Specialized Laboratory Facilities

In addition to the cleanroom, the BNC includes a suite of specialized laboratories that provide outstanding capabilities to researchers. All BNC laboratories are designed for low acoustic noise, less than 1 milligauss EMI, and +/- 1 degree C temperature stability. Additionally, the first-floor laboratories achieve NIST A vibration rating. From this base, certain laboratories have been modified to provide even more stringent limits to accommodate specialized needs. For example, the TEM laboratory has tighter temperature controls, has specialized airflow patterns, and has special acoustic materials on the walls and floors.

Hall Nanometrology Laboratory

For highly sensitive functions, the Kevin G. Hall Nanometrology Laboratory provides enhanced control of temperature, vibration, acoustic noise, and EMI. Temperature is controlled to +/- 0.01 degree C, EMI is controlled to less than 0.1 milligauss, acoustic noise is within NC-35 criteria, and vibration is controlled to NIST A-1 criteria.

Scanning Laser-Doppler Vibrometry

A specialized laboratory that meets NIST A-1 vibration criteria houses the Scanning Laser-Doppler Vibrometer. The Polytec MSA-400 Micro System Analyzer uses a variety of methods to characterize motion in micro- and nanostructures.

Scanning Probe Microscopy

Nine atomic force microscopes provide topographical data on surfaces as well as allowing the manipulation of materials at the nano scale. Two systems are designed especially for analyzing biological samples, with one located in a BSL-1 laboratory and the other in a BSL-2 laboratory.

Electron Microscopy

Four electron microscopes provide the ability to image nanoscale devices and materials, as well as to study reaction mechanisms at the atomic scale. An FEI Titan 80-300 keV Field Emission Environmental Transmission Electron Microscope – Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope provides resolutions to 0.7 by 1.0 Angstrom units. The system contains an in-situ reaction chamber, and is equipped with a high-performance camera and data server.
Supplementing the capabilities of the Titan are an FEI Field-Emission Scanning Electron Microscope, an FEI “Novalab” Focused Ion Beam – Scanning Electron Microscope system, and a dual-function JEOL Scanning Electron Microscope with electron-beam direct-write capability.

Surface Analysis

The surface analysis laboratory contains a Kratos Imaging x-Ray Photoemission Spectrometer (XPS) with an in-situ reaction cell and an Omicron surface analysis cluster tool. The XPS has a 15 micrometer spot size, and provides atomic-level analysis of materials. The cluster tool contains multiple devices to characterize the surfaces of materials, including a high-resolution electron-energy-loss spectrometer (EELS), a scanning electron microscope (SEM), a scanning auger spectrometer, a hemispherical electron spectrometer for XPS, AES, UPS, ISS, a focused ion beam (FIB) system and an Omicron UHV Scanning Tunneling Microscope – all connected under ultra-high vacuum.

x-Ray Diffraction

The x-ray diffraction laboratory contains a high-resolution PANalytical “x”Pert Pro x-ray diffraction system.


Several BNC laboratories contain equipment for specialized, highly precise epitaxial growth. Two ultra-clean Molecular Beam Epitaxy systems for III-V epitaxy, an Epigress VP-508 hot-wall CVD reactor for SiC and graphene, and an Aixtron AIX 200/4 metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) system for GaN allow the growth of a variety of homoepitaxial and heteroepitaxial materials.


An ASTeX plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition system allows film growth of specialized materials. A specialized Parylene deposition system deposits type C and N polymer onto a variety of substrates.

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