INL relies on a high-tech research environment formed by state-of-the-art and instrumentation. Its 22.000 square meters of research area is equipped with the latest technologies to address the major challenges in nanofabrication nanocharacterization and other Nanotechnologies applied to environmental & food control, Nanomedicine and nanoelectronics.


Wide-field Fluorescense Microscope for Life Sciences

Manufacturer: Nikon; Model: Ti-E. This microscope provides fast and completely automated fluorescence imaging capabilities. It also offers a variety of contrast enhancing techniques for transmitted light image formation of living biological specimens. Fluorescence excitation is provided by a high performance broadband Xenon light source integrated with a fast filter wheel coupled via a liquid light guide to the microscope. Light is detected with a scientific complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (sCMOS) sensor (NEO, Andor Technology), providing full-frame rates up to 100Hz at read-out noise levels comparable to electron multiplying charge coupled (emCCD) cameras. This detector, in combination with piezo controlled Z movement, an environmental control chamber and a deconvolution software package (Huygens, Scientific Volume Imaging), provides a state-of-the-art platform for the study of fluorescence dynamics in living cells.


Micro-Volume Fluorospectrometer

Thermo Scientific Nanodrop 3300 - Measurement of fluorescent samples as small as 1 µL with the possiblity to analyze multiple emission profiles from a single sample. Diverse applications such as DNA, RNA or protein quantification.


Thermocycler (PCR)

Veriti Thermal Cycler - Instrument used to amplify segments of targeted DNA via the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) process (end-point PCR), that enables standard as well as fast cycling, it is equipped with six independent temperature blocks providing control over PCR optimization.


Real-time PCR

Applied Biosystems Step One Plus - Instrumentation to perform real-time polymerase chain reaction, or quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), allows the simultaneous amplification and quantification of one or more specific sequences of DNA. Among its applications: Gene Detection, SNP Genotyping, Gene Expression Analysis, MicroRNA Expression, Protein Expression, Translocation Analysis, Viral Load Analysis.


Microfluidics Electrophoresis

Agilent 2100 Bio Analyzer - Microfluidics-based platform for sizing, quantification and quality control of DNA, RNA, proteins and cells. Uses such as: RNA quality check with RIN (RNA Integrity Number), DNA size and quantity or as SDS-PAGE (sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis) replacement for protein analysis.


Vertical autoclave

Fully automatic vertical steam sterilizer to provide safe, economical and effective sterilization of solid and liquid materials.


Orbital incubator

This incubated/refrigerated units are used to perform operations where controled temperature and agitation are needed. It is ideal for cell culture, such as cell culturing


Biosafety cabinet

A biosafety cabinet (BSC) provides an enclosed, ventilated laboratory workspace for safely working with materials contaminated (or potentially contaminated), with pathogens requiring a defined biosafety level. Its primary purpose is to protect the laboratory and surronding environment from pathogens.


Micro-Volume Spectrophotometer

Nanodrop 2000c - Dual-mode UV-Vis spectrophotometer with micro-volume measurement (1 µL) and cuvette capability (1 mL) for nucleic acid and protein quantitation.


Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope

Manufaturer: Zeiss; Model: LSM780. INL operates a laser scanning confocal microscope optimized for the study of cellular fluorescence. Fluorescence excitation is achieved through a laser rack with an Argon laser and several solid state lasers, providing a total of six excitation wavelengths covering the visible spectrum (405, 488, 514, 532, 561 and 633nm). Fluorescence is detected by the Zeiss 34 channel Quasar detector, consisting of a regular multi-alkali photomultiplier tube (PMT), a cooled PMT and a 32 channel Gallium-Arsenide-Phosphide (GaAsP) detector, providing state-of-the-art detection in detection sensitivity for confocally detected fluorescence. Transmitted light image formation can be performed in confocal and wide-field mode through a transmitted light PMT detector and differential interference contrast mechanism respectively. The study of live cells over long periods of time is made possible through an integrated climate chamber providing a 37oC and 5% CO2 atmosphere. A user-friendly software package provides highly automated data acquisition and image processing functionality.


Electron Beam Lithography

Vistec 5200 ES 100 kV - The electron-beam lithography system is designed for high resolution fabrication and placement of patterns written directly on substrates up to 200mm. The system is also very capable of writing optical masks for contact and projection lithography. It allows exposure of structures with minimum dimensions below 10nm, on Si and other substrates (glass, SiO2) with High current density Thermal Field Emission gun for operation at 20, 50 and 100 kV.


High-resolution SEM Metrology

The NovaNanoSEM 650 is a key characterization system for the analysis of nanoscale materials and structures, being capable of handling multiple sample/wafer sizes up to 8inch. This instrument uses a cold field emission electron source and can achieve an ultimate resolution of 1.0 nm at 15 kV and 2.0 nm at 1 kV. It has two secondary electron detectors with accelerating voltages from 0.5 – 30 kV. Operation and image-display are computer-controlled with image-processing software also included. The vacuum system includes 3 sets of ion pumps on the electron beam column and a turbomolecular pump on the sample chamber. The NovaNano SEM is fully integrated with an automation software to enable the full automation of the scanning electron microscope for metrology recipe creation, image and edge recognition, scanning and stage movements.


