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The Department of Materials of the Imperial College is the oldest and largest department of its kind in the UK. Departmental research and teaching in materials science and engineering are exceptionally broad both in terms of the materials studied - metals, ceramics, polymers, glasses, composites, semiconductors nanomaterials and biomaterials, and in terms of the disciplines embraced - physics, chemistry and many engineering disciplines. New materials, such as high temperature superconductors, 'smart' materials, hybrid and composites, bioactive materials and nano-materials are continually being researched and developed. The department comprises several Research Groups, with over 120 staff and about 250 undergraduate and postgraduate students. It has world-class experimental facilities in areas of processing and characterisation of materials, including the Materials Processing and Characterization (MPAC) laboratory housing large scale processing equipment and the Harvey Flower Electron Microscopy suite; and physical characterization laboratories accommodating surface analysis (SIMS and FIB-SIMS), XRD, thermal methods and X-ray Microtomography.