National Nuclear Laboratory

NNL logo
Project lead: Prof Jonathan Hyde
The National Nuclear Laboratory operates some of the world’s most advanced nuclear facilities across the UK, delivering scientific innovation to our customers and collaborating with academia.

 

NNUF and EPSRC funding has enabled NNL to procure a range of scientific equipment for characterising irradiated materials:

•    A high-resolution FIB-SEM (available for academic research)
•    A high-resolution X-ray CT capability (available for academic research)
•    A 200 kV (S)TEM with EELS capability (available for academic research)
•    A 200 kV aberration-corrected FEG-TEM (expected to be available from late 2021).

In addition, NNL are procuring state‐of‐the‐art robotic equipment which will enhance NNL’s current in-house robotic capabilities to support Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (RAI) technical programmes. This capability will be located at our Workington Facility.

FIB-SEM at NNL’s Central Laboratory, Sellafield - FEI Helios 600i Nanolab with EDS & EBSD with TKD

Helios Nanolab 600i

FEI Helios 600i Nanolab

© NNL

 

A high-resolution FIB-SEM with a full complement of analytical capability is available for use at NNL’s Central Laboratory (Sellafield). 

Installed in the active area of Central Laboratory on Sellafield site, the instrument combines a UHR electron microscope with energy-dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX) and electron back-scatter diffraction (EBSD) analysis, as well as an ion column for sputtering materials and preparing size-reduced specimens for TEM analysis.

Previously the instrument has been involved in examining AGR fuel cladding, vitrified waste, uranium powders and precipitates, and preparing atom probe tomography needles. 

Technical contact: Dr Adam Qaisar (adam.qaisar@uknnl.com).

 

 

X-ray computed microtomography at NNL’s Central Laboratory, Sellafield - Bruker Skyscan 1172

XCT

Bruker Skyscan 1172

© NNL

 

A high-resolution X-ray CT capability is available for use at NNL’s Central Laboratory. Installed in the active area of Central Laboratory on Sellafield site, the Bruker Skyscan 1172 allows non-destructive imaging of specimens with a peak resolution of 0.9 μm.

Comprising a 100 kV, 10 W X-ray source, 11 MP CCD detector, and a micropositioning stage, the 1172 is capable of scanning samples as large as 50 mm in diameter and can perform z-stacking for particularly long specimens.

Previously the instrument has been involved in examining carbonaceous deposits, uranium foil in cement, Magnox simulant sludge, various cements and grouts.

Technical contact: Dr Adam Qaisar (adam.qaisar@uknnl.com).

 

200 kV (S)TEM with EELS capability at NNL’s Central Laboratory, Sellafield - JEOL 2100

 

200 kV (S)TEM with EELS capability

JEOL JEM-2100

© NNL

 

A 200 kV (S)TEM with EELS capability is available for use at NNL’s Central Laboratory (Sellafield site). The instrument combines the high spatial resolution of a transmission electron microscope with chemical analysis by EDS, and EELS. 

The instrument is further supported by NNL’s FIB and PFIB instruments, as well as ion mill and electropolishing equipment for TEM sample preparation.

Previously the instrument has been involved in examining AGR fuel cladding, zirconium cladding, MTR fuel, and wasteforms.

Technical contact: Dr Simon Dumbill (simon.dumbill@uknnl.com).

 

200 kV aberration-corrected FEG-TEM (to be installed in NNL’s Central Laboratory, Sellafield) - JEOL ARM-200F with EDS and Gatan GIF Quantum

 

FEG-TEM

JEOL ARM-200F

© Copyright 2020 by JEOLCO (UK) Limited

 

A 200 kV aberration-corrected FEG-TEM with EELS capability is expected to be available for use at NNL’s Central Laboratory from late 2022.

Installed in the active area of Central Laboratory on Sellafield site, the instrument is capable of sub-Angstrom imaging resolution, and atomic resolution chemical analysis by EDS (0.98 Sr Oxford Instruments X-Max 100 TLE detector), and Gatan GIF Quantum 965 ER with Dual EELS and EFTEM capabilities.

The instrument is further supported by NNL’s FIB and PFIB instruments, as well as ion mill and electropolishing equipment for TEM sample preparation.

Technical contact: Dr Simon Dumbill (simon.dumbill@uknnl.com).

 

Hot Robotics Capability – NNL’s rig hall at Workington, Cumbria

NNL’s Workington laboratory

NNL Robotics Centre at Workington

© National Nuclear Laboratory

The facility provides flexible space and equipment that acts as a link between the small‐scale, low TRL (1‐4) robotics research, and the full‐scale demonstrator facilities being set up by NNL to progress technology up to TRL 9. Facilities include:

•    Robot laser cutting 
•    Sort and segregation capability
•    A flexible decommissioning cell
•    Flexible operating enclosures for development and testing of ROVs.

This is an integral part of the Hot Robotics NNUF2 capability involving University of Bristol, University of Manchester and RACE.

Technical contact: Dr Darren Potter (darren.potter@uknnl.com).

Availability

Electron optics

NNL’s FIB-SEM, X-ray CT and 200kV (S)TEM were available for access during the period covered by the 13th quarterly NNUF user access call (for access in the period October 2023 - March 2024). It was expected that the 200kV aberration-corrected FEG-TEM would become available, following commissioning, during the period of the call. This call has now closed.

Please do reach out to the NNL team, to discuss access to the microscopes detailed above, at any point.  

 

Hot Robotics

The Hot Robotics Facility (including the "node" at NNL's Workington Laboratory) also participated in the  13th quarterly NNUF access scheme call (for access in the period October 2023 – March 2024). Please see the Hot Robotics page of the NNUF website for further information.

 

 

NNUF funded user access scheme for National Nuclear Laboratory

As a first step, please email adam.qaisar@uknnl.com, simon.dumbill@uknnl.com or darren.potter@uknnl.com (as listed above) to contact NNL for a discussion about the practical feasibility of your proposed research project. Then, you will need to complete a simple NNUF application form. When doing so, please upload an email exchange between you and a member of staff at NNL, confirming the feasibility of your proposed research. Please see the access page of this website for more detail about the NNUF funded user access scheme.

 

 

Text © NNL.