Direct Write Laser Lithography System

The DWL2000 is a high resolution, laser-based maskless optical lithography system. It has the capability of exposing at two different wavelengths: 405nm and 375nm, with digital design information on 25nm writeable address grid. It writes directly on photoresist-coated quartz or sodalime mask blanks as well as on wafers as large as 200mm. The maximum speed is 105 mm^2 per minute, with a 700nm minimum structure size. It has the option to autofocus either pneumatically or optically, with programmable scripts for automatic measurements of critical dimensions. The DWL is mainly used for research and development of new designs as well as for production of masks to be used by other systems such as steppers and mask aligners.


Mask Aligner

Karl Suss MA6 BA6 - Mask aligners are used to transfer masks onto substrates coated with photoresist. It is a high resolution contact mask aligner, with sub-micron feature capability in positive tone resists. In addition to the highly accurate top-side alignment capability, it can perform bottom-side alignment with the use of a second alignment microscope, offering superior performance to IR-based systems used elsewhere for backside alignment. The versatile mask holder allows both round and square plates as masks, and the sample plate accommodates small and odd-shaped substrates.


Photoresist tracks

Karl Suss Gamma Cluster - The cluster tracks enable automatic spin coating and develop process of up to 200 mm wafers for multi-layer and thick resist coating. There are two separate tracks, one for optical resist and a second one for electronbeam resists. Both systems include a submicron Coater module with pivoting dispense arm, top and bottom EBR, puddle and spray development chamber, programmable exhaust flow controller, temperature controlled lines, and drain full sensor. These systems are capable of processing up to 25 wafers in one batch.


HMDS Priming and Image Reversal Oven

HDMS Priming allows maximum adhesion of Photoresist over wafer surface and the reversal Oven creates an undercut profile in the photoresist for liftoff processing by NH3 (ammonia) gas.


Wet Benches and Fume Hoods

Wet Benches are stations for wet etching and cleaning of wafers and devices. The various wet benches differ in the specific process modules available and the materials allowed at each station. INL is equipped with Wet benches for post lithography steps such as resist stripping, lift-off, metal and oxide etching.


Chemical Mechanical Polishing and Planarization Tool

Logitech ORBIS - Chemical mechanical planarization is a process that can smoothen topography or various materials It is used to planarize oxide, poly silicon or metal layers in order to prepare them for post-lithographic steps, avoiding depth focus problems during illumination of photosensitive layers. The tool includes a two-carrier system for polishing and planarizing single wafers with diameters up to 200mm as well as for coupons and part wafers (irregular-shaped samples).


Multitarget Sputtering Tool (200 mm)

Singulus, Timaris - The Multi-target physical vapor deposition cluster tool is especially designed for deposition of ultra–thin films, magnetic films, high–quality metallic, conductive and insulating films and multiple film stack deposition comprising these materials without the need to break ultra-high vacuum. The system is a UHV single wafer cluster tool and consists of one transport module, one multi-target PVD module and one soft etch/ oxidation module. It is capable of depositing different magnetic and non–magnetic layers on wafers with diameters up to 200mm by DC/RF Magnetron Sputtering (or Ion Beam Sputtering), with good uniformity for the deposited stacks.


CNT Deposition Tool (PECVD, 800C)

Roth and Rau Microsystems, MicroSys 400 - A dedicated CVD equipment for carbon nanotube growth on wafers with process flexibility to grow various aspect ratios for applications such as field emission sources, bio sensors and microfluidics among others.This Nanoscale Growth System delivers high performance growth of nanotubes and nanowires with in-situ catalyst activation and rigorous process control with flexible temperature up to 700°C.


PECVD Oxides, Oxynitrides, and a-Si:H

SPTS MPX CVD - Tool dedicated to silicon oxide and silicon nitride deposition by Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition (PECVD). It has a single wafer processing chamber and dual high/low frequency RF options. It uses a plasma to enhance the chemical reaction rates of the precursors, which allows deposition of thin films at lower temperatures (typically<350°C) than conventional CVD systems.


Metallization and Passivation Sputtering Tool (Al, TiWN, Al2O3)

Singulus, FTM - A system for rapid physical vapour deposition, by DC/RF Magnetron Sputtering. This cluster tool consists of a central dealer, a 200 mm-cassette load lock, a soft-etch module, a three-target linear module (AlSiCu, TiN, SiO2 or AlOx) with two DC and one RF sources, and a soft etch module.


Oxide Reactive Ion Etching

SPTS APS - A system for Reactive Ion Etching consisting of a load lock for 200mm diameter wafers and a process chamber for anisotropic etching of silicon oxide, silicon nitride, polysilicon, and other materials such as amorphous Si, using a plasma source and fluorine chemistry. The process chamber is of metallic construction and is heated to reduce the level of deposition on it. The system has an optimised geometry to improve plasma confinement, which further increases the plasma density above the wafer and also hinders undesirable deposition inside the chamber.


Al (TiW) Reactive Ion Etching

SPTS ICP - A system for reactive ion etching consisting of a load lock for 200mm wafers and a process chamber for anisotropic etching of AlSiCu and TiN, using an Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) and chlorine based chemistry. The ICP process module delivers high density plasma using a conventional radial ICP coil design that ensures uniform plasma. Through the use of a low-pressure operating window, anisotropic profiles can be achieved. The control of ion bombardment at the wafer surface by varying the bias power ensures low damage and a controllable etch process.


Broad Beam Ion Milling System with SIMS end point detection

Nordiko 7500 - A system for material removal by ion milling which includes a load lock for single wafer loading or for cassettes of 200mm wafers and a process chamber. It is an advanced automatic vacuum coating system designed for the deposition of dielectric and metallic films. The unique system provides excellent geometry within wafer non-uniformity of material deposition on substrates up to 200 mm.


