BNL Home

Materials Synthesis and Characterization Facility

All Equipment »

The Materials Synthesis and Characterization Facility includes laboratories for producing nanostructured materials and characterizing their basic structural, chemical and optical properties.

The facility staff has significant experience in solution-phase chemistry of nanocrystal/nanowire materials, inorganic synthesis by chemical vapor deposition, physical vapor deposition, and atomic layer deposition.  The staff includes experts in techniques of nanoscale fabrication by self-assembly. The facility also supports infrastructure and expertise in solution-based processing of organic thin films, including tools for spin-casting, thermal processing, and UV/ozone treatment.

Analytical tools include a broad range of capabilities for structural, electrochemical, spectroscopic and thermal characterization of materials.

  • Synthesis of nanostructures by chemical vapor deposition and solution-based methods Solution-based synthesis of a variety of soft, biological, hybrid, and inorganic nano-materials and functionalization routes for surfaces and nano-objects
  • Self-assembly methods for polymers
  • Solution-based processing of organic thin films by spin-casting and dip coating
  • Preparation of DNA- and protein-based nanostructures Gel-based DNA purification, conventional and real-time PCR for DNA amplification
  • Structural and functional probing of nanostructures using x-ray scattering, optical, and scanning probes methods
  • Electrical characterization under various temperature, magnetic field, and illumination conditions

Electrical Characterization

Contact: Fernando Camino and Chang-Yong Nam

The electrical characterization lab hosts these major instruments:

  • LakeShore Model 8404 Hall Effect Measurement System allows measurement of mobilities down to 0.001 cm2/Vs and resistances from 0.5 mWto 100 GW. Samples can be measured at room temperature and at 77 K.
  • LakeShore HFTTP4 cryogenic probe station is designed for low-noise, DC to 50 MHz, measurements from 4 K up to 400 K under in-plane magnetic fields up to 1 Tesla. Optical sources can be introduced through a viewport window or a fiber optic probe arm.
  • Signatone CM-170 probe station is perfect for routine electrical characterization at room temperature. It is reliable and simple to use.
  • Rucker and Kolls probe station is suited for studying optoelectronic properties at room temperature. It is fitted with a with a Newport-Oriel solar spectrum simulator and optical monochromator.
  • MMR's Variable Temperature Micro Probe System allows opto-electrical characterization of samples in the temperature range from 70K to 730K under controlled atmosphere (inert, vacuum etc.) and light condition.
  • MBE-Komponenten AO500 high-temperature probe station for rapid thermal annealing (up to 500 °C) in vacuum (2 mbar) or in a gas mixture atmosphere (Ar, H2 and N2 regulated by mass flow controllers). The system also allows optical access to the sample and in-situ electrical characterization.
  • Kulicke & Soffa Model 4526 wire wedge bonder.

Inorganic Materials Synthesis

Contact: Mingzhao Liu and Gregory Doerk

Inorganic nanomaterials synthesis and characterization capabilities include solution-phase and chemical vapor deposition methods, electrochemical deposition, x-ray diffraction, thermal measurement equipment, and oxygen-free processing environments. An electrochemistry workstation (Princeton Applied Research Parastat 2273-SYS Potentiostat) which is used for general electrochemistry synthesis and measurements.

The X-ray diffractometer (Rigaku Miniflex II) is a basic powder diffractometer for phase identification. Thermal measurement equipment, Thermogravimetry/ Differential Thermal Analyzer/ Differential Scanning Calorimetry (TG/DTA/DSC), has simultaneous DTA/TGA and DSC capabilities for analyzing reactions and phase transitions. The glovebox (M. Braun Labmaster 130) is used for processing air and moisture sensitive materials.

Macromolecular and Nanomaterial Synthesis & Assembly

Contact: Fang Lu and  Oleg Gang 

Capabilities include techniques and methods required for the synthesis, fabrication and study of novel hybrid structures and functionalities using regulated nanoscale assembly and self-organization approaches. Capabilities and expertise include solution-based synthesis and characterization (FTIR Thermo Scientific Nicolet 6700, Circular Dichroism Spectrometer - Jasco J-815,HPLC, Quantitative PCR) of a variety of soft, biological, hybrid and inorganic nanomaterials, advanced functionalization routes for surfaces and nano-objects, selective biomolecular recognition and DNA scaffolding.

Thin-Film Processing

Contact: Chang-Yong Nam and Gregory Doerk

The group supports a thin-film materials processing laboratory outside the cleanroom environment, which includes facilities for air-free materials processing and atomic layer deposition (ALD) of inorganic thin films. The laboratory also includes small, versatile versions of the Nanofabrication Facility toolset such as facilities for organic film deposition by spin-coating and thermal processing in vacuum or inert gas environments. A March Plasma CS1701F reactive ion etch tool supports SF6, CHF3, CF4, CF3Br, and O2 gas chemistries. Metal film deposition by thermal evaporation and DC magnetron sputtering is supported by a Kurt J. Lesker PVD75 tool. The laboratory includes chemical fume hoods and optical microscopes for sample processing and inspection.

