ANSIN is the new advanced materials research and development hub. The development of advanced materials underpins large areas of research and numerous industrial applications. The potential for this cutting–edge field of research appears to be limitless. But for many companies, large and small, who need assistance to try out their innovative new ideas, venturing into these unchartered waters is fraught with difficulty. ANSIN provides not only the map, but the vessel and the tools to guide them to safety, and success.

Our expertise

The scientists and engineers at ANSIN are recognized internationally for their contributions to materials research, and they have worked at the forefront of numerous technological innovations. Our core team, which includes four academic staff at Queen’s University, Belfast, has a combined pool of almost 150 years’ professional experience. Where appropriate, we draw on the expertise of specific associate members to resolve particular client issues.

  • Professor Robert Bowman: Robert is both leader of ANSIN and Director for the Centre for Nanostructured Media at Queen’s University, Belfast. He has 23 years’ experience in the fabrication, characterisation and device fabrication of advanced functional materials.
  • Dr Paul Dawson: with 30 years’ experience behind him, Paul is an acknowledged leader in scanning probe based techniques such as STM. He has particular interest in micro and nanoscale light sources and emission.
  • Professor Marty Gregg: Marty combines 20 years’ experience in fundamental materials science and thin film preparation/characterisation, with expertise in a range of microscopies, such as HRTEM and FIB.
  • Dr Bob Pollard: Bob has over 25 years’ expertise in the preparation of a wide range of thin films and nanostructured rods and wires, working with such diverse materials as magnetic alloys and polymer systems.
  • Stephen McFarland: As Facilities Manager for ANSIN, Stephen oversees our day–to–day operations and draws on 20+ years’ experience to service the provision of our materials characterisation tools, including HRTEM, FIBs, SEM and XRD.

Our facilities

Best in class facilities

ANSIN’s best–in–class facilities extend over four laboratory suites, comprising 2,000 sq metres of advanced laboratory space, with some £12M of capital equipment.

  • Microscopy, Analysis, and Nanofabrication
  • Magnetic
  • Materials Deposition & Processing: from Research Scale to Pilot Production Vapour and Plasma Deposition Systems.
  • Cleanroom Microfabrication: creation of test structures and demonstration devices in cleanroom microfabrication facility
  • Electric
  • Optical

Supporting the Needs of Industry

There, when you need us

Open, approachable, entrepreneurial…these are more than just the defining characteristics of ANSIN. They are the qualities we adopt in every partnership we enter into, as our Case Studies show. This means that ANSIN is open for business with partners throughout Europe, making our high quality staff and leading edge facilities accessible to industry, and fully supporting its needs.

Unique collaborative workspace

Be inspired. Be very inspired.

At ANSIN, our collaborative workspace comprises two key elements:

  • Environment: we are housed in a dedicated laboratory and meeting area. This provides a home–from–home environment in which to operate, with easy access to all of ANSIN’s facilities. Sometimes having a £100 coffee machine to hand is just as important as a £1M piece of kit! 
  • Interaction: creativity rarely flourishes in isolation. Clients based in our facility can interact with people working on other projects. This means that, within the confines of confidentiality, it is possible to share ideas, gain insights and take inspiration from the achievements of others.

By merging together these twin elements, ANSIN nurtures an environment that encourages client interaction, and creates a space where new ideas will be spawned…new opportunities created. 

Focus on competitive advantage


A fortuitous meeting of minds 

It is the goal of every organisation to gain competitive advantage over its opposition by offering customers greater value, either through lower prices or by providing greater benefits and service. The delivery of competitive advantage to our clients is ANSIN’s raison d’être.

How do we achieve this goal?    We do it by sustaining an environment in which there is a natural synergy between all participants –where ideas can be shared, experience transferred, opportunities created. Of course, we aim to avoid obvious business conflicts with partners from similar operational areas. But within the confines of confidentiality, we have created an environment where clients can share ideas, gain insights and take inspiration from the achievements of others.

The Seagate partnership

This is best exemplified by Seagate Technology’s willingness to share know–how and intellectual property with ANSIN’s clients and partners in non–competitive sectors. Professor Robert Bowman, Director of ANSIN noted “This is the truly exciting aspect of ANSIN. Much is made of industry and university working together, but with ANSIN, this partnership is made real. Having Seagate Technology as our founding partner is a tremendous achievement, but for them to then provide supporting assistance, know–how and, where appropriate, IP to new ANSIN clients to help them get the results they need, is real added value. Their business is high rate mass–manufacture of a sophisticated transducer, a process that is entirely dependent on continuous improvement and refinement of advanced materials. As such, they provide a wealth of expertise for our clients to tap into.”


Make: Analyse: Measure

Uniformly high capability

  • Make it. 
  • Analyse it, to make sure it is what you set out to create. 
  • Measure it, to ensure it delivers the performance standards you require. 

As a process this sounds simple, but the reality of maintaining uniform accuracy across all three of these steps can be almost impossible to achieve. Here’s the good news. With ANSIN, it can be done to a uniformly high standard, because we deliver uniformly high actions across the board. But don’t just take our word for it – everything we do is benchmarked with Seagate Technology investment and Seagate Technology support. 

This means that as a client or partner with ANSIN, your materials can be made at a sophisticated level; they can be analysed at a sophisticated level, and then measured at a sophisticated level. What is more, unlike at other campuses, the resources to achieve this are all located within a tightly defined geographic location, here at Queen’s University, Belfast. 

This not only gives you a complete research and development package at one location, it also contributes to a more efficient supply chain, and faster turnaround from inception to output. 

Access Development Funding

Money matters

There are a number of straightforward, industry–friendly ways for companies to get help from ANSIN in order to improve and develop their products with advanced materials.

BlueSkyNano ANSIN

Do you have an idea based on advanced materials, but need access to advanced science facilities and assistance with product development? If so, BlueSkyNano ANSIN could be the way to develop your product and open the door to collaboration with ANSIN and its partners, including the expertise of Seagate Technology.

The Awards

BlueSkyNano ANSIN is an award scheme run in partnership with the NanoKTN and is open to industry for new product development of advanced materials. The application process has been kept simple but projects will be judged on the technical need, future commercial potential and match with the ANSIN aims. For further information and to download an Expression of Interest click here.

European Partnering

European Framework Programme offers a superb opportunity to bring added value to your enterprise. ANSIN has operational experience in these programmes and is keen to explore new European partnering opportunities.  We can support this through our business development funding, and facilitate external support for assistance with developing new partnerships, through to project writing and management.

Contact us

For further information, please contact Professor Robert Bowman at:

School of Mathematics and Physics
Queen’s University Belfast

T: 028 9097 3572
F: 028 9097 3110