Multitarget Confocal Sputtering Tool

Kenosystec - A multi-target UHV sputtering system consisting of a deposition chamber with 11 2” diameter magnetrons in confocal geometry for the co-deposition of materials, optimized wafers of up to 200m in diameter.


Si Deep Reactive Ion Etching

SPTS Pegasus - The Deep Si-Etching System uses the Bosch process to cut deep, high aspect ratio channels in silicon. The system consists of a single wafer load lock and a process chamber for the anisotropic etching of Si trenches and through wafer vias. Used primarily for MEMs devices, common materials uses in this etcher are silicon wafers, photoresist and thin films of silicon dioxide and silicon nitride. This ICP System uses fluorine-based gases for anisotropic deep silicon trench etching. The 13.56 MHz RF system produces a high-density, low-pressure, low-energy inductively coupled plasma. This type of plasma allows high selectivity and aspect ratio etching for depths greater than 250 microns.


Contact Profilometer

KLA TENCOR P-16+ - The contact profilometer is a surface metrology analysis tool which provides stylus profiling analysis of surface topography. The tool is capable of performing automated step height analysis, surface contour measurements, waviness and roughness measurement with detailed 2D or 3D analysis of topography for a variety of surfaces and materials.


Four-Probe Resistivity Mapper

A four-probe tester, automatic system to measure Sheet Resistance and Resistivity of wafers, up to 200mm in diameter. The tool contains data analysis functions such as: Data Map, 3D Contour Maps, Diameter Scan, Trend Analysis, etc. Measurements range from 1mΩ/sq to 2MOhm/sq, resistivity between 10μΩ.cm to 200 kΩ.cm and the electronic accuracy remains in 0.5% for V/I.


Plasma asher

The PVA Tepla GIGAbatch 360M is a system designed for Photoresist ashing. When compared to RF sources, plasma-induced damage resulting from microwave (MW) plasma processes is significantly lower making such technique more suitable and selective when ashing photoresist and other polymers. This technique also presents theoretical infinite selectivity of resist strip with respect to metals and oxides / nitrides; This system uses Microwave (MW) plasma operating at 2.45 GHz with typical process pressure ranges from 0.6 – 1.5 mbar. It allows single and batch mode processing of 200 mm substrates (up to 25 slices). Main applications are for photoresist ashing after dry etching processes (endpoint detection included), surface cleaning before subsequent processes and removal of organic passivation and sacrificial layers; Gases available: O2, N2, Ar, and CF4.


Optical Profilometer/Interferometer

Oceon Optics NanoCalc XR


Micro Spotter

Scenion SciFlexArrayer S3 consists of XYZ-stages with spindle drives, a piezo dispensing unit and precision equipment for liquid handling. The system handles volumes from picoliters up to several microliters. The applications comprise DNA, protein, glycan arraying and biosensor loading; Cell transfection arrays; MALDI-MS sample preparation and target loading; Accurate dilution series and addition of tiny aliquots; Printing chemical libraries; Spotting onto disc format (round targets) and customized targets; Assay development and screening assays; Microarray-based analysis.


Contact Angle Measurement

Kruss, DSA 100E - Equipment for fully-automatic determination of contact angle and surface free energy. Applications include contact angle measurements on non-porous and porous solids as static or dynamic measurements, or as a function of time (e.g. for adsorption processes); Determination of the surface free energy of non-porous and porous solids based on contact angle measurements; Determination of the polar and disperse fractions of the surface free energy; Determination of adhesion energies.


Dicing Saw

The Disco DAD 3350 tool is an automated dicing saw, adequate for wafers and sample parts up to 200 mm, with a maximum blade rotation of 60 krpm. It can dice Silicon wafers as well as 2.5 mm glass masks. A highly adhesive plastic UV-release tape allows secure dicing of Silicon dies down to 0.5 mm. Blade used for coarse die separation is 250 µm in width, but thinner blades of 40 µm can be used depending on the application. The software allows for programming complex sequences of distances between cuts, depth of cut, length of cut and angles. When alignment markers are present on a sample, a pattern-recognition software can be used so that the alignment and dicing can be made without human interaction.


Wire Bonders/Pick and Place

Two TPT HB 16 are available. Regular use of Gold wedge bond and ball bond (25 µm wire, sample heated at 120 °C) are possible, while Aluminum wedge bond (wire 25 µm and 17 µm, room-temperature bonding) are also available. Manual die bonder and manual pick-and-place capabilities are available. Chip carriers with row spacing 15 mm and 7.5 mm as well as flat samples can be fit onto the sample holder, fixed mechanically or using a vacuum chuck.


Hot wall Chemical Vapour Deposition Tool

CVD Nano - EasyTube 3000 from FirstNano-CVD Corporation is a three zone hot wall quartz tube furnace designed for graphene growth on 4”-wafers or on rectangular substrates up to 4” × 8” in area, with uniform and precise temperature control. Processes can be run at atmospheric pressure or in vacuum at a maximum working temperature of 1100 °C. Process gases available are methane, hydrogen, argon and ammonia. Hydrogen is used also as carrier gas for the solid source precursor source. The system has a load-lock to avoid contamination of the process tube, also allowing for hot load/unload. Processes are recipe driven, fully automatic, controlled by CVDWinPRC™ software running on PC and communicating with PLC for optimum safety and process documentation/repeatability.


