MS+E Center Instrumentation

Cutting-edge instrumentation

Thanks to a combination of state and federal funding and industry partner support, the Materials Science and Engineering Center has amassed a wide array of highly sophisticated instrumentation. Utilized by students, faculty, staff and industry partners, this facility provides technical resources unmatched in this region.

Valued at roughly $4.5M, the MSEC instrument collection allows our students and community partners to solve a wide range of materials-related engineering challenges. The instrumentation is a significant pillar of the educational foundation that allows us to educate top-notch future materials scientists and engineers. You can browse our instrumentation set in the listing below.

Amazing materials instruments

Available Instrumentation

Select from the categories below to see exact listings and photos of the available instrumentation.

Imaging

The MSEC instrumentation include powerful and diverse tools for imaging. Samples can be imaged from simple optical microscopy down to nanometer scale. In addition to the scale of magnification, the features of interest can be better visualized, mapped, and quantified through material polarization, varying depth of field, electron dyes, elemental mapping, or chemical mapping.

Scanning Electron Microscope w.Energy Dispersive Spectoscopy (SEM/EDS)

The Hitachi S-3400N Variable Pressure SEM is equipped with an EDS detector and Thermo Noran System Seven software. A variable pressure (VP) option allows for analysis of non-conductive materials.Secondary electron (SE) and backscattered electron (BSE) detectors allow for multiple imaging options.An internal camera provides video feed of the sample during an analysis.This instrument is capable of remote operation of the electron imaging functions.

Resolution: 3.0 nm (SE, high vacuum mode)
EDS resolution: ~1 micron
Elements Detected: Be to U
Detection Limits: 1000 ppm (element specific)

Scanning Electron Microscope with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS)

Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope

Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FE-SEM)

The Hitachi S-4500 is a cold field emission SEM which provides high resolution images with an acceleration voltage range from 0.5 to 30 kV. The system is equipped with two Secondary Electron (SE) and a Backscatter Electron (BSE) detectors. An internal IR camera is present for sample alignment and transfer. Samples are loaded through a 2” load lock limiting sample size.
Resolution: 1 nm (SE at 30 kV) 

Scanning Auger Nanoprobe (SAN)

The Physical Electronics PHI 680 uses Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES) to determine the elemental content of the top few atomic layers of a sample. It is also equipped with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and ion sputtering capabilities, allowing for depth profiling of samples.

Lateral Resolution: 13 nm
Depth Resolution: 0.5 to 10 nm
Elements Detected: Li - U
Detection Limits: 0.1 - 1 atomic % Scanning Auger Nanoprobe (SAN)

Transmission Electron Microscope with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (TEM-EDS)

Transmission Electron Microscope with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (TEM/EDS)

The JEOL 2010 200 kV transmission electron microscope provides high resolution nanoscale images of materials and electron diffraction patterns, which provide crystallographic information. The TEM is capable of magnification up to 1.5 million times. The instrument is also equipped with a Thermo Noran System Seven energy dispersive x-ray analysis (EDS) unit, allowing for elemental analysis.

Imaging Resolution: 2.4 Angstrom
EDS Resolution: 1 nm
Elements Detected: Be to U

Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)

The Asylum Research MFP-3D SA conducts three dimensional measurements on the nanoscale. The microscope is equipped with temperature controls for sample heating. The AFM can image samples in liquid environments as well as in air, making this a powerful tool in research areas including materials science and life science. Eight Nanosurf easyScan2 AFMs allow students to have hands on curricular experiences involving atomic force microscopy.

Resolution: X&Y range 90 µm with X&Y <150pm noise, Z range > 15 µm with Z < 35pm noise

Common Uses:

  • Nanoparticles
  • Microelectromechanical Devices (MEMS) 

Strengths: Nanoscale Imaging

Constraints: Samples should be mounted on a flat substrate, such as cleaved mica

Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)

Raman Spectrometer

Raman Spectrometer

The Horiba XploRA Raman microscope provides structural characterization of organic and inorganic molecules in solids, liquids and on surfaces by measuring the molecular vibrations induced by a laser beam. The Raman system combines optical images with high resolution chemical mapping allowing the chemical image to be super imposed on the optical image. The system includes polarization optics and a fiber-coupled probe for analysis of objects which do not fit in the enclosure. 

