MSE Core Research Facility

The Materials Science & Engineering Core Research Facility was officially commissioned in June 2012. Since that time, it has grown to house multiple core pieces of equipment for the Materials Science & Engineering and Photonics Center community.

Two Bruker X-Ray systems have been acquired by an NSF MRI award led by Prof. Ludwig, and are available for faculty use. Dr. Jeffrey Bacon (Chemistry) ( oversees training and maintenance on these two systems. The N8 Horizon and the D8 Discover systems are complementary, and allow for small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS and WAXS).

N8 Horizon
N8 Horizon System


The N8 Horizon, introduced by Bruker in 2012, is one of the first such systems installed in the US. The instrument is designed for compact spaces and has transmission and grazing incidence SAXS capabilities.



D8 Discover System
D8 Discover System



The D8 Discover is a very versatile WAXS system with general x-ray diffraction (XRD), high-resolution XRD, reciprocal space mapping, grazing incidence diffraction, x-ray reflectivity, pole-figure analysis, and sample heating (1000°C) capabilities.

Zeiss Xradia 410 Versa System
Zeiss Xradia 410 Versa System

A Zeiss Xradia 410 Versa system was acquired and set up through a separate NSF MRI award, led by Professor Elise Morgan (ME, BME, MSE) (  This tool bridges the gap between high-performing X-ray microscopy (XRM) and less powerful computed tomography (CT) systems. This system provides quantitative 3-D characterization of materials microstructure at multiple length scales down to the sub-micron, including porosity, density, surface area, and topological measures such as 3-D connectivity.


Asylum afm_2
AFM-FM Microscope


The AFM-FM Microscope that was housed in the core facility is currently undergoing major improvements via a third NSF MRI award led by Professor Bennett Goldberg (Physics, BME, ECE, MSE). In conjunction with Asylum, the system is being retrofitted with Raman Spectroscopy for enhanced tip capability.


Renishaw Raman Microscope_1
Renishaw Raman Microscope System

Next to the AFM is a new Renishaw Raman Microscope system that includes a heating/cooling stage and multiple wavelengths for Raman observation. This tool was purchased via the Photonics Center Capital Equipment Committee and is open to all Photonics and Materials Science & Engineering faculty.

In the basement of the Photonics Center, the Focused Ion Beam/Transmission Electron Microscope Facility is comprised of two laboratories consisting of 600 square feet, and is overseen by Dr. Alexey Nikiforov (Photonics) ( This laboratory houses a recently purchased FEI Quanta 3D FEG FIB (Field Emission Gun Focused Ion Beam) system and a FEI Tecnai Osiris 200kV S/TEM (Scanning/Transmission Electron Microscope).


Jeremy Reeves (Postdoctoral Associate in Professor Bishop’s group) is patterning MEMS structures using FEI FIB system.

The FEI Quanta 3D FEG FIB is a powerful tool for SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) imaging to aid removal and deposition of materials at a micro/nano scale with a resolution of 1.2 nm in the HiVac mode, 2.9 nm in LoVac mode, and 7 nm with the FIB column. The system includes gas injector modules (GIS) and an Omniprobe micromanipulator can be used for TEM sample preparation and lift-out. A Peltier/Heating Stage Control Kit allows for the study of in situ dynamic behavior of materials at different humidity (up to 100% RH) and temperatures (-10°C to 1000°C).


FEI Osiris TEM/STEM microscope – for microstructural investigations on nanoscale

The FEI Tecnai Osiris 200V S/TEM is a versatile scanning transmission electron microscope that allows for bright-field/dark-field imaging, selected area and convergent beam diffraction, and high-resolution imaging with a point-to-point resolution of 0.25nm, and line resolution of 0.102 nm, extended to 0.16 nm with TrueImage™ software, and a STEM resolution of 0.18 nm. The system can seamlessly switch between TEM and STEM modes. The system also includes energy dispersive x-ray (Super-X EDX) capabilities for composition analysis and mapping, and energy filtered TEM with electron energy loss spectroscopy (Gatan EELS) for light element quantification and mapping.


Jicheng Guo (PhD candidate in Professor Basu’s group) is studying atomic arrangements in Ge fibers using high resolution TEM.






A new sample preparation room to prepare electron transparent samples for use in the TEM is currently operational and open to all Photonics and Materials Science & Engineering faculty. Through equipment purchases at the Photonics Center, a grinder, cut-off saw, disc cutter, automated polishing and lapping equipment, dimpler, and ion mill are all installed.

Salare hoods
Salare hoods

The materials processing area is comprised of two Salare hoods that are dedicated to acid and base processing. Table space is provided within this room to allow for sample preparation and oven use if applicable.