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Multiscale characterisation of complex materials

We are using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) to map 3D geometry. The technologies contribute to predictive models in a range of industrial, academic and health applications.

Project leader

Dr Jinju Chen






Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has a very high resolution of fractions of a nanometre. It is used across a wide range of natural science applications, from solid state physics to molecular biology.

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) captures micrometre-resolution images. It captures images from within optical scattering media such as biological tissue. It is used for medical imaging and industrial nondestructive testing (NDT)..

Together with the existing facilities at Newcastle, these technologies can map 3D geometry. They can carry out mechanical characterisation from sub-nanometre to millimetre scale. They allow us to study properties of soft matter. We can investigate disease progression at subcellular, cellular and tissue levels. Thus, we can devise effective diagnosis techniques and treatment strategies.

They can also provide datasets for predictive models in healthcare and water engineering. The multiscale quantitative measurement underpins a range of academic and industrial projects, including:

  • marine biofilms
  • biological wastewater treatment
  • biofilm infections
  • tissue engineering
  • cancer research