Birck Nanotechnology Center

Bionanotechnology Facilities


The vision for the Bionanotechnology Facilities in the Birck Nanotechnology Center is to provide the BNC, Discovery Park, Purdue, collaborating universities, and area companies a modem infrastructure to enable world-class science and engineering in the areas of BioMEMS, BioNEMS, physiological sensing, microfluidics, and nanomedicine.


To support research activities through the deployment of flexible laboratories and equipment that enables the exploration of the intersection of bioscience and bioengineering at the nanometer scale. To respond to the changing needs of internal and external researchers through modifications to the equipment set, laboratory classification, and laboratory capabilities in an efficient and timely manner.


To offer world-class undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate education, research, profession consultancy, outreach, and leadership in the fields of bionanotechnology and nanomedicine. To be among the best-rated centers in the world in bionanotechnology in terms of teaching quality, research contributions, high-end consultancy, outreach, training and academic leadership in the fields of tissue engineering, bionanoelectronics, BioMEMS and BioNEMS.


The laboratories are organized as shared facilities according to capabilities and function. They are located on the second floor of the east wing of the BNC, which is connected to Bindley Biosciences Center with an enclosed overhead walkway. There are two classifications of bionano labs: Biosafety Level l (BSLl) - minimum hazard, and Biosafety Level 2 (BSL2) - moderate hazard.

BRK 1039: BioAtomic Force Microscopy I

Rating: BSL1

This laboratory houses the Veeco BioAFM. Current research in this laboratory centers around the examination of physical properties of objects in the nanoscale size range including the forces arising between nanoscale objects.

FIC: Prof. Ron Reifenberger / SIC: Lisa Reece

BRK 1081: BioAtomic Force Microscopy II

Rating: BSL2

This BSL2 lab enables researchers to study micro-, nanomechanics of living cells, mechanical properties of nanostructures, fluid mechanics of live cells as well as dynamics and vibrations at the nanoscale in liquid environments. The lab contains an advanced BioAFM with capabilities of dual AFM and fluorescence imaging of cells and tissue. Further, there is a small CO2 incubator, water bath, small freezer, small refrigerator, and a Class II biological safety cabinet to work with BSL2-rated cells. Users may bring samples for analysis on a collaborative basis.

FIC: Prof. Arvind Raman / SIC: Lisa Reece

BRK 2031: Nanochemistry/Nanoelectronics

Rating: BSL1

This laboratory enables synthesis, processing, and/or functionalization of carbon nanotubes, iron oxide nanoparticles, and semiconductor nanocrystals. Existing equipment within this lab includes three nitrogen glove boxes, a UV/ozone etcher, a UV cleaner, a Chemical Mechanical Polisher (CMP) system which allows users to smooth wafers, a spin coater, a small refrigerator-freezer, and a lab autoclave. This lab also houses eight chemical fume hoods (including two walk-in hoods) that provide workspace for KOH etching and acid-bath washing.

FIC: Prof. David Janes / SIC: Lisa Reece

BRK 2037: Chemical Nanotechnology/Microfluidics

Rating: BSL1

This lab houses zeta potential/zeta sizing instrument and FTIR capabilities, allowing analyses of nanoparticles such as those made in BRK 2031 and used under a fee based system. Current research involves the use of microfluidics devices that are coupled with a microscope and laser capabilities for holographic optical trapping studies. A – 20 deg C freezer and a small refrigerator are also available.

FIC: Prof. Steve Wereley / SIC: Lisa Reece

BRK 2077: Biosensors/Nanomechanical Sensing/Protein Detection

Rating: BSL2

This BSL2 lab houses equipment for studies of biosensor, BioMEMS, and bionanotechnology, protein and cancer marker detection with nanomechanical sensors. Current research utilizes laser-based systems are used to determine biomarker concentrations on cells using microscopic magnetic beads assembled to form a structure called a "diffraction grating." There is a laser cutter available as a shared resource to users in the lab as well. There are currently two chemical fume hoods available for standard chemical processes. A Class II biological safety cabinet is available for human/mammalian cell culture work as well as a centrifuge and a refrigerator-freezer.

