The Solid State and Elemental Analysis Unit (SSEAU) specialises in elemental analysis of bulk samples, surface analysis, and molecular and microstructural analysis using X-ray techniques:

  • Elemental Analysis: Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry, combustion/oxidation analysis of C, N, S, and O.
  • Surface Analysis: elemental analysis using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS).
  • Structural Analysis: crystallography and use of X-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques to analyse microstructure of powders and thin-films.


  • Access costs can be found under "related documents" to the right of this page.
  • For XRF and LECO costs please contact Irene Wainwright


We offer 1-2 scholarships per year, valued at up to $3,000 in analysis costs, to UNSW Honours, Masters and PhD students who require access to our instruments. Preference is given to early career researchers, but we encourage any researcher to apply.  Supervisors should send a 1 page application to the Manager of the SSEAU covering:

  1. The project outline, indicating the research goals, and instrument(s) required
  2. Any sample preparation requirements within the Centre
  3. Likely training requirements for instrument operation or sample preparation
  4. Start/end dates and estimated number of samples for the project
  5. Name, student number and contact details of the student, if possible

Titles of previous scholarships are shown below:

2009: Heavy metal contamination of Brown Algae

2010: (1) Macroalgae as biomonitors of metal contamination (2) Analytical Chemistry of Functionalised Nanoparticles

2011: The effects of Pittosporum undulatum on Wolli Creek vegetation.

2013: Groundwater quality changes in a coastal aquifer.

2014: Morphology control of polymer bulk heterojunction organic solar cell.

2015: (1) A new route to heavy group 13 hydride complexes (2) An investigation of the differences between plant defences on islands and mainlands.

2016: (1) XPS and ToF-SIMS depth profiling of a conductive polymeric patch to determine the doping state (2) XRF to help determine processes leading to primary mineralisation, oxide zone and clay materials in the  carbonate-hosted Zn-Pb-Ag Manuka deposits in central NSW.