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Characterization Facility

The Characterization Facility ("CharFac") is a multi-user, shared instrumentation facility for materials research spanning from nanotechnology to biology and medicine. Our analytical capabilities include microscopy via electron beams, force probes and visible light; elemental and chemical imaging including depth profiling; elemental, chemical and mass spectroscopy; atomic and molecular structure analysis via X-ray, ion or electron scattering; nanomechanical and nanotribological probes; and other tools for surface and thin-film metrology. CharFac resides administratively under the College of Science and Engineering with additional support from the Medical School. Well over 100 faculty research programs use our capabilities; these researchers originate from dozens of University of Minnesota departments under several colleges. We also work with some 60 industrial companies in a typical year, ranging from small start-ups to multinational corporations; these interactions include analytical service, training for independent use, and research collaboration. Finally, we are supported by the National Science Foundation as a key node in the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network to work with external academic institutions including research universities, 4-year colleges, technical colleges, and K-12 schools

 

Instruments

  1. 2 meter – 2D Area Detector

    Description:

    This small-angle scattering beamline incorporates high-flux optics, in situ control of sample temperature, and an area detector.  The intense beam generated by this instrument makes it ideal for obtaining time-resolved measurements, such as crystallization behavior, phase transformation kinetics, and response to mechanical deformation.  Samples can be analyzed in many forms, including solutions, fibers, films, and powders.

  2. 6 meter - 2D Area Detector

    Description:

    Small-angle x-ray scattering is useful for structural analysis of liquid crystal, microemulsions and polymer films.  The six meter small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) line combines cross-coupled multilayer parallel beam optics, pinhole collimation and a long sample-to-detector distance to create a system with high resolution at low Bragg angles.  In addition to the regular sample holder there is the option of simultaneous SAXS and rheometry (shearing), differential scanning calorimetry, or mechanical manipulation of the sample.

  3. Agilent 5500 environmental SPM plus high-speed force-curve mapping and multifrequency methods
    • Closed-loop large scanner (90 x 90 x 13 µm) and open-loop small scanner (10 x 8 x 3 µm)
    • Witec Digital Pulsed Force Mode electronics for fast force-curve mapping modes (akin to Bruker's PeakForce tapping)
    • Agilent MACIII electronics (multifrequency methods: bimodal, contact resonance, single-pass EFM/KFM)
  4. Agilent 5500 environmental SPM plus inverted light microscope

    Specifications:

    • Zeiss inverted light microscope and adapter for SPM attachment
    • Both acoustic and magnetic (MAC) cantilever excitations are available for dynamic modes.
  5. Auger Electron Spectroscopy
    • Sample Imaging with ~ 2 µm resolution
    • Auger elemental mapping
    • Multi-spot surface analysis
    • Thin Film Elemental Depth Profiling to ~ 1µm using ion beam sputtering
    • Auger Spatial Resolution to ~ 10 µm
    • Multi-sample handling
  6. Bruker Nanoscope V Multimode 8 with QNM

    Specifications:

    • Nikon optical microscope with CCD and image capture for tip positioning.
    • Nano-K Biscuit vibration isolation platform.
    • Maximum scan size 150 x 150 µm laterally and 5.3 µm vertically.
  7. Bruker-AXS Microdiffractometer

    Specifications:

    • Bruker-AXS Microdiffractometer with 2.2 kW Sealed Cu X-ray Source
    • Incident Beam Monochromater
    • 1/4 circle Eulerian Cradle Sample Holder
    • Hi-Star 2-D Area Detector
    • Temperature Control (-20° to 200° C)
    • Optional Chromium X-Ray Source
  8. Cold Field Emission Gun Scanning Electron Microscope

    A Cold Field Emission Gun Scanning Electron Microscope (FEGSEM) of "below‑the‑lens" design capable of (manufacturer's claims) 1.5 nm resolution at 15 kV, 12 mm W.D.; and 2.5 nm resolution at 1 k, 2.5 mm W.D.  Magnification ranges from 30X to 500,000X.  Specimen tilt at 12 mm W.D.