Spatial Resolution: <1 um 
Spectral Resolution: 1.1 cm-1 /pixel 
Laser Excitation: 532 nm and 785 nm 

Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM)

The STM is a custom built chamber system housing an Omicron STM head with a RKH Technologies Model SPM 100 control system. The STM is capable of imaging the surfaces of conductive samples down to the atomic scale. The STM works by moving a sharp tip to within 1 nm of a surface, applying a voltage between the tip and the sample, and measuring the resultant tunneling current. As the tip is moved across the sample the tunneling current will vary based on it's the proximity to the atoms resulting in an atomic scale image.

Resolution: 0.1 nm lateral and 0.01 nm depth

Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM).

IR CAmera

IR Camera

The FLIR E50 IR camera provides thermal imaging of a test system and is capable of overlaying an optical image with a thermal image. The system is also capable of recording a video of the thermal image to monitor temperature changes as a function of time within an experiment.

Thermal Resolution: 240 x 180 pixels
Temperature Range: -20° C -650° C
Thermal Sensitivity: <0.05° C
Accuracy: +/- 2% or +/- 2° C

Optical Microscopes

Two types of Olympus microscopes are available with image capturing capabilities. The SZ61 Stereoscope is equipped with a high resolution Olympus SC100 camera and has a magnification range from 0.67x to 4.5x. The three BX51 Microscopes are upright inspection instruments, featuring both bright field and dark field optics with 5x, 10x, 20x and 50x objective optics (NA = 0.8 at 50x). The BX51 has light sources for both reflected light and transmitted light measurements, a wide variety of filters and polarizers for enhancing image contrast and an Olympus DP72 camera to capture high resolution images.

Optical Microscope

Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope

Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope

The Olympus OLS-4100 ("LEXT") is a confocal laser scanning microscope optimized for metrology and other reflected-light applications. The system is capable of rendering 3D images and height maps of opaque surfaces using a 405 nm violet laser with a height resolution ~5 nm and an x-y resolution of 120 nm. A traditional white light source and detector are also included for composite and color-overlay imaging.

Resolution: 5 nm (height) and 120 nm (x-y)

Laser Scanning Confocal Fluorescence Microscope

The Nikon A1r laser scanning confocal fluorescence microscope can characterize fluorescence or reflected light from samples on an inverted microscope stage. Confocal scanning gives high xy and z resolution compared to standard light microscopy and can be used to generate 3D reconstructions of samples. The system has automated stage control, both standard and resonant scanning heads, and software modules for extended depth of focus to combine multiple focal images into single focused 2D image and 2D+3D particle tracking and measurements. Customized experiments can be conducted using different combinations of components on this confocal microscope.

Eyepiece options: transmitted light source and LED light source with epifluorescence cubes and DIC optics for
locating samples
Objectives: 10x, 20x, 40x oil immersion, and 60x oil immersion
Temperature range: ambient to 60°C

Laser Scanning Confocal Fluorescence Microscope

Excitation wavelengths: 40 mW Argon ion laser with 458 nm, 471 nm, 488 nm, and 514.5 nm wavelengths available, solid state lasers 405 nm, 561 nm, and 640 nm wavelengths available
Detectors: 2 GaAsP and 2 PMT detectors can be used simultaneously in any combination (including reflected light at 488 nm) and with transmitted light

FTIR Microscope

FTIR Microscope

The set-up includes a DigiLab FTS-3500 FTIR spectrometer coupled to a DigiLab UMA 600 microscope, an Olympus motorized stage and a LN2 cooled MCT detector for Mid IR analysis. This set-up allows the analysis of thin films in transmission mode only. The optics can achieve resolution finer than 20 microns and is ideal for analyzing diffusion profiles in single crystals and glass charges.

Elemental and Chemical Analysis 

The MSEC has an array of instruments that are used to determine what a sample is made of.  In some cases only what elements are present is of interest.  In other cases it is important to know how the elements are bonded, knowing the chemistry is important.  The choice of instrument needed depends on a variety of factors:  concentration, size, whether the area of interest is on the surface of the sample or deeper in, etc.

X-Ray Diffractometer (XRD)

The Bruker D8 Discover x-ray diffractometer is a non-destructive technique for characterizing crystalline materials. The diffraction pattern contains information on the structure, phase, crystal orientation, crystallinity and strain. The system is designed to analyze powder samples, conduct thin film analysis and analyze capillary contained samples. The ICDD database allows for rapid phase identification of a large variety of samples.

