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At Open Lab you can rent state - of - the art instrumentation in the fields of chemistry and materials science


AFM | Coulter counter | DLS/Zeta sizing system | Drop Technology Spectrophotometer | Drop Volume Apparatus | DSC | DVSElectrochemical equipment | e-SEM | FPLC | FTIR | GC-MS | Goniometer | Impedance measuring equipment | In vitro diffusion equipment | Langmuir Surface Balance | LC –UV/DAD | LC-MS | MALDI | NMR | Null ellipsometer | Optical microscopy | Particle Electrophoresis | Plate Reader | QCM-D | Rheometer | Sorption Calorimeter | Spectroscopic ellipsometer UVISEL HORIBA | SWAXD | TGA Water activity measurements


Atomic Force Micoscope is a very-high resolution type of scanning probe microscope that creates an image by tapping the sample surface with a probe. Can also measure surface roughness and mechanical properties, and allows some forms of microfabrication.

A Multimode SPM 8 equipped with a Nanoscope V control unit (Bruker AXS). The SPM is also equipped with a PicoForce Unit, a Heater Unit, and the ScanAsyst and Peak Force Tapping softwares (Bruker AXS). Furthermore, a digital oscilloscope (Tektronix TDS 2022C) and a Nikon optical microscope are coupled to the system.

Coulter counter

Particle size determination

DLS/Zeta sizing system

Dynamic light scattering allows the determination of the size distribution profile of emulsions or particles/vesicles in solution. The instrument can also determine the Zeta potential of particles/colloids.

NICOMP 380 ZLS is a combined Electrophoretic Light Scattering/Dynamic Light Scattering Zeta potential/particle sizing system with a 5 MW 632.8 nm HeNe laser, two insertable electrodes for high- or low voltage, covering possible electrical field strengths between 0.25-250 V/cm, and an adjustable temperature range of 4-100 °C. The instrument has further been fitted with a Thermaltake Bigwater 760is liquid cooling system, to prevent cuvette fogging at high temperatures.

Drop Technology Spectrophotometer

UV-spectrophotometer for measuring absorbance/transmittance for very small sample volumes

Drop Volume Apparatus

The Drop Volume Apparatus is used for the determination of the surface tension of liquids.

Drop Volume Tensiometer TVT 2 consists of step motor driven syringe including a needle for droplet formation, setup for optical droplet falling registration, and software to operate hardware and calculate surface tension of liquid.


In differential Scanning Calorimetry, the heat required to increase the temperature of a sample, relative to reference, is measured as a function of temperature. This allows the determination of the sample heat capacity and the detection of phase transitions in the sample.

Differential scanning calorimeter DSC1 from MettlerToledo equipped with an intracooler TC100 and HSS8 sensor. Temperature range: -90 to +550 °C. The calorimeter can be used to study solid, soft and liquid substances. Typical sample masses are 2-10 mg. The DSC can be run in modulation regime to resolve reversing and non-reversing heat effects.

Electrochemical equipment

6 potentiostats/galvanostats from Amel, Autolab, BAS, and Ivium

Unique spectroelectrochemical system (home-made 10 mL spectroelectrochemical cell, spectrometer HR 4000 CG-UV-NIR and light source DH-2000from Ocean Optics)

Flow-injection analysis


A scanning electron microscope uses an electron beam that sweeps over the sample to create an image of the sample surface. It allows imaging of samples over a wide range of magnifications (roughly 50x-100000x for this SEM) and with a large focal depth. Using different detectors, differences in sample composition (different atomic weight) may be highlighted and even elemental composition of specific sample features determined.

The Zeiss EVO LS10 is an environmental scanning electron microscope, equipped with a LaB6 filament. The EVO LS10 offers two additional imaging modes, apart from the standard high vacuum mode for fully conducting samples. In variable pressure mode a low pressure of nitrogen gas (usually10-40 mbar) is allowed in the chamber. The gas is ionized by the electron beam and the ions help dissipate the surface charge built up in poorly conducting samples, allowing imaging without surface coating. In extended pressure mode, water vapour is introduced into the chamber, which together with a Peltier Coolstage allows imaging of hydrated samples at controlled temperature and relative humidity. The SEM is equipped with detectors for secondary electrons, backscatter electrons, VPSE (for VP mode) and also an INCA EDX microanalysis system for elemental analysis.

An Agar automatic sputter coater is also available for gold coating of samples.


Fast Protein Liquid Chromatography is a separation technique used to analyze or purify mixtures of proteins.


Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy is a technique for the determination of a sample’s infrared absorption spectrum, as an aid in sample identification.



The drop shape analyser can determine the contact angle between a sample droplet and a flat substrate.

Kruss Goniometer DSA100 Drop shape analyzer system for measurements of static and dynamic contact angles. The goniometer is equipped with single dosing system DS3200/3201. Temperature is controlled in the range 5-90 °C using TC30 measuring chamber.  Humidity is controlled using HC10 humidity chamber.

Impedance measuring equipment

Franz cells (Ø=0.90 cm, V=6 ml, PermeGear, Hellertown, PA, USA) equipped with four electrodes and connected to a potentiostat from Ivium Technologies (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) are used to study impedance characteristics of membranes, including skin, leafs, etc. Two platinum wires serve as working and counter electrodes and two Ag/AgCl/3M KCl electrodes from World Precision Instruments (Sarasota, FL, USA) are used as sensing and reference electrodes. The equipment allows impedance measurements at frequencies up to 6 MHz.

In vitro diffusion equipment

Diffusion cells can be used to measure the transport of a substance, such as a drug, across a membrane, such as skin, over time. The membrane can be either biological (skin, mucosa etc) or a synthetic reference (silicone etc).

Three alternative thermostated in vitro diffusion equipments are available in house, two set ups with flow through cells (15 + 7 cells) [R.L. Bronaugh & R.F. Stewart, J. Pharm. Sci. 74 (1985) 64–67] and 10 static Franz cells [Franz T,  J. Invest. Dermatol. 64 (1975) 190-195]. Solute diffusion over skin, oral mucosa , nasal mucosa, nails, plant cuticle, as well as synthetic membranes, has been studied and assayed spectrophotometrically (on-line) or by HPLC-UV. Electrical impedance spectroscopy has been appended to the Franz cells as a tool helping to explain diffusion properties of solutes through these membranes.

Langmuir Surface Balance

KSV 5000 is a programmable Langmuir and Langmuir-Blodgett instrument for automated Langmuir film experiments and for deposition of normal or alternating multilayers onto solid substrates. Surface pressure is measured using the Wilhelmy plate method.


High-performance liquid chromatography is used to separate, identify and quantify the different components in a liquid mixture. Separation is achieved by the components having different affinity for the mobile (liquid) phase being pumped through the system, and the stationary phase present in the separation column. A detector, usually for UV absorption, at the end of the system detects the intensity at either a certain wavelength or over a range of different wavelengths (diode array). This can then, assuming complete separation has been achieved, be used to quantify the different components using standard samples of known concentration.

Two Waters LC-UV/DAD 2795/2996 (LCDAD) systems. This robust HPLC apparatus allows flow-rates from 50ul/min to 5ml/min for use with 2.1 mm ID columns and larger. The autosampler accepts standard 96/384 well plates with programmable temperature control from 4 to 40°C. A heated column compartment provides temperatures from 5 degrees above ambient to 65°C. A range of LC detectors, like a dual wavelength- or PDA UV detector is optionally available.


The liquid chromatography mass spectrometry system is a normal HPLC system which also has a mass spectrometer connected at the detector end. This allows for the subsequent separation and identification of components of complex samples. Mass spectrometry works by ionizing the sample compound and measuring the mass-to-charge ratio of the charged compound and its fragments, allowing for the elucidation of the original sample structure.