X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy

Thermo Scientific Escalab 250 Xi is an analytical X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) system with multi-technique capability (UPS/REELS/ISS) able to produce high-resolution spectra for quantitative surface analysis of areas between <20 µm and >2 mm in size. Spectroscopic surface characterization is complemented by the ability to produce elemental or chemical maps with lateral resolution of <10 µm and to perform depth profiling both non-destructively (using angle-resolved XPS) and destructively (using ion beam sputtering). The system is equipped with a Monatomic and Gas Cluster Ion Source (MAGCIS), which can produce beams of monoatomic Argon ions or ionized clusters of Argon atoms. MAGCIS thus enables depth profiling of inorganic/solid materials and of biological/organic or other soft materials. The cluster ion mode of MAGCIS also provides an option for removing adventitious contamination with minimal damage to the underlying material.



Helios 450S (FEI) - Workstation combining Scanning Electron Microscope and Focused Ion Beam for nanoprototyping, nano-machining, nano-analysis and advanced sample preparation. Simultaneously images are achieved with the electron beam at ultra-high resolution using a Schottky field emitter while at the same time thinning with the ion beam using a liquid Gallium ion emitter.


X-ray Thin Film/Reflectometry

PanAnalytical X Pert PRO MRD system - An X-Ray Diffractometer, a non-destructive technique used for analytical tasks such as grazing incidence, in-plane diffraction, reciprocal space mapping, reflectometry, and small-angle scattering for thin film research; studying layer thickness, lattice constants, lattice mismatch, periodicity, mosaic spreads, lattice stress and strain, composition, etc. Applications include optics, nanotechnology storage media, polymers, metals, minerals, catalysts, plastics, pharmaceuticals, thin-film coatings, ceramics, and semiconductors.


Atomic Force Microscope - Materials

Bruker Dimension Icon with Scan Assyst - The AFM system has been designed from top to bottom to deliver the revolutionary low drift and low noise that allows users to achieve artifact-free high-quality images in minutes. The Dimension Icon AFM is equipped with proprietary ScanAsyst™ automatic image optimization technology, which enables easier, faster, and more consistent results. With the NanoScope V Controller, the Dimension Icon is able to display and capture up to eight images simultaneously with a signal-to-noise ratio. This fifth-generation controller delivers high-speed data capture and high-pixel-density images (5120 x 5120) in eight channels simultaneously, allowing researchers to record and analyze tip-sample interactions that probe nanoscale events at time scales.


Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM)

The Quanta 650 FEG (FEI) is a field emission scanning electron microscope capable of generating and collecting all available information from any type of sample material: it is the most versatile high-resolution low-vacuum FEG SEM with extended low-vacuum capabilities for really challenging samples and for dynamic experiments. The Quanta 650 FEG can freely and simply be switched between three vacuum modes, which enables the investigation of conductive, non-conductive and high-vacuum incompatible materials: High-vacuum mode (<6*10-4 Pa) for imaging and microanalysis of conductive and/or conventionally prepared specimens; Low-vacuum mode (10 to 130 Pa) for imaging and microanalysis of non-conductive specimens without preparation; and ESEM mode (130 to 2600 Pa) for high-vacuum incompatible specimens which are impossible to investigate with traditional electron microscopy methods and for dynamic experiments. With the Peltier stage it is possible to cool samples between 0 and 10 °C, thus specimens of very diverse nature can be imaged and analyzed at relative humidity conditions of up to 100% (typical chamber pressures required are in the range 300-1000 Pa). In-situ freeze-drying can be performed when the temperature range of the Peltier stage is set below 0°C with a minimum of –20 °C. The Peltier stage can also heat the sample up to ~60°C. For the dynamic heating experiments, a 1500 ºC heating stage as well as a 1000 ºC heating stage enables experiments on the in-situ morphological sample changes during heating. In the case of the dynamic experiments the temperature and the ramp-up profile are directly controlled through the Quanta user interface.


Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS)

Anton Paar SAXSess mc2 - Small-angle X-ray Scattering is a non-destructive method in which the incoming X-ray beam interacts with the electrons of all atoms in the sample, resulting in a so-called “scattering pattern” (X-ray intensities vs scattering angles). From such a pattern, we can derive information on characteristic sizes, shape, internal structure, cristallinity and porosity of nanomaterials. The X-ray source is sealed-tube type (line and point collimation). The optics consists of a focusing graded multilayer mirror. The equipment includes TCS temperature-controlled (-150 °C to 300 °C; ± 0.1 °C) and GISAXS sample stages. Liquids, solids and pastes can be measured. A flow cell is also available for automatic measurements and reaction monitoring. The X-ray detector is image-plate type for 2D data acquisition. The measurable scattering vector range is 0.03 nm-1 -28 nm-1, corresponding to a Bragg distance (d) range 200 nm > d > 0.1 nm..


