University of Sydney launches new research facility that will provide researchers with cutting-edge technology

Sydney Analytical is the newest core research facility at the University of Sydney. It has capabilities in spectroscopy, x-ray analysis, chemical characterisation, and training and access for industry.

The new facility, which will be launched on 17 July 2018, can investigate the remains inside a mummy’s coffin, analyse microplastic pollution and characterise new drugs, among others.

According to the announcement made by the University of Sydney, one of the first objects to be analysed using the portable instrument of Sydney Analytical is the coffin of the Egyptian mummy Mer-Neith-it-es from the Nicholson Museum Collection. The instruments used included the vibrational spectroscopy equipment and micro x-ray-fluorescence (XRF).

Among the other contributions of the facility were investigation into the origins of microplastics in Sydney Harbour and research underpinning significant start-up companies in diverse areas like skin repair and new batteries.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research Professor Duncan Ivison shared that they are delighted to officially launch Sydney Analytical because of the infrastructure, tools, and technical support that it brings to the University.

He said, "Our investment in core research facilities supports our researchers who rely on the most modern equipment to further their findings and stay at the top of their game."

Researchers will be given access to a state-of-the-art facility that is equipped with cutting-edge technology thereby providing them and the industry with some of the most advanced instrumentation for material, chemical and biological analysis.

Aside from the aforementioned capabilities, the facility also provides services including training courses, commercial consulting, support for synchrotron and neutron beamlines, and more, which can aid researchers on their projects.

Unique to Sydney Analytical is the capability to do simple characterisation for industry through to advanced imaging of materials, tissues and cells.

Sydney Analytical is now in the process of purchasing micro XRF mapping equipment, The Bruker Artax, which is possibly first of its kind in Australia. This equipment will radically transform cultural heritage analyses.

The Bruker Artax will allow mapping of chemical composition across large objects, including museum pieces and artworks. Many state and national galleries, museums and other institutions will directly benefit from having access to this kind of technology.

Having the micro XRF equipment will boost the competency of Sydney Analytical in the analysis of cultural artefacts with the potential to impact on fields as diverse as geoscience, archaeology, agriculture and forensic science.

Plans are also being made to develop a world-class robotically controlled facility for rapid early-stage drug development, using disruptive technologies in partnership with a global industry leader in healthcare.

This facility will add to other biomedical capabilities for studies such as metabolomics and lipidomics for disease diagnosis, understanding the biochemistry of diseases and physiological processes, drug discovery and dietary effects on health.

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