  9. Confocal Raman Microscope

    Description:

  10. Diffractometer

    Description:

    The Bruker D8 Discover is a Cu Kα radiation point source, two dimensional x-ray diffractometer that specializes in spatially resolved x-ray diffraction analysis and x-ray diffraction on very small sample volumes.  This diffractometer is ideal for inhomogenous samples, small devices, and three-dimensional objects where discrete regions of a sample are required for x-ray diffraction analysis.

  11. Diffractometer

    Description:

  12. FEI Tecnai G2 F30

    Specifications:

    • The Tecnai G2 F30 field emission gun transmission electron microscope combines all imaging, diffraction, and analytical techniques at high spatial resolution and detection efficiency.  The high-brightness, high-coherency gun allows large electron probe currents to be focused onto nanometer-sized areas of the specimen.
  13. Field Emission Gun Cryo Transmission Electron Microscope

    This is a field-emission gun Transmission Electron Microscope operable up to 300kV.  The high-brightness, high coherency gun allow large electron probe currents to be focused onto nanometer sized areas of the specimen.  High tilt capabilities (up to 70°) allow crystallography studies.  It is equipped with an Electron Energy-Loss Gatan Imaging Filter to study low-Z elements.  Images can be recorded using two different CCD cameras or f

  14. Field Emission Gun Scanning Electron Microscope
    • High resolution secondary electron imaging; backscatter electron imaging; energy dispersive spectroscopy; electron backscatter diffraction; and cathodoluminescence
    • Thermally-assisted field-emission gun
    • Accelerating voltage from 0.5 to 30 kV
    • Lateral resolution of 1.5 nm
  15. Field Emission Gun Scanning Electron Microscope

    Description:

    A cold field-emission gun Scanning electron microscope (FEG-SEM).  It operates at 0.5 to 30 kV with an ultimate resolution of 1.0 nm, and a magnification range of 10x to 700,000x.  Available image modes include secondary and backscattered electron imaging.

  16. Field Emission Gun Transmission Electron Microscope

    A field emission gun transmission electron microscope (FEG-TEM) with an operating voltage range of 50 to 300 kV.  The high-brightness, high-coherency gun allows large electron probe currents to be focused onto nanometer-sized areas of the specimen.  Capabilities include energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS), STEM imaging and mapping, and a CCD camera that allows magnification of thin sam

  17. Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR)

    Description:

    FTIR spectroscopy is used for structural characterization of organic and inorganic molecules in solids, liquids, gases, and on surfaces.  Qualitative and quantitative information about the molecule may be obtained.

  18. Ion Beam Analysis

    Ion Beam Analysis (IBA) uses a high-energy, light ion beam (typically He++, i.e., nuclei: alpha particles) to probe elemental composition as a function of depth to several microns with a depth resolution of 50-200 angstroms.  It is a fast, nondestructive (i.e., nonsputtering) and standardless technique to quantify the absolute atomic ratios (stoichiometry) in compounds or mixtures, insensitive to their chemical environments.  It can also determine the film thickness given knowledge of atomic density, or density (i.e., porosity) give

  19. Microdiffractometer

    Description:

    Wide-angle X-ray scattering is used to study structural characteristics and to identify powders, thin films, and crystals.

  20. micromechanical tester

    The mechanical response of a small volume of material near the surface of a sample is studied by probing the surface with a diamond indenter of known geometry.  A piezoelectric transducer drives the indenter into the sample surface while load, depth of penetration, and displacement data are continuously collected.

  21. Microscopic Contact Angle Meter

    Description:

  22. NanoIndenter

    The NanoIndenter performs indentation tests by driving a diamond indenter into the specimen surface and dynamically collecting the applied force and displacement data.  Material properties are derived from the load and depth data.  Specimens are typically relatively smooth and flat.

  23. Nanoscope V Multimode 8

    Specifications:

    • Nikon optical microscope with CCD and image capture for tip positioning.
    • Nano-K Biscuit vibration isolation platform.
  24. Panalytical X'Pert Pro

    Description:

    The Panalytical X'Pert Diffractometer is a highly advanced, versatile materials characterization system.  Interchangeable PreFIX incident and diffracted beam optics can be configured for optimal measurement of high resolution scans, reflectivity experiments, or for in-plane diffraction.