Key Features:

  • Copper X-ray source
  • Point and linear detectors
  • Bragg Brentano and Goebel Mirror optics for divergent or parallel beam applications

X-ray Diffractometer

X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS)

X-Ray Photoelectron Spectoroscopy (XPS)

XPS (also called ESCA - Electron Spectroscopy for Chemical Analysis) is a surface sensitive technique that provides elemental and chemical analysis. Organic functional groups can be identified as well as very thin surface layer structures and material interfaces.

  • Depth Resolution: 1 nm
  • Elements Detected: Li - U
  •   SPECS components in ultra-high vacuum
  • Sample size:  up to 1"x1"x 0.25"
Handheld Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF)

The Thermo Niton XL3t 900S GOLDD is a portable device used to quickly determine the elemental composition of a sample. This analysis tool can identify most alloys in under 30 seconds. It is also used in consumer product safety applications, import/export restrictions, precious metal identification, soil monitoring, QA/QC work, antiquities research, and to check for RoHS/WEEE/CPSIA compliance. Minimal sample preparation also makes this non-destructive technique attractive in screening items.

  • Elements Detected: Mg to U 
  • Detection Limits: 10 ppm (element specific)

Handheld Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (XRF)

Wavelength Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (XRF)

Wavelength Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF)

The Bruker Tiger S8 XRF instrument can identify elements to the part per million (ppm) level in a variety of samples. This instrument can operate with the sample under vacuum or under helium and is more sensitive and accurate than the handheld energy dispersive XRF.

  • Elements Detected: Na to U
  • Detection Limits: 10 ppm (element specific, accuracy increases with matrix-matched standards)
  • Samples must be solid (2" disk), powdered (8-10grams), or liquid (50mL)
High Resolution Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)

The Thermo Finnigan Element2 HR-ICP-MS is used to conduct ultra-trace level analyses on a wide variety of materials including geological, environmental, catalytic, biological, and polymeric samples. All elements and isotopic ratios can be detected except (H, He, C, N, O, F, & Ne).
•    Detection Limit of 5 ppt (element specific) 
•    Analytical working range of 9 orders of magnitude
•    Samples must be aqueous (native form or through acid digestion)

Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS)

UV-Vis Spectrometer

UV-Vis Spectrometer

The Cary 50 Bio UV-Vis spectrometer provides absorbance measurement for liquid samples in the ultraviolet and visible regimes. If components of interest absorb light, the technique can be used to quantify their concentration.  The system software package allows the system to operate with a single wavelength monitor, a scanning module, a Kinetics module or a scanning Kinetics module.   
•    Xenon flash lamp operation range of 190 - 1100 nm
•    Sample size of 40 µL or more

 

Fluorimeter

The Perkin Elmer LS 50 Fluorimeter is a spectroscopic technique which induces fluorescence in a compound with exposure to a pulsed Xenon lamp. Fluorescent compounds will absorb the excitation and emit with characteristic optical emission. The technique provides excellent selectivity and is sensitive to parameters like pH, viscosity, and thermal effects. The system is equipped with a Peltier thermal cell to facilitate temperature-dependent measurements.
• Limit of detection is down to ppt (sample dependent)
• Compound of interest must fluoresce

Fluorimeter

Gel Permeation Chromatography Mobile Phase: Dimethylformamide with 0.01 M LiCl, Other solvents are possible but may require separate columns   
Calibration: Polystyrene standards: 890 - 2,630,000 Daltons   

Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC)

The GPC (also known as SEC - Size Exclusion Chromatography) utilizes liquid chromatography to separate polymers in solution based on the size of the polymer. The Waters system consists of a single mobile phase Isocratic Pump (Water 1515), a series of GPC columns (Styragel HR3, HR4 and HR5) a single wavelength UV/Vis Detector (Waters 1489) and a Refractive Index Detector (Waters 2414). The GPC, if properly calibrated for a specific sample is quantitative and provides Molecular Weight information in Mn, Mw and Mz as well as determining the polydispersity index (PDI) of the sample.

Scanning Electron Microscope w.Energy Dispersive Spectoscopy (SEM/EDS)

 

The Hitachi S-3400N Variable Pressure SEM is equipped with an EDS detector and Thermo Noran System Seven software. A variable pressure (VP) option allows for analysis of non-conductive materials.Secondary electron (SE) and backscattered electron (BSE) detectors allow for multiple imaging options.An internal camera provides video feed of the sample during an analysis.This instrument is capable of remote operation of the electron imaging functions.

Resolution: 3.0 nm (SE, high vacuum mode)
EDS resolution: ~1 micron
Elements Detected: Be to U
Detection Limits: 1000 ppm (element specific)

 

Scanning Electron Microscope with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS)

Scanning Auger Nanoprobe (SAN)

Scanning Auger Nanoprobe (SAN)

The Physical Electronics PHI 680 uses Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES) to determine the elemental content of the top few atomic layers of a sample. It is also equipped with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and ion sputtering capabilities, allowing for depth profiling of samples.

Lateral Resolution: 13 nm
Depth Resolution: 0.5 to 10 nm
Elements Detected: Li - U
Detection Limits: 0.1 –1 atomic %

Transmission Electron Microscope with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (TEM/EDS)

The JEOL 2010 200 kV transmission electron microscope provides high resolution nanoscale images of materials and electron diffraction patterns, which provide crystallographic information. The TEM is capable of magnification up to 1.5 million times. The instrument is also equipped with a Thermo Noran System Seven energy dispersive x-ray analysis (EDS) unit, allowing for elemental analysis.

Imaging Resolution: 2.4 Angstrom
EDS Resolution: 1 nm
Elements Detected: Be to U

Transmission Electron Microscope with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (TEM-EDS)

Raman Spectrometer

Raman Spectrometer

The Horiba XploRA Raman microscope provides structural characterization of organic and inorganic molecules in solids, liquids and on surfaces by measuring the molecular vibrations induced by a laser beam. The Raman system combines optical images with high resolution chemical mapping allowing the chemical image to be super imposed on the optical image. The system includes polarization optics and a fiber-coupled probe for analysis of objects which do not fit in the enclosure.

Spatial Resolution: <1 um
Spectral Resolution: 1.1 cm-1 /pixel
Laser Excitation: 532 nm and 785 nm

Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FITR)

The Nicolet iS50 FT-IR Spectrometer technique is based on material's absorption of infrared light. The absorption of infrared light is indicative of a materials chemical bonding, producing a meaningful fingerprint. The FTIR is equipped to measure samples in a variety of configurations. The sample can be measured using a few milligrams of material in contact with a crystal (attenuated total reflectance (ATR) cell), mixing with a KBr medium (diffuse reflectance (DRIFTS cell), or adsorbed on a reflective surfaces (polarization-modulation infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (PM-IRRAS).

FTIR Spectroscopy

Microwave Plasma - Atomic Emission Spectroscopy

Microwave Plasma –Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (MP-AES)

The Agilent 4200 MP-AES is used to conduct trace level elemental analysis down to the parts per billion limit. The technique is based on putting an aqueous sample into a flame stabilized by a magnetic field and measuring the optical absorption of each element. In comparison to ICPMS, this technique uses minimal expensive consumables with a drop in detection levels. All elements except for nitrogen, oxygen, halogens, and noble gases can be measured.

Detection levels: ~1 ppb for most elements, ~70ppb for difficult elements (As, Se)
Samples must be aqueous (native form or through acid digestion)

Physical and Chemical Properties

Typically the performance of a material will depend on its physical and mechanical properties. The MSEC has instrumentation available to measure physical characteristics like strength, compression, elasticity, hardness, flow rate, particle size, etc.

Nanoindenter

The Hysitron TI 900 TriboIndenter conducts quantitative nanomechanical analyses, including nanoindentation, scratch, and wear testing. In-situ Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) can also be done with the TI 900. High resolution optics allow for visual confirmation of testing. The software allows for automation routines, enhancing productivity and statistical sampling. A thermal and acoustic isolation enclosure enhance the stability of the instrument.

Load Resolution: <1 nN
Displacement Resolution: 0.0004 nN

Nanoindenter

 

Instron Tensile - Compression Tester

Instron Tensile/Compression Tester

The Instron 5969 Electromechanical testing system provide mechanical properties testing for materials. The system is equipped with 1 kN and 50 kN load cells and a 50 mm static clip-on extensometer. The system provides a single platform to conduct tensile, compression, flexure, shear, peel, tear and bend tests. The system includes manual wedge grips, pneumatic grips, compression platens, wire capstans, as well as a 3-point and 4-point flexure mount. A USB camera is integrated within the software to capture video of the test being conducted.

Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC)

The GPC (also known as SEC - Size Exclusion Chromatography) utilizes liquid chromatography to separate polymers in solution based on the size of the polymer. The Waters system consists of a single mobile phase Isocratic Pump (Water 1515), a series of GPC columns (Styragel HR3, HR4 and HR5) a single wavelength UV/Vis Detector (Waters 1489) and a Refractive Index Detector (Waters 2414). The GPC, if properly calibrated for a specific sample is quantitative and provides Molecular Weight information in Mn, Mw and Mz as well as determining the polydispersity index (PDI) of the sample.

Gel Permeation Chromatography

Mobile Phase: Dimethylformamide with 0.01 M LiCl, Other solvents are possible but may require separate columns

Calibration: Polystyrene standards: 890 -2,630,000 Daltons

Thermal Gravimetric Analysis

Thermal Gravimetric Analysis (TGA)

The TA Instruments Q50 TGA system measures change in mass of a material as a function of time and/or temperature under a controlled atmosphere. The change in mass provides a measure of a material's thermal stability and composition. The system is currently set-up to with Platinum pans.

Temperature Range: 30° - 1000° C
Working Atmosphere: UHP Nitrogen or Air

Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)

The TA Instruments Q20 DSC measures the temperature and heat flows associated with thermal transitions in materials. The thermal transitions in the material can provide information on properties such as: glass transitions, phase changes, crystallization and oxidation stability. The Q20 has a liquid nitrogen quencher to explore thermal transitions which occur below room temperature.
   
Temperature Range: -150° - 600° C
Working Atmosphere: UHP Nitrogen or Air

Differential Scanning Calorimetry

Rheometer

Rheometer

The TA Instruments DHR-2 Rheometer system provides a measure of the flow characteristics of a liquid, suspension or slurry under shear conditions. A range of shear stresses, strains, and strain rates can be applied in either steady shear or oscillatory shear mode based on selection from 3 available geometries. A single Peltier plate allows for temperature control experiments or temperature profiles of a sample.

Temperature Range: -40 to 200C
Available geometries: Cone and plate (2 degree 40 mm upper cone), parallel plates (20 mm), parallel plates (40 mm)

Microhardness Tester

The Wilson Tukon 1202 Microhardness tester provides a measure of the hardness of a material by permanently deforming the sample with an indenter tip under a known test force and measuring the size of the resulting indent. The system is equipped with both Vickers and Knoop indenter geometries and 5x, 10x, 50x optics for filar line measurement of the resulting indent. Hardness is determined in either the HV or HK scale, with fixed test loads of 10 - 1000 grams.

Microhardness Tester

Pendant Drop Tensiometer and Contact Angle Goniometer

Pendant Drop Tensiometer and Contact Angle Goniometer

The Ramé-Hart Model 250 Goniometer/Tensiometer is capable of interfacial tension and surface tension measurements, and contact angle measurements including advancing and receding contact angle measurements using the Automated Dispensing System. The Peltier Environmental Chamber and Controller can control temperature precisely between -50° and 150°C.

Dynamic Light Scattering & Zeta Potential System

The Mobius uses light scattering to determine particle size and electrophoretic mobility simultaneously. It determines particle/molecule diameter within a range of 0.5 nm to 10 um as well as the size distribution of molecules in solution or particles in suspension using dynamic light scattering (DLS). It also measures electrophoretic mobility and calculates zeta potential. The Atlas accessory enables characterization of high salt concentration aqueous solutions. The 532 nm laser enables characterization of particles or polymers down to 0.5 nm diameter

Temperature Range: 20 - 85 C
Particle/Molecular Size Range: 0.5 nm to 10 microns in diameter

Dynamic Light Scattering and Zeta Potential

4 point NanoManipulator

4-point Nano-manipulators

The Imina miBot nanomanipulators portable solution package has four piezo-actuated mobile robots which can be manipulated independently for 3D manipulation and 4 point electrical testing. The miBot system is both ambient and vacuum compatible, so the miBots can be controlled inside our S-3400 SEM environment as well as under a typical light microscope like the BX-51.

Processing

In order to make new materials or change properties of materials, the materials often need to be processed in some way.  The MSEC has the ability to perform heat treatments, roll metal samples and perform plastic molding.