Atomic Force Microscope - BioScience

JPK NanoWizard 3 - INL operates an atomic force microscope (AFM) optimized for bioscience, i.e. designed for optimal operation in liquid media. It provides a vapour barrier, encapsulated piezos and a variety of dedicated liquid cells for applications ranging from single molecules to living cells. The JPK Nanowizard 3 is integrated with an inverted optical microscope (Ti-S, Nikon) via suitable condenser optics and a fully motorized sample translation stage. The JPK HyperDrive mode-of-operation provides the capability for imaging soft samples in liquid at sub-nm resolution with minimized tip-sample interactions and the JPK Quantitative Imaging (QI) mode performs AFM imaging without exerting lateral force, ideal for soft, sticky, or loosely attached samples. At the end of September 2013, the JPK NanoWizard 3 has been integrated by INL with a new type of fluorescence sectioning module (DSD, Andor Technology), providing depth-resolved fluorescence imaging with a metal-halide broadband white light source that distinguishes this optical sectioning apparatus from a laser scanning confocal microscope. The JPK DirectOverlay software module provides super-pixel registration of fluorescence and AFM images.


Probe Corrected HRTEM

Titan 200 kV ChemiStem (FEI), with Probe Cs corrector - Titan ChemiSTEM is the state-of-the-art, 80-200 kV FEG Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope of the Titan G2 family with TEM, STEM, EFTEM and EELS modes. Cs DCOR Probe Corrector 200 kV: Cs probe corrector, using dodecapole elements allowing for aberration correction up to the 4th order and optimization of the 5th order. BF and DF images can be acquired simultaneously together with the HAADF image. The BF/DF on-axis detector consists of three solid-state detectors; 1x bright field (BF) and 2x dark field (DF2 and DF4). Super-X EDX System: The integration of four windowless Silicon Drift Detector (SDD) symmetrically placed around the sample offering 0.7 srad collection angle and 120 mm2 detector size provides the ideal EDX detector for use with FEI’s DCOR probe corrector. The collection time for STEM/EDX elemental maps in fast mapping mode is decreased significantly and the detection sensitivity for light elements as well as low concentrations is greatly enhanced, thus providing superior sensitivity and unrivaled speed in EDX analysis and fast EDX mapping. EELS/EFTEM: Gatan Energy Filter, Quantum and the EFTEM EELS module included. Electron tomography: Special tomography sample holder, software for the acquisition of Tomography data in TEM and STEM, software for alignment and reconstruction and visualization. The main optical specifications in S/TEM for the Titan ChemiSTEM at 200 kV - STEM 0.08 nm - TEM point resolution 0.24 nm - TEM Information limit 0.11 nm


Ultrahigh vacuum scanning probe microscope

The Omicron VT-AFM XA 50/500 is a scanning probe microscopy instrument operating under ultrahigh vacuum conditions. It´s capabilities include atomic force microscopy, scanning tunneling microscopy and Kelvin probe force microscopy, operation in the temperature range between ~20K up to 500 K. The scan range is 10*10 μm. Several light sources are available for measurements under sample illumination. The vacuum system counts on a manipulator with direct and resistive sample heating and Ar-sputtering. A LEED/Auger extension provides information about surface crystal structure and chemical composition


Molecular beam epitaxy system for Cu(In,Ga)Se2 materials

The Omicron EVO 50 is a molecular beam epitaxy system for evaporation from up to 9 sources onto a 2 inch wafer. The system is equipped with elemental evaporation sources for Cu, In, and Se. It is coupled to the UHV-SPM system (Omicron VT-AFM XA 50/500), such that samples can be characterized by SPM without contact to air. Substrate heating (up to 1200ºC) and rotation are implemented for improved homogeneity and a quartz crystal balance is available for calibration of evaporation rates.


FTIR Spectrometer

Bruker VERTEX 80v FTIR spectrometer is a versatile analytical instrument equipped with options for characterization of a wide variety of samples. The spectrometer and sample compartment can be evacuated down to 1 mbar vacuum, which enables operation in spectral ranges from ultraviolet to far infrared. The system is equipped with a ceramic source and KBr beamsplitter for mid-IR (MIR) measurements as well as a mercury arc lamp and mylar beamsplitters for THz/far-IR (FIR) measurements. Detector options include room-temperature DLaTGS for MIR and FIR, as well as a liquid-nitrogen-cooled MCT for enhanced sensitivity in MIR. The sample compartment during measurements can remain in ambient air, under dry nitrogen purge, or be evacuated. Available accessories include: mount for transmission measurements, variable-angle reflection stage, ATR stage for solid/powder samples, temperature-controlled ATR stage for liquid samples, and temperature-controlled cell for transmission measurements on liquid samples.


Spectral Imaging Ellipsometry

The nanofilm_ep3_se from Accurion GmbH is a specialized ellipsometer used for spatially resolved measurements of ellipsometry angles Δ and Ψ. Ellipsometry is well-established technique for the optical and geometrical characterization of nanosized thin film stacks. In September 2013, the system has been upgraded with some unique features, especially in terms of illumination. A laser assembly consisting of a supercontinuum fibre laser (450-1000nm) and a diode laser rack providing five laser wavelengths between 370 and 445nm obtains spectrally resolved ellipsometry measurements. Furthermore, hardware pre-configuration have been applied to extend functionality of the ellipsometer to perform measurements between 1000 and 1700nm. This device can perform Variable Angle Ellipsometry (VAE) through a motorized goniometer. A custom-made stage provides mounting of Silicon wafers with a diameter up to 200mm and additional liquid handling components allow for the detection of surface plasmon resonances, e.g. allowing for the sensitive detection of protein binding.


Semi automatic Probe Station

A semi-automatic wafer probe station used to automatically gather electrical characterisation data of devices at wafer level. This tool is useful to extract statistically meaningful data concerning key device parameters and microfabrication process dependent deviations. Features and benefits : • Precise 200mm probe system, with pre-programmed test sequences. • Sub-micron probing capability. • Die-to-die stepping time of under 100ms. • Able to probe up to 20 die/sec.


