Central Environmental Science and Engineering Laboratory


Key Facilities

We are equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation to support various research and development. A summary instrumentation available is listed below:

For Staff/Student: Click Here

Charges for the use of key equipment: Click Here

If you encountered problems booking on-line, please call 67904851 to make a booking.

For instruments like GC, HPLC & ICPMS that required more preparation to suit to researchers’ requirement please contact staff at 67904851 for discussions before booking.

Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)

AFM is an extremely precise microscope that images a sample by rapidly moving a probe with a nanometer-sized tip across its surface. It provides a number of advantages over conventional microscopy techniques. AFM can make measurements in three dimensions, x, y, and z (normal to the sample surface), thus enabling the presentation of three-dimensional images of a sample surface.

AFMs require neither a vacuum environment nor any special sample preparation, and they can be used in either an ambient or liquid environment. The AFM system can be operated in contact mode and non-contact mode.

Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FE-SEM)

The thermal FE-SEM (JSM-7600F) successfully combines ultrahigh resolution imaging with optimized analytical functionality. It is equipped with low-angle backscattered electron detector (BSE), LN2 Free EDS detector and scanning transmission electron detector (STEM).


  • Ultrahigh resolution comparable to the cold cathode FE-SEM. SEI resolution of 1.5 nm (1kV) in GB mode and 1.0 nm (15 kV)
  • Magnification of 25 to 1,000,000x
  • Accelerating voltage of 0.1 to 30 kV
  • Aperture angle control lens automatically optimizes the spot size at both high and low currents for both analysis and imaging.
  • Built-in r-filter enabling user selectable mixture of secondary electron and backscattered electron images.
  • Gentle Beam mode for top-surface imaging, reduced beam damage and charge suppression. Beam current of 1 pA to 200 nA at 15 kV.

X-ray diffraction (XRD)

The XRD is for examining the physio-chemical make-up of unknown solids. It is used to quantify both the chemical and mineral compositions of materials, such as industrial hazardous waste as well as treated products. It has the ability to perform a full range of applications, from qualitative and quantitative phase identification to crystal structure solution of powder samples, crystallite size determination, micro strain analysis, residual stress analysis, and preferred orientation.

The lab is also equipped with the data analysis software and database i.e. TOPAS, EVA and ICSD.

Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS)

ICP-MS is an analytical technique used for elemental determinations at trace level. It offers better sensitivity than other elemental analysis techniques such as ICP Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES) and ICP Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES).

The ICPMS is applicable to following research areas:

  • Geological - measure the trace elements / isotopes concentrations in determining origins of rocks.
  • Environmental – measure the trace elements in dirty/ treated water, dust in the air (trap in air filter) and soil samples
  • Biological and clinical - measure the trace elements in urine or blood samples.
  • Agricultural - trace metals in soils, fertilizers & feed.

It also has the capabilities to perform quantification of elemental isotopic concentration and ratios, as well as precise speciation capabilities when used in conjunction with HPLC.

High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)

HPLC is used frequently in biochemistry and analytical chemistry to separate, identify, and quantify compounds based on their idiosyncratic polarities and interactions with the column's stationary phase. UV/Vis detector and fluorescence detector are available for different application.

Video Contact Angle (VCA)

Video Contact Angle is simple and compact tools that be used for the following applications:

  • Evaluate surface cleanliness and cleaning methods
  • Study adhesion, wetting behavior, surface treatments and coatings
  • Absorption Studies

The VCA (AST-Optima) has the features of Dynamic capture capability, Motorized syringe, Surface energy analysis and Pendant drop analysis. The VCA Optima utilizes a precision camera and advanced PC technology to capture static or dynamic images of the droplet and determine tangent lines for the basis of contact angle measurement.

A manual or automatic syringe provides easy dispensing of test liquid. Computerized operation eliminates human error in line drawing and captures dynamic images for time sensitive analysis. Data and images are stored in the computer for later analysis or easy transfer to other software applications.

Critical Point Dryer (CPD)

As the substance in a liquid body crosses the boundary from liquid to gas (drying via heating), the liquid changes into gas at a finite rate, while the amount of liquid decreases. When this happens within a heterogeneous environment, surface tension in the liquid body pulls against any solid structures the liquid might be in contact with. Delicate structures such as cell walls, the dendrites in silica gel, and the tiny machinery of microelectromechanical devices, tend to be broken apart by this surface tension as the drying via heating occurs. In freeze-drying, some structures can be disrupted even by the solid–gas boundary.

Supercritical drying, on the other hand, changes liquid to gas yet does not cross any phase boundary, instead passing through the supercritical region, where the distinction between gas and liquid ceases to apply. Densities of the liquid phase and vapor phase become equal at critical point of drying.

Hence critical point drying is a better method of dehydrating biological tissue prior to examination in the Scanning Electron Microscope because the cell walls or other delicate structures are better preserved.

The K850 combines versatility and ease of operation. Built-in thermo-electric heating and adiabatic cooling allow precise temperature control. The vertical pressure chamber (32mm diameter x 47mm) has a side viewing port, which allows a clear view of the liquid meniscus during filling.

Gas Chromatography System (GC-FID)

GC-FID is used in analytic chemistry for separating and analyzing compounds that can be vaporized without decomposition.The GC- FID can detect almost all carbon containing compounds.

Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometer (GCMS)

GCMS is an analytical method that combines the features of gas-chromatography and mass spectrometry to identify different substances within a test sample. The applications of GCMS include air pollutant analysis, environmental analysis and unknown sample identification.

The GCMS (Agilent 7890B/5977A) has a highly sensitive Extractor Ion Source for higher Signal-to-Noise (SNR) and low-femtogram Instrument Detection Limit (IDL). The system comprised of ChemStation Data Analysis software as well as the highly productive MassHunter Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis software in a single workstation. In addition, the system also comes with the MassWorks software that allowed the analysis to achieve high mass & spectral accuracy for identifying unknown compound with high-confidence with or without a compound library.

Besides the liquid sampling, this GCMS system also allows sampling of gas and slurry samples. Air or gas samples can be collected into a sorbent packed tube and introduced into the GCMS via Thermal Desorber (Markes TD-100). Headspace (HS) and thermal sorption probe (TSP) sampling are the other alternative methods which available on this system.

Ion Chromatography (IC) for anions

Ion Chromatography is a process that allows the separation of ions and polar molecules based on their affinity to the ion ex-changer. The ion chromatography in CESEL is commonly used in water analysis for anions. The preconfigured Dionex ICS-1000 integrated system performs isocratic ion chromatography (IC) separations using conductivity detection. The default settings allow the detection of anions such as F-, Br-, Cl-, NO2-, NO3-, PO43-, SO42- & S2O82- By selecting a suitable column, one can detect more types of anions.


A prescribed load is applied to an indenter in contact with a specimen. As the load is applied, the depth of penetration is measured. The area of contact at full load is determined by the depth of the impression and the known angle or radius of the indenter.

The hardness is found by dividing the load by the projected area of contact. The shape of the unloading curve provides a measure of elastic modulus. Force, displacement and time are recorded throughout the test. This technique provides quantitative information on both elastic and plastic properties of thin films and small volumes. Ideal use for thin films, coatings, nanocomposites, biomaterials.

Other supporting equipment & facilities

  • Furnace

  • Fume hood

  • Benchtop centrifuge

  • Ultrasonic Bath

  • Walk-in cold room

  • Classroom