ANFF-Vic Biointerface Engineering Hub

The ANFF-Vic Biointerface Engineering Hub focuses on the use of synthetic and biological components to create materials and surfaces with new properties.

ANFF Vic logo

Applications of the technology include implantable devices, cell culture and environmental sensors.

The facility has a wide range of capabilities in surface modification including thin films, polymer grafting, biomolecule immobilisation and bioactive coatings in polymers, ceramics and metals.


The hub houses specialised equipment, including:

  • Spectroscopic Ellipsometer
  • Multivessel Dipcoater
  • Langmuir Blodgett trough
  • Plasma polymerisation reactors
  • Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM)
  • UV/Ozone cleaner.

Woollam M-2000XI Spectroscopic Ellipsometer

Spectroscopic ellipsometry is an optical characterisation technique used to determine the thickness of films. Polarised light is shined on the surface, reflected and received by the detector. The changes in polarisation also enable a number of other parameters to be determined, including roughness, crystalline nature, doping concentration and electrical conductivity. Swinburne’s ellipsometer can measure the thickness of films between 2nm and 3µm thick.

KSV-NIMA Multivessel Dipcoater

Dip coating is a process to deposit thin films from solution. The substrate is immersed and withdrawn from coating material at a constant speed.

A large variety of films can be produced by using either self-assembly, sol-gel chemistry or layer-by-layer assembly. Different properties of the film can be controlled by varying parameters such as the submersion time, withdrawal speed and number of cycles.

KSV NIMA medium Langmuir Blodgett trough

Swinburne’s Langmuir-Blodgett trough allows researchers to fabricate single molecule thick layers.

The monolayer film is created by adding amphiphilic molecules to the surface of water, then compressing the film to the desired density. A surface can then be dipped into the substrate. 

Plasma polymerisation reactors

Plasma polymerisation is a technique for modifying the surfaces of materials by adding a thin film which possesses specific functional groups. This technique can produce alkanes, alcohols, acids, amine thiols, PEO-like and fluorocarbons.

Plasma is produced by a glow discharge through an organic vapour. This is fragmented using radio frequency. The thickness, structure and surface functionalities of the film can be controlled by varying the plasma power, flow rate and deposition time.

Swinburne has six custom made plasma reactors, each designated for particular surface chemistries or applications. One of the reactors is heated, to enable the vaporisation of monomers with low volatility. 

Q-Sense E4 QCM with dissipation (QCM-D)

Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) is used to analyse surface phenomena such as thin film formation, interactions and reactions.

The QCM sensor oscillates at its resonance frequency by alternating voltage. The frequency of the sensor decreases when mass is attached to the sensor. QCM can be used to measure the interactions of proteins, polymers, surfactants and cells with surfaces in solution. 

Bioforce Nanosciences UV/Ozone cleaner

A UV/Ozone cleaner removes surface contamination to increase the wettability of surfaces.

It works by irradiating the surface with a mercury lamp, which generates energy in the ultra violet region. This decomposes oxygen molecules and produces ozone. This then decomposes into atomic oxygen, which cleans the surface.


Professor Sally McArthur
Phone: +61 3 9214 8452

Dr Karyn Jarvis
Phone: +61 3 9214 3898