Company background

PML Applications Ltd is a leading impartial scientific marine consultancy, working with customers across a range of industry sectors and providing services primarily on ballast water, biofouling and corrosion management, survey work and satellite remote sensing. 
Established in 2002, as the wholly-owned subsidiary of Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), to facilitate the application of research from PML. This strong connection with PML gives PML Applications access to over 40 years of world-class research, scientists and facilities, enhancing their team of skilled and dedicated specialists.
PML Applications Ltd logo

What did they want?

The aim of this investigation was to obtain information about the natural biofouling resistant properties of the mermaid’s purses (shark eggs) with the objective to replicate these properties in the marine industry. In addition, the images from the FIB-SEM work were compared with initial results gathered from PML’s own ‘contact mode’ high-speed AFM (Atomic Force Microscope) visualisation which has nano-scale resolution.

Agreed analysis plan

  • Verification of the optimum sample drying method.
  • Large area imaging of the sample surface.
  • High-resolution surface and cross-section imaging and elemental analysis.
  • Comparative study across various shark species samples.


Critical point drying better preserves the samples’ initial shape better compared to low-temperature oven drying.
Elemental analysis from different samples doesn't present much difference between samples, except for some suspicious metal traces. 
The cross-sections mostly reveal homogenous textures, however, a number of macropores were found in the catshark sample. 
Lastly, comparing the novel AFM method results with that of established SEM large area imaging has helped to validate the AFM methodology for further analysis and product development for PML.

Company feedback

“Working with PMCP was a great experience from the start. The team got really engaged with our project and helped us shape where we could and should go for maximum impact. There’s a lovely match between the technical skills and competence of Yang and the team and the technical capabilities of their amazing infrastructure. We’ll definitely be repeat customers.”
Professor Mike Allen (Microbial Biochemist at PML)