NanoKTN helps secure £3.2m funding for X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy facility

30 May 2012

The Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network has helped one of its members, nanoLAB at Newcastle University, secure £3.2 million to establish NEXUS, the leading EPSRC X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) training and research facility.

Project Leader, Professor Peter Cumpson, believes support and advice offered by the NanoKTN throughout the application process played an integral part in securing the funding and encourages UK academics and businesses to take advantage of the NanoKTN’s free membership and wealth of knowledge.

NEXUS, which started operation in May 2011 in nanoLAB near Newcastle city centre, is one of a series of "mid-range facilities" funded by EPSRC for access by UK-based academics, comprising a high-tech suite of XPS and associated facilities for open-access use.

NEXUS provides the widest range of associated equipment and facilities in support of XPS, one of the principal methods of probing the composition and electronic structure of surfaces. XPS has an increasing number of research applications, already being seen in the UK, including electronics, novel materials and biomaterials, surface chemistry and functionalisation and tribology.

Throughout the planning and application process, Project Leader, Professor Peter Cumpson, worked closely with the NanoKTN Theme Manager Dr James Johnstone, who provided advice and guidance integral to securing funding from the EPSRC. By actively engaging with the NanoKTN, Professor Cumpson had access to invaluable information about the UK market, its requirements, and the demands of different sectors, enabling him to put together the successful funding proposal.

“Dr Johnstone’s wealth of knowledge was invaluable to us whilst putting together the funding application for the NEXUS facility. He not only provided key information about the current market but also put me in contact with potential academic users and partners, information I would just not have access to without his support,” explains Professor Cumpson.

Prof Cumpson continues, “Being a member of the NanoKTN was a huge benefit to us when entering a new market and looking for potential users for the NEXUS facility. Attending events has enabled us to connect with companies and individuals with similar interests, as well as providing us with up-to-date relevant information on the market.”

The NanoKTN’s primary aim is to encourage and support UK organisations to collaborate and share knowledge with key partners in attractive end user markets to achieve growth of the UK micro and nanotechnology sector.

“The EPSRC NEXUS facility is an important new addition to the UK’s nanometrology capability. It helps provide easy access to advanced quantified surface analysis equipment and expertise that is both established for routine analysis and bespoke investigations,” says Dr James Johnstone, Theme Manager at the NanoKTN.

Dr Johnstone continues, “The NanoKTN is proud to support this by linking and connecting UK SMEs who may require its capability to find answers to very difficult problems for a wide range of industries such as electronics, catalysis, healthcare and materials. Few techniques can provide such robust answers.”

Further information

NEXUS at nanoLAB:

NanoKTN can be found on the website at


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