  25. Spectroscopic Ellipsometer

    Description:

  26. Tencor P10 Profilometer
    • Vertical range from under 50 Å to 130µm at <0.1-, and 1-Å vertical data resolution.
    • Photo-realistic rendering of the scan data in three dimensions.
    • Measurement of many roughness and waviness parameters.
  27. Theta-Theta Diffractometer

    Description:

    Wide-angle X-ray scattering is used to study structural characteristics and to identify powders, thin films, and crystals.  Data analysis is performed using Materials Data Incorporated's JADE 7.0 software package with whole pattern fitting.  Phase identification is possible using ICDD's PDF-4 database.

  28. Transmission Electron Microscope

    Description:

  29. Transmission Electron Microscope

    A transmission electron microscope (TEM) with an operating voltage range of 20 to 120 kV.  Capabilities include magnifications of thin samples (<200 nm) up to 700,000 times, an energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) system, a Gatan MSC794 CCD camera for digital image acqusition, and a video camera for video-rate recording at moderate magnifications.

  30. Transmission Electron Microscope

    The Tecnai G2 Spirit BioTWIN, a 20-120 kV / LaB6 Transmission Electron Microscope, is a general-purpose instrument that is specifically suited for low contrast samples.  It enables the user to explore the native state of low-contrast, beam-sensitive biological specimens, or other soft materials like polymers.  Samples can be unstained or stained.  The lens design guarantees maximum contrast.  Our Tecnai Spirit is cryo-capable.

  31. Transmission Electron Microscope

    Specifications:

    • High-resolution brightfield imaging of biological and non-biological samples; electron diffraction and darkfield imaging of materials
    • Tungsten filament gun
    • Accelerating voltage from 40kV to 120kV
    • Low magnification range from 50x to 1,000x; standard magnification range from 600x to 500,000x
    • Resolution 0.34 nm or better
    • Single and double tilt holders; side-entry eucentric goniometer stage which allows for specimen tilting ~+/- 60 degrees
  32. Triboindenter

    The Triboindenter performs indentation tests by driving a diamond indenter into the specimen surface and dynamically collecting the applied force and displacement data.  Material properties are derived from the load and depth data.  Specimens are typically relatively smooth and flat.

  33. Video-Enhanced Microscope (VEM)

    Description:

    Our "Video Enhanced Microscope" consists of a Nikon Optiphot light microscope along with a new Canon SL1 digital camera.

    The Nikon microscope has capabilities for transmitted light (brightfield and polarized) along with reflected light (brightfield, darkfield, polarized and DIC) illumination modes. Objectives available are 5x, 10x, 20x, and 50x dry, along with a 100x oil immersion (numerical aperture of 1.25).

  34. X-Ray Diffractometer

    Description:

    Wide-angle x-ray scattering is used to study structural characteristics and to identify solids, powders, thin films, and solutions.  Data analysis is performed using Materials Data Incorporated's JADE 8.0 software package with whole pattern fitting.  Phase identification is possible using ICDD's PDF-4 database.

  35. X-Ray Diffractometer

    Description:

    Wide-angle x-ray scattering is used to study structural characteristics and to identify powders, thin films, crystals, and solutions.  Data analysis is performed using Materials Data Incorporated's JADE 7.0 software package with whole pattern fitting.  Phase identification is possible using ICDD's PDF-4 database.  The 40 position sample changer can be used to analyze a large number of samples automatically.

  36. X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (ESCA)

    Specifications:

    • Non-monochromatic Mg/Al K-α X-ray source
    • Surface Analysis and Chemical Depth Profiling using ion beam sputtering
    • Spatial Resolution ~2 mm
    • Energy Resolution to ~1.3 eV
    • Sample Handling single sample with either room temperature or Hot (~350°C) and Cold (~ -50°C) stages
  37. X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (ESCA)

    Specifications:

    • Variable analysis spot size adjustable from 50 µm through 800 µm.
    • High throughput bent quartz crystal monochromated Al Kα x-rays.
    • High efficiency large collection angle electron lens system.
    • High resolution position sensitive detector for parallel data collection.
    • Angle resolved spectroscopy.
    • Energy resolution < 0.8 eV from 0 – 1000 eV binding energy.