ZQ2000 MS system with 2795 LC and 2996 PDA

The Waters ZQ 2000 LCMS System is based on the Micromass-ZQ 2000 Mass Selective Detector. This is a robust single quadrupole mass spectrometer, offering characteristic performance for laboratories that require nominal mass resolution for mass confirmation applications. This system has a mass range (amu) up to 2000 daltons.  Easily qualify and quantify small molecules in a flash with the highly sensitive system.  Both inlet probes are quickly and easily interchangeable without breaking vacuum.  Flow rates allowed are 5-1000 µl/min (ESI) and 200-2000 µl/min (APCI).


MALDI is known as the abbreviation for “Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization” and this is soft ionization technique, which allows measuring molecular masses of individual compounds by converting them into charged ions from a large quantity of complex mixture. MALDI system combines with TOF MS, which is Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry. The mass analyzer helps to separate charged ions according to their mass to charge ratio (m/z). The time for ions travelling through a field in the tube can disperse the ions regarding to their m/z in a field-free drift path; therefore, the lighter one arrives to detector before the heavier one. MALDI-TOF MS/MS instrument is especially important in the studies and analysis of biomolecules such as peptides, proteins, saccharides, lipids, glycans, and nucleic acids. 
The aim of usage matrix is to facilitate ionization process. There are commonly used crystallized small organic molecules MALDI matrix substances, which are 2,5-Dihydroxybenzoic acid (DHB), 4-Hydroxy-α-cyanocinnamic acid (HCCA), 2,5-Dihydroxyacetophenone (DHAP), Sinapinic acid (SA), 3-Hydroxypicolinic acid (HPA), 2,4,6-Trihydroxyacetophenone (THAP) and the reason of usage different matrices is depending on the sample for quantification.


Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy can give information about the structure, dynamics, reaction state and chemical environment of molecules. Mostly used for the identification of small (organic) compounds.

Null ellipsometer

An automated Rudolph thin film ellipsometer (type 43603-200E, Rudolph Research, USA) equipped with a xenon arc lamp as a light source; an interference filter with UV and infrared blocking (Melles Griot, The Netherlands) for working at a wavelength of 4429 Å. The experimental setup is based on null ellipsometry in the PCSA arrangement. The components of the ellipsometer are controlled by means of the Ellipso software that automatically measures the ellipsometric angles Psi and Delta allowing the calculation of the thickness, refractive index, and adsorbed mass of the growing films. To perform experiments in liquid media a peristaltic pump (Ole Dich Instruments) is used. The temperature is controlled by means of a Julabo 5B water bath. Data analysis is performed with the Ellipsometry software by Plamen Petrov.

Optical microscopy

Optical (or light) microscopy is a standard technique for studying microstructure. This microscope can produce micrographs in the magnification range 50-500x, and can use either transmitted light (see through the sample) or reflected light (see the sample surface).

Nikon Optiphot Epi-Fluorescence microscope equipped with polarizing filters, phase contrast and a DS-U1 digital camera. A TransferMan NK2 micromanipulator allows manipulation of samples, such as mounting of AFM colloidal probes, and a Linkam Analysa-LTS350 temperature controlled stage allows study of temperature-induced effects, e.g. lipid phase transitions.

Particle Electrophoresis

Particle micro-electrophoresis apparatus Mark II (Rank Brothers, Cambridge, UK) consists of flat electrophoretic cell equipped with two platinum electrodes and optical microscope. The apparatus can be used to determine particle electrophoretic mobility in solution. The mobility can be used to assess particle zeta potential and surface charge density. Apparatus allows measurements with particles bigger than 0.3 µm in diameter.

Plate Reader

Fluorescence spectroscopy can be used to determine the fluorescence intensity of a sample when exposed to light of a certain wavelength (usually UV light). A plate reader can make such measurements on samples in microplates, allowing for fast and automated determination of a large number of samples.

Gemini EM Microplate Reader is a fluorescence plate reader for both liquid- or cell-based assays (top or bottom measurements), for 6- to 384-well microplates. Excitation and emission wavelengths in the range 250-850 nm. Temperature regulation from ambient to 45ºC.


