The AFM (Atomic Force Microscopy) / NSOM (Near-Field Scanning Optical Microscopy) system is a piece of equipment that rarely gets downtime in our group. Its short turnaround time means the AFM/NSOM does the bulk of our sample characterization work. As an AFM microscope, topographical images of the sample surface are produced by moving a nanometer sized imaging tip across the sample close enough to the sample so that intermolecular forces repel the tip away from the sample. As a NSOM microscope, a laser is shown through an extremely small aperature and collected to produce images of the sample with higher resolutions than any optical microscope can offer.
The glovebox is a controlled environment where experimenters use the built in gloves to manipulate objects inside the box. Solar cell fabrication utilizes the pure nitrogen atmosphere to minimize the risk of oxidation or occurring to any delicate components.
The ESR (Electron Spin Resonance) spectrometer is used to detect the prescence of and identify certain highly reactive chemicals known as free radicals.
Nanoparticle size has a great impact on the properties nanoparticles have. Samples that have passed through industrial processing may have larger particle size tolerances than we do. Our grinder can help control solid particle size in our samples.
Liquid samples with suspended solids can be centrifuged to separate the solids from the liquids. This centrifuge has a maximum speed of 10,000 rpm. Our group uses centrifugation on samples where particle size matters, as even within nanoparticles there can be particles too large to have the properties we need.
Many semiconductor devices are composed of thin film multilayers. A spin coater is used to spread a layer of coating material onto a substrate through the centrifugal force generated from spinning. Group members working on semiconducting devices will find the spin coater fast and easy to use, making it invaluable.
This furnace has a maximum temperature of 1,200 °C, making it applicable to a variety of experiments that can be conducted in air. The tubular shape allows for glass tubes that are part of an external experiment to be passed through.
Our bath sonicator is the workhorse of countless experiments. Any item put into the 10 gallon water bath is blasted with 40kHz ultrasound to agitate and dislodge any small particles adhering to a surface. The DHA-1000, while designed for cleaning, is also effective at dispersing solid nanoparticles into liquids, making it an essential piece of equipment to nearly all group members' research.
Similar to the Ultrasonic Cleaner, this sonicator uses ultrasound waves to disperse solid nanoparticles into liquid. However, this sonicator works by submerging a metal tip vibrating at 40kHz into the sample liquid. The high wattage output of this sonicator means that samples are sonicated much faster than what can be achieved with a bath sonicator.
Spectrophotometry is a quick way to characterize thickness of a solid sample or concentration in a liquid sample. The DMS 80, in conjunction with a computer, provides the ability to measure transmittance of solid and liquid samples as a function of either wavelength or time.
Vacuum filtration is the technique used to deposit thin films of various nanomaterials onto a filter. From the filter, materials can be transferred to their final substrate. It is vacuum filtration that allows us to extract nanoparticles from liquid suspension to produce characterizable materials. It is also a core component of our water filtration research. Given its ubiquitous nature, vacuum filtration is a simple yet critical part of our research.