Working with industry

With over 30 years of experience working with industry, Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre (PEMC) can offer you a comprehensive service that brings together academic expertise and research with businesses across the UK and beyond.

Our relationships within the commercial sector have earned us a strong reputation as a reliable, well-rounded and professional centre, providing insight and solutions to real-world problems from a strong foundation of scientific research.

"Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre is a jewel in the crown not just for the University, but for the city of Plymouth." 
Professor Jerry Roberts,
Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise

Commercial Customers

PEMC has a commercial user group spanning a range of sectors from aerospace to manufacturing, engineering to textiles, microelectronics, biomedical and other sectors. We provide expert, local access to imaging and analysis instrumentation, supporting a diverse range of activities including:

  • analysis of defects and or failure in components
  • analysis of the properties of materials
  • confirmation of a product’s quality/ consistency
  • bio-imaging
  • mineralogical analysis


PEMC has strong links with other departments within the University, so can offer a full analytical service in addition to electron microscopy data capture, including composites, metallurgy, engineering and food science.

Our industry customers have benefited from using electron microscopy for:

  • improved products and processes
  • improved quality control
  • reduction of waste (and therefore cost)
  • new product development
  • promotional images for web and printed materials

Plymouth Materials Characterisation Project (PMCP)

Your products analysed at the nano-scale

We're offering 40 SMEs in Devon the chance to work with technical specialists and state-of-the-art technology, to provide insight into product samples and offer real solutions to real business problems - free of charge.

The project will use the brand new focused ion-beam, scanning electron microscope (FIB-SEM) to analyse your samples and initiate new product development, leaving a lasting impact on your business.

Interested? Take a look at the project, eligibility criteria, and next steps here.

Why work with PEMC?

We offer bespoke services to make the most of our extensive suite of instruments, to investigate and understand your products in depth. As keen knowledge sharers experienced in interdisciplinary collaborations, our team of experts will help you to benefit from:

  • improved quality control of your products
  • improved production processes
  • new product development
  • lower frequency of product failure
  • optimisation of materials you use
  • identification and elimination of contamination
  • troubleshooting production issues



As one of many high-spec facilities at the University of Plymouth, you can also benefit from an accessible and relevant service with:

  • a rapid turnaround – averaging 10 days or less
  • access to further University of Plymouth expertise (e.g the Marine Institute, mechanical engineers, geologists, metallurgists, food scientists etc.)
  • access to further University of Plymouth services (e.g Knowledge Transfer Partnerships)
  • objective analysis results
  • daily opening hours
  • ongoing investment in instrumentation
  • competitive hourly and daily rates


Real business experience

We found the PEMC service extremely useful. The communication was excellent; any potential problems were communicated to us for verification before PEMC carried out the work. We are extremely happy with the results and will definitely be using PEMC again.

Ben Daniels, Production Planner, Peter Day Precision Engineering

Who else has the PEMC worked with?

How European funding supported SMEs in the South West, using Electron Microscopy from 2010–2015

Thanks to funding from the European Regional Development Fund, we gave 121 companies 12 hours of free support in PEMC. Our customers came from Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, and companies varied from;

  • Peter Day Precision Engineering Ltd - to verify the precision thickness of their platings for their customers.
  • Langage Farm LLP - examining the microstructure of their quarg and yoghurt, leading to new product development. 
  • BB Photonics Ltd - precision measurement to support new product development. 

A number of these companies have now come back to work with PEMC regularly, demonstrating the real value of our service to businesses of any size. 

As a result of their initial work with PEMC, Langage Farm LLP embarked on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the University. This collaboration was so successful that Langage Farm secured a £4.2million deal with a major supermarket as a result.

The three reports below (produced by the Heart of the SW Local Enterprise Partnership (HOTSW LEP)CaSE and the National Centre for Universities and Business) mention the impact of PEMC's work with industry.