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 UPS) 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



  • Surface analysis laboratory: XPS, UPS, ToF-SIMS, stylus-profiler.
  • XRF Laboratory: Elemental analysis of carbon, nitrogen, sulphur using LECO. Oxygen in metal alloys using LECO.
  • XRF Laboratory: Chemical analysis of solids from % to ppm.
  • XRF Laboratory: Chemical analysis of geological cores (ITRAX).
  • ICP Laboratory: Dissolved organic carbon analysis. 
  • ICP Laboratory: Chemical analysis of acid-digested solutions using ICPOES and ICPMS down to ppb.
  • ICP Laboratory: Chemical analysis of solids using laser ablation ICPMS.
  • ICP Laboratory: Anion chromatography, flow injection analysis (FIA) spectrophotometry.
  • XRF Laboratory: Elemental analysis of carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, and oxygen using LECO.
  • XRD Laboratory: Thin-film analysis of crystallographic phase, stress, texture, reflectometry.
  • XRD Laboratory: Bulk microcrystalline phase analysis.
  • XRD Laboratory: Variable temperature XRD analysis.
  • XRD Laboratory: in situ XRD analysis for monitoring rapid structural changes over time.
  • Chemical crystallography for molecular structure determination.

See specific lab pages on this website for more information.



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

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.
  • 2017: Investigating the geological characteristics of silver deposits at White Rock in North Eastern NSW using XRF analysis.