CIPT Tester (in plane and out of plane field)

CAPRES - A prober used to extract TMR and RxA from bulk magnetic tunnel junction stacks, using a current-in-plane TMR measurement. The MTJ stack surface is contacted by a set of 12 cantilever electrodes with a variable spacing, down to 750nm. Features and benefits : • Capability to measure the TMR of unpatterned MTJ stacks with an RxA down to 0.1 Ohm um2. • Capable of measuring the TMR in MTJs with both in-plane and perpendicular anisotropy. • In plane field up to 2500 Oe and perpendicular field up to 1400 Oe.


Vibrating Sample Magnetometry

ADE magnetometer with 3T electromagnet - Vibrating Sample Magnetometer system can measure samples with extremely low magnetic signals (5x10-7 emu) and/or very low coercivities (10mOe) in fields up to 2T. The system supports all known types of magnetic measurements such as Hysteresis and minor loops, IRM and DCD Remanence Loops, SFD, Delta M, Delta H and Henkel Plots, as well as Angular and AC Remanence Loops, Temperature scans, and Time-decay measurements. It can perform measurements at low fields, with a H resolution of 0.01 Oe. Possibility of automatic sample handling, with up to 90 samples.


SQUID Magnetometry

Quantum Design Squid/VSM - This SQUID based magnetometry system allows magnetic moment measurements with a sensitivity down to 1x10-8 emu (low fields), in a temperature range from 1.8K to 400K, and under a magnetic field ranging up to ±70 kOe. The main module is liquid Helium-free, meaning that it works using a closed-cycle refrigeration system able to provide the initial liquid He required for cool down from a gas source, and to maintain the system operational at the required temperature and field ranges.


Magnetic Annealer (0-2T, 0-400C)

Magnetic Solutions - A set-up for the annealing of samples up to 400°C, under controlled magnetic fields and environment, in fields up to 1 to 2 T, in Ar or vacuum, with programmable temperature ramps and cool downs. The system can handle from wafer fragments to 200mm wafers and is capable of applying the magnetic field either in plane or perpendicular to the plane of the wafer.


Gel imaging (fluoresescence and chemiluminescence)

Syngene G:Box - This image analysis system can handle complex fluorescence imaging of 1D gels and chemiluminescence imaging of western blots allowing bands’ identification and quantification.


Microplate reader

BioTek, Synergy H1 hybrid reader - This equipment allows measurements of top and bottom fluorescence intensity, UV-visible absorbance and high performance luminescence detection. Microplates from 1 to 384 wells can be used and diverse kind of experiments can be performed such as endpoint or kinetic experiments using temperature control and shaking.


Fluorescence Spectrometer

Horiba Scientific Fluoromax-4 - This equipment can perform fluorescence and phosphorescence excitation and emission spectra measurements in the range between 200-950nm. Solid samples can be analysed and transmission measurements can be carried out as well. The working temperature range is between -10-100 °C.


Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) System

Beneq TFS200 is a state-of-the-art atomic layer deposition (ALD) system that allows one to deposit thin films of a variety of materials such as Al2O3, TiO2, ZnO, SnO2, NiO, Co2O3, Fe2O3, CuO, ZnS and FeS, with an excellent control over film thickness. It is equipped with three liquid source lines and three hot source lines (HS300), which allow people to deposit multi-component thin films. Moreover, the fluidized bed reactor (FBR) allows one to perform deposition over powders with an average size down to 100 nanometers in a relatively large quantity (5 -50 g). The system is also equipped with a residual gas analyzer (RGA) which can be used to monitor the deposition process.


Solar Illumination + IV solar cell test

The Newport PVIV test station is a tool capable of measuring I-V characteristics of different types of solar cells. The station consists of a class3A solar simulator, a Keithley 2420 source meter and a NIST-calibrated reference cell. The software works with all configurations to perform I-V measurements and calculate critical parameters such as short circuit current, open circuit voltage, fill factor, cell efficiency, etc.


Electro Spinning/Spray System

NanoNC es-Robot - An electrospinning/electrospray system that allows one to produce micro-/nano-fibers of various materials ranging from polymers, metal oxides to metals and alloys. It has a high voltage generator of 30 kV and a 2-axis robot having a maximum working distance of 400 mm. Two high-precision syringe pumps are equipped with the system, enabling it to produce not only hollow nanotubes but also novel core-shell nanostructures.


Quantum efficiency measurement system (QEX10)

PVMeasurements QEX10 is a turn-key solution for measuring quantum efficiency/incident photon conversion efficiency of photovoltaic cells. It measures spectral response of solar cells in a range of 300-1100 nm, calculating short circuit current using reference spectrum AM1.5. Aside from external quantum efficiency (EQE), the tool also allows one to measure internal quantum efficiency (IQE) of non-textured solar cells with the equipped diffusion reflectance meter. In addition, the system offers a DC mode measurement capability and a voltage bias capability of up to ±2.5 V.


Controlled Intensity Modulated Photocurrent/Photovoltage Spectrometer (CIMPS)

Zahner CIMPS system is a universal photo-electrochemical workstation consisting of a main electrochemical workstation acting as a frequency response analyzer and as a support unit (potentiostat/galvanostat) for cells under test and a slave potentiostat controlling amplitude and modulation of the light source with a wide range of frequencies. In addition to traditional electrochemical investigations, the system also provides a variety of special photo-electric measurement techniques such as IMPS/IMVS, charge extraction, light transient measurements, DC vs. intensity transfer functions, etc.


