Materials Characterisation and Fabrication Platform

The Materials Characterisation and Fabrication Platform (MCFP) offers technologies for understanding, measuring and analysing the structures and properties of materials.

The MCFP supports materials and engineering research with access to advanced technologies, expert advice and training.

We welcome users from universities, research institutes, government and industry.

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Nodes of expertise

Nanomaterials characterisation

We can analyse the structure and properties of materials at the nano- and micro- scales. This includes bulk and thin materials, nanoparticles and living cells and tissues. The technologies available to do this include atomic force microscopy, pendant drop tensiometry, and particle characterisation.

Advanced fluorescence imaging

Our imaging technology can be used with living or fixed samples. It is particularly useful for substances that are so small they can’t be seen with a traditional microscope. Our technology includes super-resolution microscopy (STORM), live cell imaging, and confocal microscopy. Our technology includes super-resolution microscopy (STORM), live cell imaging, Zeiss Elyra super-resolution fluorescence microscope and confocal microscopy.

Cytometry and particle characterisation

We offer technologies to analyse the characteristics of cells and nanoparticles including size, count, shape and structure. Our cytometry technology includes mass cytometry (high dimensional analysis using heavy metal probes), single-cell ICP-MS (elemental/isotopic analysis), and imaging flow cytometry (combines flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy).

Electron and ion microscopy

We can image surfaces at high resolution and manufacture nanomaterials for analysis using nano-scale milling and patterning. Our technologies include helium ion microscopy (high resolution, surface sensitive, which can image insulators without coating), and scanning electron microscopy and microanalysis.

Vibrational spectroscopy

We can determine the molecular structure, composition and interactions of a material through interrogating the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Our vibrational spectroscopy technologies include Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) microscopy and Raman microspectroscopy.

X-Ray diffraction

We can determine the atomic and molecular structure of a material using X-ray diffraction. Our technologies include crystalline phase identification and quantitative analysis, and X-ray fluorescence-based elemental analysis.


We offer access, technical and process development support to the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication (MCN), the largest research fabrication cleanroom in Australia, for lithography, thin-film deposition, etching, and design and prototyping.


Nanomaterials characterisation

  • Cypher atomic force microscope
  • Hirox 2D/3D optical microscope
  • MFP-3D atomic force microscope
  • OCA 20 tensiometer

Advanced fluorescence imaging

  • Nikon A1R+ Confocal Microscope (CLSM) with FLIM, FCS
  • Nikon N-STORM (stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy)
  • Olympus IX71 fluorescence microscope

Cytometry and particle characterisation

  • Amnis ImageStreamX MkII
  • Apogee A-50 Microflow Cytometer
  • Helios mass cytometer
  • Malvern NanoSight NS300
  • NexION 2000 plasma mass spectrometer

Electron and ion microscopy

  • FlexSEM 1000 scanning electron microscope
  • Zeiss ORION NanoFab helium and neon ion microscope

Vibrational spectroscopy

  • Bruker LUMOS Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy
  • Renishaw inVia Qontor confocal Raman microscope

X-ray characterisation

  • Bruker D8 Advance Diffractometer (XRD)
  • Bruker S2 Puma X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF)


  • Technical and process development assistance for University of Melbourne researchers
  • Access to the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication (MCN)
  • Photolithography (UV and electron beam lithography techniques)
  • Thin-film deposition (evaporation, sputter, PECVD, ALD)
  • Wet etch and reactive ion etching

User information

The platform is open to all researchers and industry personnel on a fee-for-service basis.

Other platforms

The platform can be used in conjunction with:

Contact us

Book online using iLab

You can book this resource or platform using the iLab booking system. You will need to create an account before logging in. Access user guides and videos to help you set up an account and navigate the iLab system:

iLab booking system

If you're familiar with iLab and already have a login, visit the Materials Characterisation and Fabrication Platform iLab Core.

More information on this platform can be found on the Research Gateway, which is available to all University of Melbourne academic and honorary staff, graduate researchers and professional staff. To access the Research Gateway, login with your University of Melbourne username and password.

Banner image: A man in a lab coat using technical machine. Image by Peter Casamento