Research Facilities

The Department of Physics and Astronomy houses world class research, computation and engineering facilities, as well as data centres for several major space missions. Click on the facility headings for more detailed information.

High Performance Computing


The Department hosts a high performance computing (HPC) facility providing both compute and data storage resources.



Advanced Microscopy Centre


The Advanced Microscopy Centre comprises of four instruments, a UHV STM, an SPM, a FEGSEM with EBSD and EDX and a TEM with EDX and the associated specimen preparation equipment for preparing thin foils or carbon replicas.



Leicester Database and Archive Service (LEDAS)


LEDAS provides an on-line astronomical database service and access to archive data from high energy astrophysics missions. In particular, LEDAS provides the primary means of access for the UK astronomical community to the ROSAT Public Data Archive, the ASCA Public Data Archive, the Ginga Products Archive and now to the Chandra Science Archive.


Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP)


The UK Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) is a collaborative project involving several UK universities. Ccurrently constructing a swarm SuperWASP telescopes capable of surveying the entire sky several times each night. Their primary aim is the discovery of extra-solar planets using the transit method.


The Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission (SWIFT)


Swift is part of NASA's medium explorer program, with the hardware being developed by an international team from the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy, with additional scientific involvement by France, Japan, Germany, Denmark, Spain, and South Africa. It is the first multi-wavelength observatory dedicated to the study of gamma-ray burst science.


XMM Newton Survey Science Centre (XMM-Newton SSC)


At 10 metres long, and just under 4 tonnes in weight, XMM-Newton is roughly the size of a single-decker bus. It was launched into space from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on December 10th 1999. Because of its size and weight it was launched on an Ariane-5, Europe's most powerful rocket. With XMM-Newton now in orbit, it can begin its task of observing at the X-rays produced by the hottest and most violent objects in the universe. These include rare objects in our own Galaxy, the Milky Way, such as neutron stars, black holes and the remnants of supernovae explosions.

National Space Centre


The award winning National Space Centre is the UK's largest attraction dedicated to space. From the minute you catch sight of the Space Centre's futuristic Rocket Tower, you 'll be treated to hours of breathtaking discovery and interactive fun.


Co-operative UK Twin Located Auroral Sounding System (CUTLASS)


CUTLASS is a new twin-station HF radar to study the high latitude ionosphere. The radar has been funded by the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) at a cost of £576,000, with additional contributions being made by Sweden and Finland. The system has been constructed by the Radio and Space Plasma Physics Group at Leicester University.


Space Plasma Exploration by Active Radar (SPEAR)


SPEAR is a new radar system currently being built by the Radio and Space Plasma Physics (RSPP) group at University of Leicester with funding from the UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC).


This revolutionary new radar system is designed to carry out research into the Earth's upper atmosphere and magnetosphere, in the vicinity of the polar cap.


Mechanical Workshop


The role of the workshop is to provide technical support to staff and students engaged in research programmes in the Department of Physics & Astronomy. We machine mechanical components to very high specification using conventional machining methods along side the latest in CAD/CAM technology. We also have welding facilities which allows us to fabricate many different components including ultra high vacuum vessels (UHV).


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Contact Details

Tel.: +44 (0)116 252 3506
Fax: +44 (0)116 252 2770

Department of Physics & Astronomy,
University of Leicester,
University Road,
Leicester, LE1 7RH,
United Kingdom.


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The University of Leicester is committed to equal access to our facilities. DisabledGo has a detailed accessibility guide for the Physics and Astronomy Building.