Hitachi 4800 SEM and JEOL-7600F (analytical SEM) status and related information

Structural and Spectroscopic Probing

Contact: Dmytro Nykypanchuk and Oleg Gang 

In-situ structural characterization can be performed for surfaces, thin films nanoparticles, biological complexes, nanofabricated structures and hybrid composites under environmental condition. We utilize the range of x-ray (Rigaku Ultima III), optical (Ellipsometer J.A. Woollam M-2000 , Dynamic Light Scattering with Zeta Potential - Malvern Zetasizer Nano) , spectroscopic (Photon Counting Spectrofluorometer - ISS PC1/K2, Uv-Vis/NIR Spectrophotometer - PerkinElmer Lambda 950) and scanning probe methods (Asylum Research MFP-3D) for structure characterization.

  • Physical Vapor Sputter/Thermal Evaporator


    This thin film deposition system (Kurt J. Lesker PVD75) is used for the synthesis of inorganic thin films by thermal evaporation and DC magnetron sputtering.

  • Pulsed Laser Deposition System PLD/MBE 2300

    PLD 2300:

    The pulsed laser deposition system (PVD Products PLD-MBE 2300) is used for synthesis of complex metal oxides or nitride thin-films by laser ablation. 

  • Room Temperature Electrical Probe Station

    Room Temp Probe Station:

    The Signatone CM-170 has four high quality micromanipulated probes for DC and low-frequency electrical characterization. 

  • Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

    Hitachi SEM:

    This scanning electron microscope (Hitachi 4800 SEM) is a cold field emission instrument capable of 1.5 nm resolution at 15 kV and 2.5 nm resolution at 1 kV. 

  • Small Angle X-Ray Scattering (SAXS/GISAXS/WAXS) with Cu rotating anode source

    SaxsLabs SAXS:

    The SaxsLabs Small Angle X-ray Scattering instrument investigates the structure of materials from angstroms to ~200 nm length scales by providing SAXS/GISAXS and WAXS capabilities.

  • Universal X-ray Diffractometer

    Ultima III Universal Diffractometer:

    Rigaku Ultima III is a universal diffractometer capable of characterizing thin films, bulk powders, and surfaces. 

  • Variable Temperature Probe Station (70K-730K)


    The MMR VTMP spans the temperature range from 70 to 730 Kelvin under controlled atmosphere and optical excitation.

  • Wedge Wire Bonder

    Wire Bonder:

    The wedge bonder Kulicke & Soffa 4526 has semi-automatic and manual operation modes, and also individual bond parameters. 

  • X-Ray Diffractometer

    Miniflex II:

    Two X-ray diffraction systems (Rigaku Ultima III and Miniflex II) are capable of characterizing thin films, bulk powders, and surfaces. 

  • LightCycler 480 instrument

    Real-Time PCR:

    The LightCycler® 480 system enables you to perform real-time, online PCR combined with rapid cycling of up to 96 or 384 samples. 

  • Particle Sizing and Tracking


    The instrument provides characterization of nanoparticle sizes and diffusion in liquids. 

  • Photon Counting Spectrofluorometer

    ISS PC1/K2 Fluorometer:

    This fluorometer (ISS PC1 Multifrequency Cross-Correlation Phase and Modulation Fluorometer) is capable of steady state and lifetime measurements (from 1 millisecond to 1 picosecond). 

  • Reactive Ion Etcher (RIE)

    March RIE:

    This tool (March Plasma CS1701F) is used for radio frequency (RF) plasma etching of organic and inorganic thin films using combinations of six process gases (SF6, CF4, CHF3, O2, Ar, and CF3Br). 

  • Spectroscopic Ellipsometer

    Woollam M2000:

    This ellipsometer (J.A. Woollam M-2000 Spectroscopic Ellipsometer) allows analysis and mapping of thin films and interfaces, with temperature control in air and liquids.  

  • Sputter/Coater

    Cressington 208HR Coater:

    This benchtop DC sputter coater deposits thin noble metal films (Au, AuPd, or Pt) by DC sputtering. It is typically used for preparing samples for scanning electron microscopy. 

  • Thermo Gravimetric/Differential Thermal Analyzer (TGA/DTA)


    The Perkin-Elmer Pyris Diamond TGA/DTA is used to perform thermogravimetric and differential thermal analytic measurements.

  • Uv-Vis Spectrophotometer

    PerkinElmer UV-Vis Lambda 25:

    UV/Vis Spectrophotometer

  • Uv-Vis/NIR Spectrophotometer with 60mm integrating sphere

    PerkinElmer Lambda 950:

    In addition to liquid sample measurements, the instrument is equipped for studies of films and powders in specular and diffuse scattering regimes.  

  • Wet chemistry synthesis/functionalization of nano-scale and organic materials

    Wet Chemistry:

    Capabilities required for the synthesis, fabrication and study of novel hybrid structures and functionalities.