FIC: Prof. Cagri Savran / SIC: Lisa Reece

BRK 2081: Translational BioMEMS

Rating: BSL1

This BSLl laboratory is centered on BioMEMS and nanotechnology. This research includes biomimetic devices, wireless dosimetry, and ferrofluid platforms. There are two ovens, a probe station, a wire bonder, a spin coater, and a laser cutter in place for general use. This lab also houses a solvent fume hood and a small refrigerator for shared use.

FIC: Prof. Babak Ziaie / SIC: Lisa Reece

BRK 2043: Bacteriology Culture

Rating: BSL2

This lab has a bench-top clean bench for plating, one Class II biological safety cabinet for pathogenic culture work, one fluorescent microscope with an attached photodocumentation system, a stereo microscope, a rotary shaker, two UV/VIS spectrophotometers, a refrigerator-freezer, and a dry incubator/oven. This BSL2 facility is capable of handling any infectious work within this classification. There are also two solvent fume hoods available for standard chemical work.

FIC: Prof. James Leary / SIC: Lisa Reece

BRK 2087: Human/Mammalian Cell Culture

Rating: BSL2

This lab has two Class II biological safety cabinets. One is for pathogenic work and the other is set aside for non-pathogenic work. There is a Countess automatic cell counter, microcentrifuges, electrophoresis equipment, an inverted fluorescent microscope with attached photodocumentation system (and over 100 optical filters), and one solvent fume hood. There is a -20 deg C freezer and two refrigerator-freezers to house biological samples. In addition, there is a bench for standard phlebotomy work for any researcher who has need of whole human blood for their experiments. Outside this lab is a standard liquid nitrogen dewar system that contains over 200 cell samples and an ultra-low -80 deg C freezer to store samples long term.

FIC: Prof. James Leary / SIC: Lisa Reece


The BNC biocleanroom is a portion of the Scifres Nanofabrication Laboratory that also contains the nanofabrication cleanroom. It consists of a 2,500 ft.2 ISO Class 5 (Class 1000) cleanroom facility using a specially designed ceiling, wall, and floor system to minimize bacterial entrainment and enhance cleanability. Like all BNC laboratories, it is a shared facility that can be customized to the needs of the researchers.

BRK 2120: Biocleanroom (BCR) Facility

Rating: BSLl (Main Lab)

This biocleanroom is for further cleanroom-level bioprocessing, sterility testing, and testing of BioMEMS devices, BioNEMS devices, and implantable microdevices. This biocleanroom provides capabilities for device development and testing that require a level of cleanliness that is not satisfied by the capabilities of other BNC biological laboratories. It also provides a material pass-through to/from the nanofabrication cleanroom, allowing transport of fabricated devices without breaking cleanliness. Currently, the BCR houses the Physiological Sensing Facility that includes the following key technologies: scanning self-referencing electroanalytical sensors, scanning self-referencing optically-coupled biosensors, and microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technology. This lab also contains a solvent fume hood, an acid fume hood, and a refrigerator-freezer. There is a small “blow-down” room so that equipment may be decontaminated prior to installation within the BCR.

Rating: BSL2 (Tissue Culture Room)

This lab is a smaller room inside the main BCR area. It houses one Class II biological safety cabinet, a tissue culture microscope, a Countess Cell Counter, and three CO2 incubators – one of which is for low O2 environment. Cell cultures at the BSL2 level may be used in this lab.

FIC: Prof. Jenna Rickus / SIC: Guy Telesnicki, Lisa Reece

FIC (Faculty in Charge): In BNC, all laboratory spaces are shared- or have the potential to be shared- and are organized by function. For administrative purposes, each lab has a faculty member or members responsible for approval of access for use for advising the director on space utilization, and for strategic planning associated with the capabilities of that lab.

SIC (Staff in Charge): Each lab has a lab staff member assigned to that lab who is responsible for coordination of equipment installation, layout, and safe operating procedures. S/he also has responsibility to assist in the enforcement of those policies and to assist the RC in the operation and strategic planning of the laboratory.