We are particularly well equipped for research in the two main research themes of Biomolecular Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry.

Facilities for Biomolecular Chemistry research include 250, 400 and 600 MHz NMR, electrospray MS, GC-MS and LC-MS, and a unique collection of instruments for environmental analysis and speciation. Facilities for Materials Chemistry Research include X-ray single crystal and powder diffraction, electron microscopy, solid state NMR, XPS, EPR, FTIR and Raman microprobes, impedance spectroscopy, gas sorption analysis and a comprehensive suite of thermal analysis instruments.

Chemistry staff also make extensive use of Central Facilities such as synchrotrons and neutron sources both in the UK and Europe, and through the ScotChem network of Scottish Chemistry Institutions access facilities in other Scottish universities.

The database of facilities available through ScotChem can be found here

Mass Spectrometric Analysis

High resolution LC-MS optimised for analysing small molecules

The University of Aberdeen have received funding via the BBSRC ALERT-22 Scheme to purchase a high-end LC-MS optimised for the analysis of small molecules. The project is entitled ‘Analysis of biological small molecule mixtures using multiple modes of mass spectrometric fragmentation coupled with new bioinformatics workflows’ and we are currently engaged in the tender process and hope to have a system in place for the start of 2024.

This LC-MS system will enable the profiling and identification of small molecule components in complex biological mixtures. Small molecules have important roles in biology such as communication within or between organisms or interacting with receptors with important biological effects. Fundamental questions in biology, ecology, physiology, biochemistry, biosynthesis and human disease can only be answered by studying these complex molecular mixtures and understanding how they work. This system will enable efficient fast separation of complex biological mixtures followed by the accurate determination of the molecular formulae of each of the components. As there are many molecular structures possible for each molecular formula, the ability to fragment molecules with different levels of energy is essential to increase confidence in molecular identification. Applications include discovery and synthesis of small bioactive natural products, the understanding of biological synthesis of small molecules, understanding of microbial processes in soil and the chemical communication between sponges and molluscs, the analysis of archaeological artefacts, the understanding of disease causation as well as pharmaceutical discovery.

Once the system is ordered this page will be updated with more detailed information on the capabilities of the system.

In the meantime, please contact Professor Marcel Jaspars at m.jaspars@abdn.ac.uk


Advance III HD 400 NMR

From Bruker Daltonics: equipped with 60-sample changer for automated analysis of routine samples (1H, 13C, DEPT, standard 2D experiments)

Equipped with a Double-resonance broadband multinuclear (BBFO) SmartProbe for observation of nuclei in frequency range 15N to 31P plus 19F, with 1H decoupling/ observation and 2H lock, standard 5mm sample diameter.

Equipped with shielded z-gradient coils for gradient spectroscopy (GRASP) and automatic tuning and matching accessory (ATM)

Advance III HD 600 NMR

From Bruker Daltonics: equipped with 24-sample changer and a low-temperature probe, capable of advanced 2D NMR techniques, selective 1D experiments, DOSY, etc.

Equipped with a Prodigy TCI Cryoprobe optimised for 1H observation with pulsing/decoupling of 13C and 15N with 2H lock channel, standard 5mm sample diameter.

Equipped with shielded z-gradient coils and cooled preamplifiers for 1H and 13C plus automatic tuning and matching accessory.

For any information related to the NMR instruments please contact:

Imaging Systems


For any information related to the instrument please contact:

Thermal Analysis

Differential Scanning Calorimeter
  • 1 x DSC1 (-50-600C), 1 x DSC3 (-50-600C) from Mettler Toledo

Used for temperature and energy determination of phase transitions, crystallising points, and melting points.

Dynamic Mechanical Analyser
  • DMA1 (-150-600C) from Mettler Toledo

Used to determine the stiffness of samples via a variety of methods / factors:

  • Fixed Temp / Fixed Frequency
  • Multi Temp / Fixed Frequency
  • Fixed Temp / Multi Frequency
  • Multi Temp / Multi Frequency

All of the above can be performed in the following modes;

  • Single Cantilever Bending
  • Dual Cantilever Bending
  • Three Point Bending
  • Shear
  • Compression
  • Tension
  • TGA2 (25-1000C) from Mettler Toledo coupled to Hiden MS

Used to determine the stability / degeneration of samples over a temperature range in either a reactive or inert atmosphere. When coupled to the MS, residual gas analysis can inform the products released during degeneration.

For any information related to the Thermal Analysis Suite of instruments please contact:

X-ray Diffraction

Panalytical Empyrean X-ray Powder Diffractometer

High-resolution X-ray diffractometer Cu Ka1 system equipped with a Johannson monoochromator for general phase identification and Rietveld analysis.

The diffractometer has a PIXcel 1D detector and can be equipped with incident and diffracted beam 0.02 or 0.04 RAD Soller slits. Dedicated small angle scattering (SAXS) slits are also available.

For any information related to the instrument please contact:

Panalytical X'Pert X-ray Powder diffractometer

X-ray powder diffractometer with Cu Ka1/Ka2 radiation for general phase analysis

The diffractometer has a PIXcel 1D detector and 0.04 RAD Soller slits. The diffractometer PC contains the highscore software linked to the ICDD pdf2 database for search/match of phases.

For any information related to the instrument please contact:


Polarised Light Microscopes

Polarised light microscopes from Olympus equipped with Linkam and Mettler-Toledo heating/cooling stages and Infinity Lite video capture camera

Heated stage microscopy allows the heating or cooling of samples to observe transitional phases over a temperature range and record structural alignment via video capture. Still photographs can also be obtained from the video footage.

For any information related to the instrument please contact:

FT Raman Microscope
  • From Renishaw inVia confocal Raman microscope.
  • NanoObserver from CSI

Allows AFM imaging of surfaces in the following modes: Contact, AC and Force Modulation. Can scan areas up to 100 x 100 m2. Topographic images in all three modes, friction mapping in contact mode, elastic and viscoelastic mapping of surfaces in Force-Modulation and AC modes, respectively.

For any information related to the instrument please contact:


Microbiological Laboratories

Bacterial laboratory

For culture work with E.coli and Streptomyces suitable for protein, genetic and metabolic work, equipped with fermenters (1L), incubators and xx (gel reader)

For any information related to this Laboratory please contact:

Fungal and bacterial laboratory

Biosafety level 2 laboratory for work with environmental bacteria and fungi, equipped with autoclave, incubator, clean bench dedicated to bacterial work, and clean bench for fungal work.

For any information related to this Laboratory please contact: