Facilities and services

Chemistry Research Facilities

The Chemistry Research Facilities are divided into the following areas.  Click on the links to find out about each of their services.

NMR Spectroscopy
The Department’s core NMR facility is housed in the Chemistry Research Laboratory and is one of the largest magnetic resonance facilities in the UK supporting chemical science research. It operates thirteen solution-state FT NMR instruments with proton operating frequencies ranging between 200 and 700 MHz, which are capable of running most experiments of interest to the research chemist, and two 400 MHz solid-state instruments. The solution phase instruments are equipped with an extensive range of capabilities including nitrogen- and helium-cooled cryogenic probes (at 600 and 700 MHz), multinuclear probes, high- and low-temperature operation and automation and the multinuclear solid-state systems also have variable temperature capabilities. The facility is maintained and operated by five staff members and access is provided through fully automated open-access instruments, bookable “hands-on” systems or through a submission service provided by NMR staff, who also contribute directly to research projects within the Chemistry Department and beyond. The facility also provides commercial services to industry where possible.

Mass Spectrometry
The Mass Spectrometry Research Facility is housed in the Chemistry Research Laboratory and is one of the largest and best equipped mass spectrometry labs in the UK. It has 21 mass spectrometer systems with an equipment base of £7.5 million providing a wide range of analytical capabilities. It is run and managed by four full time staff and attracts research students and visiting academics. Instrumentation includes GC-MS, LC-MS, nanoLC/MS, MALDI TOF and ion-mobility-MS systems. Equipment access is configured to provide open access, trained user and HRMS systems available for researchers across the department. A number of mass spectrometry services include: accurate mass, high resolution and biological molecule analysis (oligonucleotides and proteins) provided for departmental researchers. An external mass spectrometry service and research collaboration framework caters for links with external academic institutions and interactions with industry. 

ESR Spectroscopy
The Centre for Advanced Electron Spin Resonance (CAESR) located on the first floor of the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory presently houses commercial spectrometers for continuous-wave (CW) ESR and pulsed ESR operating at X-/ W-band (9.5 & 94 GHz). In 2013, CAESR was awarded a £1.3M grant from EPSRC to add a state-of-the-art, X-/Q-band ESR spectrometer (9.5 & 34 GHz) with an arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) that allows for application of the advanced techniques in pulsed ESR research. A 2020 grant from EPSRC updated the original X-/W-band spectrometer and added AWG capability at W-band. In all instruments, samples may be investigated in range of 2.5 - 400 K, the centre benefits from diverse lasers and microwave, optical and current detection are available. The CAESR facility primarily serves research groups from the Chemistry, Physics, Materials, Biochemistry and Pathology departments, but users from other universities and industry are welcome to approach the management about possible ESR collaborations at all times. Instrument training, project consultation, and ESR funding advice is available.

Surface Analysis
The SAF is a suite of equipment housed in several purpose built laboratories in the basement of the Chemistry Research Laboratory. It is primarily used by chemists, however researchers from, amongst others, materials, engineering, physics, biochemistry, glycobiology and medicine use its resources. The SAF contains a wide variety of state of the art scientific equipment capable of many experimental methods including: atomic force microscopy, scanning tunnelling microscopy, Fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy (including IRRAS, PMIRRAS and ATR spectroscopy), ellipsometry, X-ray reflectometry, X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, Scanning Tunneling Microscopy, surface characterisation by gas adsorption (surface area, pore size distribution etc.) and dynamic surface tension and contact angle measurements. In addition there is a high vacuum metal evaporator, plasma etcher, ozone lamp and potentiostat for sample preparation and modification.

X-ray Crystallography
The X-ray Crystallography facility is located in the basement of the Chemistry Research Building and contains state-of-the-art single crystal X-ray diffractometers and equipment for sample crystallisation and preparation. The instrumentation consists of two Nonius KCCD Diffractometers and two dual wavelength Oxford Diffraction/Agilent SuperNova A systems, giving access to conventional molybdenum radiation and microfocus copper and molybdenum sources. All instruments are fitted with Oxford Cryosystems’ Cryostreams enabling data collection in the range 80-500K. There are also several microscopes providing a range of magnification options, a hot and cold stage and digital video cameras. Training and support is provided by the facility staff and a commercial service is also available.

Inorganic Materials Characterisation 
The IMC facility is based in the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory, housing an MPMS-XL and a state-of-the-art MPMS-3 SQUID magnetometer, low temperature conductivity measurement apparatus, a high-intensity Bruker D8 Advance Eco Cu sourced diffractometer, and high-resolution Malvern Panalytical X’pert and Empyrean Cu sourced diffractometers. In addition to the standard MPMS operating modes covering 1.8-400 K with DC, AC, and VSM magnetic measurement, options are available for the MPMS3 including, Ultra low field, oven 300-1000 K, sample rotator, magneto-optic rod, electrical transport, and 1.3GPa high pressure cell. The Bruker D8 diffractometer is configured to provide high throughput powder diffraction measurements, with a 9-position sample changer and a fluorescence filtering detector. The X’pert and Empyrean diffractometers are configured for single-wavelength high resolution powder diffraction with variable optics and an option for transmission capillary measurement available on the Empyrean. Air-sensitive measurements are possible and variable temperature measurement may be possible on request. The facility provides training to allow users to conduct their own measurements and support for interpreting their data. Access is open to members of the Chemistry department and is open to external researchers on request.


Services to Industry from Oxford Chemistry
These facilities can also provide services and expertise to industry. We can work with your company in a variety of formats to suit your specific needs. Services include:
•    full analysis with report
•    provision of data only
•    in-house equipment training
•    consultancy

University Facilities

The University has an extensive list of the research facilities which support research across the whole University.  See the Small Research Facilities web page for details.

Photo of bespoke glassware made by Terri Adams, Departmental Glassblower

Bespoke glassware made by Terri Adams at the Department of Chemistry's glassblowing facility