Injection Molder

The Via Biomedical GS-5T is a 5 ton benchtop injection molding press that is good for prototyping, research and development, and short runs.
•    Separate barrel and nozzle temperature control, up to 700 °F
•    Up to 0.25 ounce shot size
•    Clamp for 3" mold length x 1.25" thickness x 2" height

Injection Molder

Polymer Extruder and Chopper

Mixing Extruder

The Dynisco Laboratory Mixing Extruder is a benchtop mixing extruder ideal for research and development and small-scale mixing or compounding.
•    Rod header with 1/8" orifice
•    Maximum temperature 400 °C
•    Chopper accessory available to create pellets from extrudate

Prototyping

The MSEC has three 3D printers that are used for prototyping of parts. The printers print parts in ABS, PLA or nylon. The composite 3-D printer prints in nylon with reinforcement of carbon fiber, fiber glass or Kevlar. This unique printer can produce parts that are as strong as aluminum.

  • Stratasys UPring SE Plus
  • Makerbot Replicator
  • Markforged Mark II
Stratasys uPrint SE Plus 3D printer

The uPrint SE Plus uses ABSplus thermoplastic and a soluble support SR-30 to build complex shapes on a 3D printer. ABSplus is available in 9 colors and the soluble support allows functions moving parts to be constructed after the support material is removed in the wash bath. Multiple layer thicknesses allow the system to optimized for speed or resolution, depending on the need.

Build Size:        200 x 200 x 150 mm
Layer Thickness:    0.254 or 0.330 mm

Stratasys uPrint SE Plus

Makerbot Replicator 3D printer

Makerbot Replicator 3D printer

The Fifth Generation Replicator is an entry level 3D printer that utilizes Polyactide (PLA) as the build material. The 3D printer has a glass build plate and can take MakerBot, OBJ, STL and Thinig file formats.

Build Size:        250 x 198 x 150 mm
Layer Thickness:    0.05 - 0.4 mm

Markforged Mark II composite 3D printer

The Mark II is a composite 3D printer which prints in Nylon as the base polymer. The system is capable of reinforcing the nylon material with carbon fiber, fiber glass or Kevlar, allowing for the printing of parts that are as strong as aluminum. 

Build Size:        320 x 132 x 160 mm
Layer Thickness:    0.1 mm

Markforged Mark II composite 3D printer

FormLabs Form 2 3D printer

The Form2 uses a liquid monomer to print a 3D model based on laser polymerization. The system uses a Sterolithogrphy (SLA) process with a polymer solution. Several types of polymer solution are available, including different hardness. The system has a 250mW violet laser and a self-heating resin tank for optimal temperature control.

Build Size:        145 x 145 x 175 mm
Layer Thickness:    0.025, 0.05 or 0.1 mm

FormLabs Form 2 3D printer

Sample Preparation

Often samples need to be prepared before they are characterized. The MSEC has a full suite of sample preparation tools that allow samples to be properly prepared for all of our available analysis techniques. Cutting, polishing and coating are common sample preparation techniques.

Optical Microscopes

Two types of Olympus microscopes are available with image capturing capabilities. The SZ61 Stereoscope is equipped with a high resolution Olympus SC100 camera and has a magnification range from 0.67x to 4.5x. The three BX51 Microscopes are upright inspection instruments, featuring both bright field and dark field optics with 5x, 10x, 20x and 50x objective optics (NA = 0.8 at 50x). The BX51 has light sources for both reflected light and transmitted light measurements, a wide variety of filters and polarizers for enhancing image contrast and an Olympus DP72 camera to capture high resolution images.

Optical Microscope

Low Speed Linear Diamond Saw

Low-Speed Linear Diamond Saw 

The Allied TechCut 4 Precision saw is used to cut samples that may be damaged by high speed sectioning.  This gravity fed system has sliding weights (0-300 grams) to apply or counterbalance force during sectioning.  Cutting fluid is applied to the sample via the rotating blade.

Blade Speed: 0-500 RPM in 10 RPM increments
Arm Positioning with 1 µm resolution

Cut-off Saw

The Allied PowerCut10x is a manual cut-off saw. It can handle a large variety of shapes up to 3.75" to be sectioned. The case accommodates long samples such as bar stock.

  Sample mounting Press

Sample Mounting Press

The Allied TechPress 2 is an automatic sample mounting system for use with a variety of thermoset polymers. Two mounts can be produced simultaneously and up to 99 molding programs can be saved in the press software.

Heating Temperature Range: 0-200° C
Molding Pressure: up to 5500 psi

Allied M-Prep 3 Grinding/Polishing Machine

The M-Prep 3 is a manual grinding/polishing system which features a variable platen speed from 10-600 RPM. Water application is also user controlled.  The lab stocks a variety of grinding/polishing abrasive media for use on this and other preparatory equipment.