UV-vis Spectrometer

This instrument is used for absorption spectroscopy and to measure optical properties of materials. The Shimadzu UV-2550 operates in the wavelength range 190-1100 nm. It is equipped with a temperature controlled cell Holder (7 to 60°C), magnetic stirring inside the cuvette and a multipurpose sample compartment enabling both reflectance (diffuse, specular and total) and transmittance measurement of samples having a wide variety of shapes.


Inductively-Coupled-Plasma - Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICP-OES)

This instrument is used for qualitative and quantitative multi-element determination (about 70 elements simultaneously). The Shimadzu ICPE-9000 allows torch axial or radial configuration. It is equipped with an Ultrasonic nebulizer for higher sensitivity and a CCD detector. Wavelength range: 167 to 800 nm.


Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) and Zeta Potential (ZP) measurement system

This instrument is used for colloid sizing, electrophoretic mobility and zeta potential determination. It also makes possible the estimation of molecular weight and second virial coefficient of proteins, polymers, and other molecules. The Horiba SZ-100 allows to measure particle diameters between 0.3nm and 8.0μm, with concentration limits between 0.1 mg/mL and 40 wt % (depending on sample), sampling volumes between 12μl and 4ml and temperature control range between 1 and 90 °C. Concerning zeta potential, the measurement range is - 200 to +200mV, the sampling volume ~100μl for disposable cell and the temperature control range is 1-70 °C.


Thermogravimetry and Differential Scanning Calorimetry

This technique allows monitoring thermal behavior of materials during e.g. calcination or decomposition under different atmospheres. The Mettler-Toledo TGA/DSC 1 STAR has a temperature range between 25-1100 °C, with a temperature precision of ±0.15 K and a balance resolution of 1 mg.


Gas chromatograph

This instrument provides qualitative and quantitative analysis of chemicals. The Shimadzu GC-2010 Plus is equipped with a flame ionization detector, 2 capillary columns (polar and apolar) and an autosampler for 150 vials (1.5 mL each). The minimum detectable mass is 1.5 pgC/s (dodecane).


Gas Analyzer System/Mass Spectrometer

This instrument is used for the chemical analysis and identification of chemical elements and compounds in a gas phase. The Pfeiffer Vacuum QMG 220 has a mass range of 1 - 200 amu, with the possibility of monitoring up to 128 masses. Low detection limit (<1 ppm) is possible even for condensable gases. The instrument is equipped with a turbo drag pumping system with inter-stage turbo pump and oil free diaphragm pump (Ultimate pressure<1x10-9 mbar).


Automated pore size-surface area analyzer

This instrument allows the determination of gas sorption isotherms on solids for the estimation of pore size distribution (micropore to macropore range) and specific surface area. The Quantachrome Autosorb IQ2 is equipped with 2 sample analysis stations for simultaneous measurement, 2 built-in ports for degassing, a turbomolecular pump, 5 adsorbate gas input ports, an accessory for vapors, and a cryogenic Dewar for up to 90 h measurements.


CHNS/O Elemental Analyzer

This instrument is used for the quantitative determination of Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Sulfur and Oxygen in solids (liquids optional). The Perkin Elmer 2400 is equipped with an automatic sampler for up to 60 samples.


Raman Confocal Microscopy

INL has one Witec Alpha 300R confocal Raman system, with three possible laser excitation wavelengths at 532, 633 and 785 nm. The microscope is equipped with three selectable Zeiss objectives (100x, 50x, 10x) that operate in air, with numerical apertures NA=0.9, 0.7, 0.2, respectively. The 100x and 50x are from the series EC Epiplan and are fit for Raman signal acquisition. The 10x lens is used for video image acquisition. The UHTS300 spectrometers coupled to the Andor Peltier cooled CCD detectors provide cutting-edge resolution at the highest sensitivity. Because of the confocal setup, it is not only possible to collect information from the sample surface, but also to look deep inside transparent samples. Raman imaging is possible with the acquisition of a complete Raman spectrum at each image pixel, resulting in images consisting of tens of thousands of spectra. The acquisition time for one spectrum is in the range of milliseconds, resulting in complete images being collected typically in a time frame of minutes. When analyzing dedicated peak characteristics of the spectra, a variety of images can be generated using only a single set of data. This allows not only for imaging the distribution of chemical compounds, but also for analyzing, for example crystallinity or material intrinsic stress distributions.


Laser Scanning Vibrometer

Polytec UHF-120 (1.2 GHz)


Climate Chamber

Weiss WKL (-70ºC to 180ºC, 10 to 98 rel hum.)


Hyperthermia equipment

nB nanoScale Biomagnetics DM 100 - This tool is basically an AC magnetic field generator. An oscillating magnetic field is generated inside a water-cool-refrigerated cupper coil when an alternate current flows through it. The equipment works at different frequencies and intensities of the magnetic field. Eight different fixed modes of frequencies can be selected between 300 kHz and almost 1 MHz, whereas the intensity of the magnetic field can be varied continuously up to 250-320 Oe (depending on the mode of frequency selected previously). Samples should be preferably in liquid state (i.e. ferrofluids). The sample holder consists of a small glass vial that is placed in the mid-point of the cupper coil. The sample temperature increase as a function of the time is measured during the experiment by means of an optical fiber which is immersed directly in the sample. From a typical experiment, a temperature vs. time curve is obtained and shown on time in a computer screen.


