The new SuperSTEM laboratory, a specially designed building to house the world’s most sensitive analytical microscopes, was formally opened on 13 December 2002 by Lord Sainsbury, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Science and Innovation.
SuperSTEMs (Super Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopes), will enable scientists to identify individual atoms and are so delicate that a special building has been designed and built on the sandstone bedrock at Daresbury Laboratory. The new building has been designed to offer not just mechanical stability – low vibration – but low magnetic field levels and excellent temperature control.
The University of Liverpool is leading the UK SuperSTEM project on behalf of a consortium of thirteen UK Universities.
Professor Peter Goodhew, Henry Bell Wortley Chair of Materials Engineering at The University of Liverpool, and SuperSTEM Project Director, expects the new facilities to be used by researchers from all over the world, with North West industry being amongst the first to benefit.
“This unique national SuperSTEM facility will allow UK scientists to see and analyse individual atoms. This will enable progress in very many fields of industry,” he explained.
Professor Goodhew is expecting substantial advances in diverse fields such as the catalysts used by the chemical industry, semiconductor lasers and the monitoring of iron levels in blood cells.