 

Allied MetPrep 3 Grinder/Polisher with PH-3 Power Head

The MetPrep 3 is a semi-automatic grinding/polishing system for consistent preparation of metallographic specimens. A touch pad allows control of all functions, with a maximum of 25 user-programmable steps.  The PH-3 Power Head provides controlled sample force and allows up to 6 samples to be prepared simultaneously.

Manual and Semi-Automatic Mechanical Grinders-Polishers

Platen speed: 40-600 RPM in 10 RPM increments
Rotation Mode: Comp/Contra
Time: 0-120 minutes in 15 second increments
Sample speed: 0-150 RPM in 10 RPM increments
Force: Single/Central
    Central Force: 5-50 lb. in 1 lb. increments or 22-219 N in 4 N increments
    Single/Individual Force: 0-16 lb. in 1 lb. increments or 0-70 N in 4 N increment

Vibrational Polisher

Vibrational Polisher

The Buehler VibroMet 2 is an automated final step polisher, removing minor deformations after mechanical preparation. Its 12 inch bowl allows for the simultaneous preparation of multiple samples. The VibroMet runs at 7200 cycles per minute of horizontal motion, providing exceptional flatness. Once loaded, the system can run unattended for prolonged periods.

Sputter Coater

The Denton Desk V Sputter Coater is equipped with a gold target to allow coating of non-conductive samples prior to introduction into an electron microscope.  The coating thickness can be varied, and typical deposition rates are on the order of 4 Angstroms per second.  Because this conductive layer is so thin, it does not obscure sample features in electron microscopy.

Sputter Coater

Evaporator

Evaporator

The Edwards Auto 306 evaporator system is equipped with turbo pump vacuum system, 2 thermal evaporation sources, and a FTM-6 quartz crystal thin film monitor. The system is routinely used for gold deposition on silicon using a chromium bonding layer. Alternatively, a carbon source can be installed in the system to carbon coat samples electron microscopy.

Tube Furnace up to 1700° C

The SentroTech STT-1700C-3-6-OT tube furnace has a 2 ¾" ID alumina tube for heat treating samples at high temperatures. The system has sealing endcaps capable of handling both a reduced atmosphere (10-3 Torr) and a positive pressure inert gas flow. The furnace has a Eurotherm programmable controller which allows for custom temperature programs with multiple rate changes and hold temperatures. The maximum temperature for the furnace with the alumina tube is 1700° C.

Tube Furnace

Tube Furnace up to 1200 degrees F

Tube Furnace up to 1200° C

The Lindberg/Blue M 1200C furnace is a three-zone, split-hinge furnace with a 6" bore and 36" heated length.  Mullite and quartz tubing is available in 3" and 6" diameters.  The furnace operates in air with a quartz vacuum encapsulation system available to seal small samples.

Vacuum Oven

The VWR symphony vacuum oven model 414004-580 is a 32L oven suitable for drying, baking, conditioning, and outgassing solid and liquid samples. The oven has a temperature range from 70 - 200° C and has a vacuum range from 10 to 750 mm Hg. The vacuum is generated using a dry chemical pump capable of pulling a vacuum on organic solvents without the need for a solvent trap.

Vacuum Oven

Spin Coater

Spin Coater

The Chemat KW-4A is an easy-to-use spin coater for precise and uniform deposition of thin films and coatings. A two-stage spin process allows dispensing at low speed and homogenizing the coating at high speed. The KW-4A spin coater can be used to deposit metal oxide thin films, polymer coatings and metal organic thin films.

Microtome

The Leica Ultracut UCT Ultramicrotome is used to prepare samples for Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM).  Solid samples can be cut in 50-200nm from bulk or mounted samples.  The samples need to be able to contact water for successful transfer to TEM sample grids.

Microtome

Box Furnace

Box Oven (70-250° C)

The VWR Forced-air oven is used to heat to moderate temperatures with excellent temperature uniformity and control (±2.4°C @ 150°C).  The capacity is 5.4ft3.

Schedule time to use instruments in the MS+E Center

My job deals with fiber research and development, including microscopy with SEM, polarized light and optical microscopes. The majority of the microscopy work I conduct is through the Materials Science and Engineering Center at UW-Eau Claire.

Laura Williams '13 | R&D technologist | Fiberstar Bio Ingredients Technologies
Field emission scanning electron microscope
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