Fluorescence Life Time Spectroscopy

ISS Chronos BH - Time domain time-resolved fluorescence system “Chronos” is equipped with multiple excitation sources: laser diodes (363nm and 467nm) and UV LED (280nm). This modular instrument has been designed for research-grade fluorescence applications; it can be used for steady-state fluorescence measurements and time-domain lifetime acquisition (time-correlated single photon counting measurements, TCSPC) using data acquisition card SPC-130 by Becker and Hickl (BH). Monochromators are coupled directly to the instrument. The fluorescence signal is sent to the light detectors, either photomultiplier tubes (steady state mode, R928P by Hamamatsu) or hybrid PMT (time-resolved measurements, R10467U-40 GaAsP Hybrid PMT by Hamamatsu). Chronos is designed on a T-format geometry: one excitation channel and two identical emission channels positioned on the same axis and at 90 degrees with respect to the optical axis of the excitation channel (T-format). Polarizers are present both in the excitation and emission channels. The system can detect lifetimes down to 30ps. For more information please see link


J-815 Circular Dichroism Spectropolarimeter

Computer controlled circular dichroism measurement system with Xe lamp (150W), cooled with air. Equipped with computer controlled temperature sample holder and magnetic stirring at different rpm. The cell holder is thermostated with a Peltier element. The system allows for temperature ramping (heating or cooling) while acquiring data at a fixed wavelength. For more information please see link Circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy measures differences in the absorption of left-handed polarized light versus right-handed polarized light which arise due to structural asymmetry. The absence of regular structure results in zero CD intensity, while an ordered structure results in a spectrum which can contain both positive and negative signals. Circular dichroism spectroscopy is particularly good for: a) determining whether a protein/DNA is folded, and if so characterizing its secondary structure, tertiary structure; b) comparing the structures of a protein obtained from different sources (e.g. species or expression systems) or comparing structures for different mutants of the same protein. The structural effects of single amino acid mutations in proteins can be detected with CD spectroscopy; c) studying the conformational stability of a protein under stress - thermal stability, pH stability, and stability to denaturants - and how this stability is altered by buffer composition or addition of stabilizers. CD is excellent for finding solvent conditions that increase the melting temperature and/or the reversibility of thermal unfolding; d) determining whether protein-protein or protein-ligand interactions alter the conformation of protein. If there are any conformational changes, this will result in a spectrum which will differ from the sum of the individual components. Small conformational changes have been seen, for example, upon formation of several different receptor/ligand complexes.


Wide-field Upright Fluorescense Microscope

Nikon NI-E - An advanced upright optical microscope is operated by the INL for the investigation of microbiological samples and lab-on-a-chip devices. The microscope has two camera ports for one colour camera (DS-Fi2, Nikon, Japan) for bright field imaging and a monochrome camera for low-intensity fluorescence measurements (Orca R2, Hamamatsu, Japan) respectively. A large selection of objectives is available, including among others water-dipping objectives and high magnification long-working distance objectives. The camera supports both transmitted and reflected light image formation. Contrast mechanisms for image formation include phase contrast (100x) and polarization resolved imaging.


Combined QCM-D and Ellipsometry System

A combination of Q-Sense E1 and Woollam M-2000 instruments provides capabilities for separate or simultaneous Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation (QCM-D) and Spectroscopic Ellipsometry (SE) measurements. QCM-D follows adsorption of analytes onto quartz sensors, which are available with a wide variety of coatings. Dissipation information from QCM-D also enables characterization of interactions between the adsorbates and the solvent, from which parameters such as viscosity/elasticity and conformation of the adsorbed layer can be inferred. Q-Sense E1 system is equipped with temperature control stage (158 to 645 °C) and a four-channel peristaltic pump. SE provides information about the thickness and optical parameters of the adsorbed layer. M-2000 system is equipped with an automated variable-angle (44° to 90°) base and a multi-channel detector that measures 390 wavelengths between 370 and 1000 nm. Simultaneous QCM-D and SE measurements are carried out by placing a QCM-D cell equipped with optical ports onto a special mount of the SE system.


Flow Cytometer and Cell Sorter

Bio-Rad S3 is an automated instrument for performing flow cytometry and cell sorting. The instrument is equipped with two 100-mW laser sources (operating at 488 and 561 nm), four PMT fluorescence detectors (525, 586, 615, and 655 nm), and narrow-bandpass forward- and side-scattering detectors. Routine calibration and alignment are performed automatically on system start-up to ensure quantitative and reproducible measurements. The sensitivity of the instrument enables measurements of both animal and bacterial cells. Cytometry is performed in jet-in-air format, followed by optional two-channel sorting using electrostatic deflection plates. Both sample input and output stages can be operated at a controlled temperature, the input stage also provides optional sample agitation. Sorting output can be directed into tubes, micro-wells, or onto glass slides.


UV-VIS-NIR Spectrophotometer

The Lambda 950 from Perkin Elmer provides state-of-the-art absorption spectroscopy capabilities to the INL. A wavelength range of 185-3300nm is covered by this instrument through the combination of appropriate optical detectors. Diffuse scattering can be studied with an integrating sphere. Suitable polarization optics is also available for use with this instruments as well as a temperature controlled sample chamber.