Specialist research facilities
The University of Waikato has a number of specialist research facilities that were established to support university teaching and research, but which are also available for external contract work.
Electron Microscope Facility
The core instruments of the Electron Microscope Facility are the Hitachi S-4700 Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) with Quorum Technologies Cryo-system, and the Philips CM30 High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM). Both have x-ray analytical capability for elemental analysis. The SEM system allows high magnification imaging and elemental analysis of small samples including hydrated materials. Sample type may range from bacteria and plant material to metal alloys. The TEM facilitates high resolution imaging of crystallographic and structural features of very thin samples. The microscopes are used predominantly for research and teaching. The SEM also has commercial applications including the imaging and analysis of contaminants, particularly important in the food, dairy and water industries where quality assurance is important.
Mass Spectrometry Facility
The Waikato Mass Spectrometry Facility is part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. The facility operates and maintains the Faculty's range of high-performance mass spectrometers. The instrumentation supports research and teaching activities within the Faculty and a range of services are available to external institutions and industrial clients. The facility is a Bruker Daltonics Centre of Excellence.
Shallow Water Mapping
The Coastal Marine Group (CMG) has more than 30 years’ experience in state-of-the-art sampling, measurement and monitoring of shallow water environments. Our strength lies in applying coastal research to real-world issues – providing a scientific basis for resource management from environmental policy to engineering works. Our equipment is customised for use in small survey vessels supporting a range of mapping requirements in offshore and inland locations, particularly in coastal and shallow waters. Our multidisciplinary team can tailor its services to meet research and commercial needs.
Stable Isotope Research Facilities
The Waikato Stable Isotope Unit (WSIU) offers precision analyses of isotopes of carbon and nitrogen in biological, geological, and chemical materials by isotope ratio mass spectrometry. Isotopic abundance analysis is carried out on two fully automated Europa Scientific 20/20 isotope analysers. Materials may be submitted as solids, liquids, or gases, for example, for breath analyses. Precision analyses of carbon and nitrogen content in solid or liquid samples are also provided with a LECO TruSpec Carbon/Nitrogen Determinator fitted with an autosampler for liquids. The WSIU provides commercial analyses and also services the needs of scientists at the University of Waikato and their collaborators, promoting the use of stable isotopes in all branches of research. The unit operates under the Department of Biological Sciences and the staff are highly experienced in the use of stable isotopes, both natural abundance and enriched tracers, particularly in biological and environmental research. In 2006 the WSIU was accredited by the International Atomic Energy Agency for analyses of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) content and isotopes 13C and 15N in plant materials.
Stable Isotope Geochemistry at the University of Waikato is carried out in a separate facility within the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences. Measurements of stable oxygen and carbon isotope ratios in carbonates are made with an automated Europa Scientific Penta 20/20 isotope ratio mass spectrometer with CAPS preparation system. Determinations on prepared CO2 can also be performed.
Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory
The Waikato laboratory is a national radiocarbon facility undertaking both Standard Radiometric Dating and Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Dating (AMS). The facility is an independent unit within the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and has been operating for more than 25 years. It is funded by external commercial customers and research grants, and is used to support radiocarbon dating and Faculty of Science and Engineering research programmes. Staff in the unit are actively involved in palaeoclimate and archaeological research and have a leading role in international calibration programmes.
Waikato DNA Sequencing Facility
The Waikato DNA Sequencing Facility (WDSF) is part of the Department of Biological Sciences in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. The facility offers DNA sequencing and genotyping services via capillary based DNA analysis systems. The WDSF provides sequencing and genetic profiling services for researchers from a wide variety of engineered, synthetic and environmental DNA templates using energy transfer and fluorescent chemistries.
Waikato Centre for Applied Statistics
The Waikato Centre for Applied Statistics is attached to the Department of Statistics in the Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences and serves to foster the development and effective use of statistical methods in research and industry. It carries out applied research, contributes to courses in applied statistics and provides professional advice to University and external clients. Some of the centre's activities are carried out in cooperation with statisticians at the Ruakura Research Centre.