The project uses a wide range of specialist equipment and facilities for processing and characterising materials and the effects of radiation damage. Two substantial pieces of equipment have been purchased especially for the project: the Zeiss Auriga focussed ion beam machining system, and the Micromaterials temperature-controlled nano-test system. The project also makes extensive use of existing equipment at Oxford University and elsewhere. These pages link to further information about the facilities and their role in the project.

Indentation Systems:

Custom built hot microhardness indentation system (affectionately called Nellie). This is capable of indenting, in vacuum, up to ~1500° C, with a load range 50g-1kg.

MTS Nanoindenter XP with a load resolution of ~10nN, displacement resolution of ~0.01 nm. The nanopositoning stage allows us to perform pseudo-AFM scanning in order to place indents in locations with a precision of ~10nm x 10nm

A high temperature nanoindentation system by Micromaterials limited has recently (Feb 2012) been commisioned

Mechanical Testing:

We have an large mechanical test lab with a variety of load-frames, jigs and load cells. These include 2x servo-hydraulic frames and 6x screw-thread frames.

For use with these frames, we have a variety of furnaces and cooling rigs to perform tests over the temperature range -196°C to 1500°C.

We also have access to a 4MP/12 bit greyscale camera with inspection microscope for observing tests in-situ and in order to perform post-test digital image correlation.

Electron Microscopy:

The MFFP group has exclusive use of a Zeiss Auriga FIB/FEG-SEM dual beam system, with in-situ deposition, lift out and nano patterning engine.

We also make use of these instruments within the EM facility in the Oxford Materials Department:


JEOL 6500 (FEG) with EBSD and EDX (OIM and Genesis from TSL/EDAX).

JEOL 6300 (tungsten filament) with EBSD (OIM from TSL/EDAX) and EDX (Inca from Oxford Instruments).

JEOL 840F (FEG) for imaging only.


FEI 200 single beam focused ion beam system, with insitu deposition of Pt and ex-situ liftout facilities.

Zeiss NVision FIB/FEG-SEM dual beam system, with in-situ deposition and lift out facilities.


JEOL 2000 (tungsten filament) with EDX (Inca from Oxford Instruments), digital and analogue camera systems. 

Philips CM20 (tungsten filament) with nanobeam diffraction, convergent beam diffraction and EDX capabilities.

Atom Probe:

Some aspects of the project uses the instruments in the atom-probe laboratory for analysis of microstructures (especially of ODS alloys), the effects of radiation damage on local chemistry, and location of helium implanted to mimic effects of transmutation.

A LEAP™ 3000X HR with mass resolution 1000 FWHM, 500 FWTM and field-of-view up to 200nm diameter;

A 3DAP™-LAR with mass resolution 1000 FWHM, 500 FWTM, 200 FWHM and field-of-view up to 100nm x 100nm.


The production of our own alloys (tungsten-based and oxide-dispersion-strengthed (ODS) steels) is a core aspect of the project, allowing us full control of the materials in which we investigate the effects of radiation damage.

ODS alloys are made in the processing group's facilities at the University's Begbroke Site, using ball mills for mechanical alloying of powders and a hot-press for consolidation.

Tungsten alloys are made by arc-melting on the main site.


We have access to an extensive set of standard polishing and grinding equipment in the Oxford/Kemet lab, established in 2010. This includes a cut-off saw, slow saw, 2x grinding wheels, 2x polishing wheels, 4x polishing wheels with automated heads, vacuum impregnation and hot specimen mounting. In this lab, we also have a hot bench and a standard metallurgical microscope.

In one of other labs, we have a Zeiss AxioScope with a 5MP/8bit colour camera and associated Nikon digital imaging system for recording high quality optical micrographs. This microscope is also capable of various imaging modes, including polarised light microscopy.

Furnace Room/Workshop:

Within the Department of Materials, we make use of a central workshop and furnace room for bespoke kit and sample manufacture. In this facility we have recently designed and built a new high-vacuum furnace (20-1300°C).