The Q-Sense E4 quartz crystal microbalance is equipped with the E4 measuring chamber that allows simultaneously running a maximum of four experiments in the four temperature controlled cells. Changes in frequency and dissipation are registered by means of the E-series electronic unit which is also responsible for the temperature control. These changes are related to the adsorbed wet mass and the viscoelastic properties of the films adsorbed onto the sensor. The QCM-D is also equipped with an electrochemistry and an ellipsometry module enabling the simultaneous measurement of the electrochemical and optical properties respectively of the adsorbed films. A four channels IPC peristaltic pump (Ismatec). Data analysis is performed with the Q-Tools software (Q-Sense).


The Rheometer is used for determination of viscosimetric and rheological properties of liquids/suspensions/slurrys.

Rheometer Bohlin CVO 100 Digital equipped with Peltier Cylinder C25. The rheometer system is suitable for research, product development and quality control. The rheometer is equipped with 20 mm parallel plate, cone 4/40 and coaxial cylinders measuring systems.

Sorption Calorimeter

A double-twin sorption calorimeter for studies of hydration of powders and soft materials. The channel diameter is 28 mm. The calorimeter is equipped with two sorption cells, each consist of a sorption chamber (on top) and a vaporization chamber (bottom). The cambers are connected by tubes with varying diameters to control the ioele flow. The double twin calorimeter is inserted into an isothermal TAM 2277 calorimeter from Thermometric equipped with a nanoamplifier.

Spectroscopic ellipsometer UVISEL HORIBA

Spectroscopic ellipsometry is a simple and fast optical and indirect technique that offers the possibility to determine the average thickness of the adsorbed layer.  Ellipsometry measures the ratio of two values, which is the amplitude ratio (Ψ=rp/rs) and the phase difference between light waves (Δ=Δp-Δs). These two parameters are defined from the difference in the reflection coefficients for p- and s- polarizations and thus in the optical properties of a material (extinction coefficient and refractive index). We have in house an UVISEL HORIBA spectroscopic ellipsometer covering a wavelength range of 200 – 820 nm.


Small and wide angle X-ray diffraction shines a monochromatic X-ray beam through a sample and measures the diffracted radiation at small and wide angles. Small angle X-ray diffraction can be used to determine the size of repeating variations in electron density in a sample, in the range of 10-200 Å. This corresponds to the repeating distance between layers in crystals and liquid crystals, allowing the determination of the unit cell size. Wide angle X-ray diffraction shows the diffraction by structures in the range 3-5 Å, allowing the distinction between a crystalline and amorphous/liquid crystalline sample.

Small and Wide Angle X-Ray Scattering. Kratky compact camera with line collimation (slit focus), equipped with two linear Mbraun detectors (small and wide angle). Two different temperature controlled sample stages (0-70 °C or 25-300 °C) can be used. Powder (semi-solid/solid) or capillary (liquid) sample holders, as well as a flow-through capillary sample holder, are available.


Thermogravimetric analysis is a method of thermal analysis used to measure the properties of materials as a function of increasing temperature (with constant heating rate) or as a function of time (with constant temperature and/or constant mass loss). Can be used for characterization through decomposition patterns, reaction kinetics, organic or inorganic sample contents.

Q500 Thermogravimetric Analyzer from TA Instruments has a maximum sample weight of 1 g, a precision of ±0.01%, sensitivity of 0.1µg and a temperature range of ambient to 1000ºC.

Water activity measurements

An instrument for measuring the water activity of a sample.

The Novasina LabMaster-aw has an accuracy of 0.003 aw (0.3%RH), and a range of 3 to 100% RH.

DVS Dynamic vapor sorption instrument

The TA Instruments Q5000 SA is used to determine the amount of moisture a material can adsorb or desorb as a function of its mass, temperature, time and relative humidity. This instrument is primarily concerned with applications where changing levels of humidity can influence or significantly alter important properties or uses of a material (e.g. physical properties (Tg, glass transition) stability, shelf life, bioavailability).

Additional facilities

Ovens, heating cabinets



Karl Fischer

Last updated by Magdalena Almén