Science technical support

The Science Technical Support (STS) unit works together closely to develop and maintain the technology and scientific facilities needed to support Antarctic science.

STS has six work units:

Marine Science Support

Marine Science Support provides technical support for marine science. This includes everything from running a fleet of small boats, to administering the Division's dive program.

Technical Services

The Technical Services Group provides electronic and technical computing support for the Australian Antarctic Division science program including construction, maintenance, management and deployment of instrumentation systems for both marine and continental science programs. This includes equipment such as CTDs (conductivity, temperature, depth), underwater camera systems, atmospheric radars, LIDARs, tide gauges and data acquisition systems located on the ship, at the stations and at remote field sites. In support of this work, the Technical Services Group also manages the electronics laboratory, which contains electronics assembly and test equipment as well as environmental test chamber facilities.

STS Design

The STS Design Group is responsible for the design of instrumentation and equipment for scientific programs undertaken by the Australian Antarctic Division and other agencies as part of Australia's Antarctic Program. This equipment and instrumentation includes ice radar systems, ultra-low power automatic weather stations, underwater oceanographic equipment, optical and RF systems used in atmospheric and space physics.

STS Design Group provides engineering design expertise to the Australian Antarctic Division science program as well as internal and external clients, covering electronics design and manufacture, scientific instrumentation and software design. The STS Design Group has specialised skills in electronic systems, software and mechatronics.

Instrument workshop

The instrument workshop designs, manufactures, modifies and repairs mechanical instruments for everything from moving mirrors in a LIDAR system, with accuracies of billionths of a metre, through to making drills to sample ice a kilometre from the surface of the Antarctic ice sheet.

Electron Microscope Unit

The Electron Microscopy Unit has two electron microscopes which are often used in tandem, particularly for biological research. We have a Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FESEM) for studying surface details, a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) for studying specimen ultrastructure and associated preparation equipment for biological samples.


Laboratory Services maintains the laboratories and their equipment at the Antarctic stations, on ships, and at our headquarters in Kingston.