University of Newcastle - Equipment Account

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of Natural Sciences & Env Sciences


The past decade has seen an explosion in the number of high frequency micro-manufactured devices being developed. Well-known examples include RF-Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (RF-MEMS), Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) devices for applications in biosensing, SAW devices for applications in digital signal processing (DSP), ultrasound transducers for applications in medical imaging and finally micromachined sonotrodes used in ultrasonic welding technology. This growth will continue as Nano-Electro-Mechanical (NEMS) become more prevalent due to developments in fabrication techniques and materials. For example, the unique electrical and mechanical properties offered by graphene will see devices developed with ever increasing resonant frequencies. An essential part in the development of high frequency devices is the measurement of their dynamic behaviour. This includes natural frequencies, modeshapes, displacement fields and support loss mechanisms. This is critical for design optimisation, optimising process steps and validating any model or simulation. The measurement options available for high frequency systems where displacements may be of the order of picometres are extremely limited and only a few options exist. Contacting characterisation techniques e.g. AFM, load the device and therefore prevent a true accurate measurement of its dynamics. High frequency laser vibrometry presents the only non-invasive measurement option.

We aim to purchase a ultra-high frequency laser vibrometer to enable dynamic characterisation of high frequency microsystems. This equipment will allow the displacement or velocity field of any structure will greater than 4% reflectivity to be measured with picometre resolution and up to a frequency of 1.2 GHz. It will therefore be ideal for characterising SAW devices, high frequency N/MEMS sensors and RF MEMS.

Planned Impact

There has been substantial growth in the number of high frequency devices and sensors for applications in RF communications, biological diagnostics, inertial sensing and signal processing. Characterising the dynamic behaviour of these devices is always an essential step in the development process and currently the UHF-120 represents the best solution for frequencies in excess of 20MHz. Since the trend is towards continually higher frequency it is imperative that the measurement capability keeps apace with developments in fabrication technology and material science that enable this trend to continue. The measurement range of the UHF-120 is from 0 to 1.2 GHz and with picometre resolution. This will therefore meet the measurement needs for both current and future NEMS/MEMS, SAW devices and other high frequency devices.


10 25 50

publication icon
Barlow AJ (2016) Removing Beam Current Artifacts in Helium Ion Microscopy: A Comparison of Image Processing Techniques. in Microscopy and microanalysis : the official journal of Microscopy Society of America, Microbeam Analysis Society, Microscopical Society of Canada

publication icon
Chen Y (2018) Water quality monitoring in smart city: A pilot project in Automation in Construction

Title Paintings 
Description Paintings. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact Understanding of pigment chemistry and degradation 
Description characterisation of surface acoustic waves via LASER vibrometry. The picometre detection resolution allows for characterisation of inplane vibrating devices through parasitic out of plane motion.
Exploitation Route This is a piece of characterisation equipment. Others may used it.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Retail

Title Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToFSIMS) and Helium Ion Microscopy (HIM) 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Many users, some industrial, necessary for generating excellent research 
Title Principal Component Analysis of Massive Datasets (100GB to 1Tb) 
Description PCA is used for spatial chemical analysis: Tomography+omics = Tomomics 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact First 3D chemical tomographic multivariate analysis 
Description Proctor and Gamble 
Organisation Procter & Gamble
Country United States of America 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Analytical Collaboration.
Collaborator Contribution Samples, some funding.
Impact None yet
Start Year 2015
Title New device for deposition of layers 
Description New device for deposition of layers 
Type Of Technology New/Improved Technique/Technology 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Likely to be made into a product by a UK manufacturer 
Title XPS and ToFSIMS Facility 
Description Surface Engineering and Analysis Laboratory: SEAL, NEXUS 
Type Of Technology Systems, Materials & Instrumental Engineering 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact Very many. We have had >800 projects in collaboration with 39 UK universities since 2011 
Description Article for The Conversation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact ToFSIMS of mars meteorites
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016