - unwanted radiation, such as sample fluorescence, - K - beta radiation, and Bremsstrahlung - background scattering, without meaningful losses in detection speed. A six-sample changer allows for sample batches to be analysed efficiently.

Micromeritics Gemini VII for BET surface area (BET)

The Gemini 2390a Surface Area Analyser measures the surface area of samples by making use of the Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) theory. Granulated or powdered samples are first purged of adsorbed water by heating under a vacuum, using a Micromeritics VacPrep 061.

The purged samples are then evacuated and cooled using liquid nitrogen, before nitrogen gas is admitted to the sample vial and an identical empty vial. A differential pressure transducer measures the imbalance in pressure between the sample and blank vials, caused by the adsorption of gas onto the sample surface.

The system uses this data to calculate the number of molecules of nitrogen required to form a monolayer on the sample surface and, since the molecular dimension of nitrogen are known, calculates the surface area of the sample in square metres per gram.

Malvern NanoSight NS300 nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA)

The NanoSight uses the technology of Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA). This uses the properties of both light scattering and Brownian motion in order to obtain the size distribution and concentration measurement of particles in liquid suspension.

A laser beam is passed through the sample chamber, and the particles in suspension in the path of this beam scatter light in such a manner that they can easily be visualized via 20x magnification microscope onto which is mounted a camera. The instrument provides an easy-to-use, reproducible platform for nanoparticle characterization and allows rapid analysis of the size distribution and concentration of all types of nanoparticles from 0.01 - 1 µm in diameter, depending on the instrument configuration and sample type.

A syringe pump unit enhances sample stability during measurement.

Malvern Zetasizer Ultra, dynamic light scattering (DLS) and zeta potential

The Zetasizer Ultra is a cutting edge combined DLS and ELS system, incorporating Non-Invasive Back Scatter (NIBS) and Multi-Angle Dynamic Light Scattering (MADLS) technology for the measurement of particle and molecular size. NIBS provides the versatility and sensitivity to measure over a wide concentration range, while MADLS permits a higher resolution view into sample’s size distribution.

An extension to MADLS on our Zetasizer Ultra Red Label gives the ability to directly analyse particle concentration over an extended size range. Other features of our system:

  • Electrophoretic Light Scattering (ELS) measures the zeta potential of particles and molecules, indicating sample stability and/or propensity to aggregate.
  • Simple, per-peak concentration / titre measurements
  • Disposable capillary sizing cell providing non-destructive, low volume (down to 3 µL) analysis, with an upper size range that extends to 10 μm
  • M3-PALS with Constant Current Mode for zeta potential and electrophoretic mobility measurements
  • Additional MPT-3 Autotitrator enables study of the effect of changes in pH – complete with degassing module for gas free titre fluids

Brucker Invenio-S Fourier Transform Infra-red (FT-IR) spectroscopy

FT-IR with diamond ATR option for routine analysis. For advance analysis we have additional flow cells options for the ARC cell and detection can be easily switched to a liquid nitrogen cooled detector for higher sensitivity.

Agilent Cary 5000 NIR-UV-Vis spectroscopy

A high-performance UV-Vis and NIR spectrophotometer operating in the 175–3300 nm range, using a PbSmart detector. The large sample compartment can be expanded to hold large accessories and integrating spheres for spectral and diffuse reflectance, for advanced research requirements.

Hidex 600SL ultra low-level liquid scintillation counter (LSC)

The Hidex 600 SL uses triple to double coincidence ratio (TDCR) counting for absolute activity counting without external radioactive source. Includes temperature control for sample stability and alpha/beta separation options. The system has a 200 sample capacity for standard 20 mL vials and 500 for small scintillation vials.

Ortec Alpha Ensemble alpha spectroscopy

Multi (8) chamber bench-top alpha spectrometer. Each alpha spectroscopy module includes a vacuum gauge, variable detector bias supply (switchable positive or negative), preamplifier, test pulse generator with variable amplitude, self-controlled RCAP (recoil protection), and a leakage current monitor. Each expansion module has a separate vacuum control within the software.

Ortec gamma spectroscopy

Heavily shielded gamma (HPGe) counter with Mobius Recycler Dewar N2 cooling system

Cytiva Amersham Typhoon autoradiography

The Typhoon laser-scanner platform for versatile imaging and precise quantitation of fluorescent, colorimetric, and radiolabelled nucleic acids and proteins. It supports multiple sample types (imaging plates, gels, plates, tissue slides, membranes) — from narrow to very large samples.

We have a range of imaging plate sizes available, in addition to the Amersham Eraser for erasing storage phosphor screens.

Aqueous analysis. ICPMS and Ion Chromatography

Two RADER instruments for aqueous analysis are housed within the MAGU facility. Samples are booked through RADER to ensure adequate pre-screening for rad safety.

  • A Agilent 8900 Triple Quadrupole ICP-MS for analysis of metals in aqueous solution.
  • A ThermoScientific Dionex ICS-6000 Capillary High Pressure Ion-Chromatography (HPIC) Systems for analysis of organic acids and inorganic anions in diverse and complex sample matrixes. This has the option to couple to a ISQ EC Single Quad Mass Spectrometer.