Materials Science and Engineering Research Facilities, Laboratories and Equipment
On this page:
- Atomic Force Microscopy Laboratory
- Biophysical and Polymer Radiation Laboratory
- Combinatorial Materials Synthesis Laboratory
- Combinatorial Synthesis and Rapid Characterization Center
- Functional Macromolecular Laboratory
- High-Resolution Transmission Microscopy Laboratory
- The Keck Laboratory for Combinatorial Nanosynthesis and Multiscale Characterization
- Laboratory for Advanced Materials Processing (LAMP)
- Laboratory for Plasma Processing of Materials
- Laboratory for Radiation and Polymer Science
- Materials Characterization Laboratory
- Materials Screening Laboratory
- Microelectronics Devices Laboratory
- Molecular Mechanics Laboratory
- Nanoscale Imaging, Spectroscopy, and Properties Laboratory (NISPLab)
- Nanoscale Imaging, Spectroscopy, and Properties Laboratory 2 (NISPLab2)
- Polymer Characterization Laboratory and the Functional Macromolecular Laboratory
- University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC)
- University of Maryland Radiation Facilities
Atomic Force Microscopy Laboratory:
Nicolet Series II Magna-IR System 550 Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy Microscope (FTIR)
The Atomic Force Microscopy Laboratory houses our Nicolet Series II Magna-IR System 550 FTIR microscope. FTIR, an acronym for Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), may also be called infrared or IR spectroscopy. FTIR spectroscopy is an absorption technique, a kind of vibrational spectroscopy, and uses chemically-specific analysis.
Infrared spectroscopy detects the vibration characteristics of chemical functional groups in a sample. When an infrared light interacts with the matter, chemical bonds will stretch, contract and bend. A chemical functional group tends to adsorb infrared radiation in a specific wavenumber range regardless of the structure of the rest of the molecule. As a result, the correlation of the band wavenumber position with the chemical structure can be used used to identify functional group (chemical compounds and substituent groups) in a sample.
The Biophysical and Polymer Radiation Laboratory, directed by Professor Mohamad Al-Sheikhly, is located in the Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Building and is utilized in conjunction with the University of Maryland Radiation Facilities. The laboratory has two distinct experimental facilities devoted to polymer modification research and radiation biophysics. The laboratory facilities allow for the study of the effect of radiation on a wide range of polymers. The crosslinking, degradation, and synthesis of polymers with the use of gamma-ray and electron beam radiation is investigated for applications such as medical implants, fuel cells, biochips, adhesives and waste water treatment. Techniques such as Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) Spectroscopy, Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) provide a measure of a number of important materials properties. In addition polymer microtomy can be used to prepare materials for thin films analysis, Soxhlet extraction provides a measure of crosslink fraction, and an optical pulse radiolysis set-up allows reaction kinetics measurements in liquid solutions. The radiation biophysics area is equipped with state-of-the-art cell culture instruments which allow investigation into the effects of varying LET radiation on biological systems, as well as targeted drug delivery systems for the treatment of cancer.
The Combinatorial Materials Synthesis Laboratory houses a custom-built high vacuum combinatorial co-sputtering chamber. The 3-gun co-sputtering system can be used to fabricate ternary thin-film composition spreads of metallic alloy systems. The ternary composition spreads are used to rapidly map properties of materials as a continuously changing function of composition across ternary phase diagrams. This technique has been used to explore and identify new compositions of ferromagnetic shape memory alloys, thermoelastic shape memory alloys, magnetostrictive materials, permanent magnet materials and metal gate electrode materials for CMOS.
A combinatorial approach to materials is an emerging paradigm of materials research methodology. In individual experiments, up to thousands of compositionally varying samples are simultaneously fabricated and screened for enhanced physical properties. The Combinatorial Synthesis and Rapid Characterization Center, directed by MSE Professor Ichiro Takeuchi, is a comprehensive lab facility for carrying out combinatorial experimentation with a focus in electronic thin film materials has been established. Experimental tools include a combinatorial UHV co-sputtering system, combinatorial pulsed laser deposition systems, various scanning probe microscopes and a scanning X-ray microdiffractometer.
The Functional Macromolecular Laboratory, directed by MSE affiliate professor Peter Kofinas (Fischell Department of Bioengineering), focuses on the synthesis, characterization and processing of novel polymer-based nanostructured systems used in a variety of technological fields, ranging from medicine and pharmaceuticals to energy storage and microelectronics. The lab features a comprehensive set of characterization equipment for polymer mechanical, thermal, dielectric, conductive properties. Current projects include the design of polymers, hydrogels, and molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) for use in blood-coagulation, intelligent food packaging capable of detecting pathogenic bacteria, hemodialysis, vaccine production, the selective binding of viruses and proteins, and electrolytes for flexible batteries and energy storage systems.
Equipment includes a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC), dynamic mechanical analyzer (DMA) dielectric analyzer (DEA), ultraviolet/visible light spectrophotometer, gel permeation chromatography with light scattering (GPC), ultramicrotome with cryo capability, and frequency response analyzer (FRA).
High-Resolution Transmission Microscopy Laboratory:
JEOL 4000 FX Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM)
The High-Resolution Transmission Microscopy Laboratory houses our JEOL 4000 FX Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM), used for structural characterization of materials. Maximum available operating voltage is 350 KV. Characterization techniques include: Selected Area Electron Diffraction (SAED), Convergent Beam Electron Diffraction (CBED), Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM), and High Resolution Electron Microscopy (HREM) for study of atomic structures of materials. A cooling holder for temperatures from room temperature to liquid nitrogen temperature is available for in-situ characterization of materials.
The University of Maryland received a major award from the W. M. Keck Foundation of Los Angeles to establish a new laboratory for combinatorial nanosynthesis and multiscale characterization. Conceived by Professors Ichiro Takeuchi, Gary Rubloff, and Ellen Williams (Department of Physics), the Keck Laboratory is a centerpiece for pioneering research which extends campus strengths in combinatorial materials science, scanning nanoprobes, and highly controlled materials synthesis profoundly into the nanoscale domain to enable fundamentally new insights into the behavior of materials at the nanoscale. (Left: Laser Molecular Beam Epitaxy System [LMBE] in the Keck Lab.)
See a 360° panorama of the Keck Lab. (Opens in a new tab or window. QuickTime required.)
The Laboratory for Advanced Materials Processing (LAMP), directed by Professor Gary Rubloff, is a class 1000 clean room facility for semiconductor fabrication. It includes a broad variety of advanced materials processes and supporting processes for fabricating devices and test structures, such as lithography, metal deposition, polymer and sol-gel processing, chemical vapor deposition, atomic layer deposition, and associated metrology and test equipment. It also supports materials and process research in chemical processes, sensors, and process control.
The Laboratory for Plasma Processing of Materials, headed by Professor Gottlieb Oehrlein, is part of the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. The laboratory is in the Energy Research Facility. The research of the laboratory is aimed at producing nano-structures using plasma processing and establishing the scientific understanding required for the efficient production of nano-structures using this approach.
The Laboratory for Radiation and Polymer Science, directed by Professor Mohamad Al-Sheikhly, has pursued the chemistry and materials of the radiation processing industry since 1960. The Laboratory supports companies and government laboratories with radiation-related research and consulting services in three areas:
Applied radiation and physics of polymers: crosslinking scission, polymerization, and effects on reinforced and filled polymers. These include the development of products for ordinary commercial use (packaging materials, elastomers, membranes, textiles, etc.); and the degradation of insulating materials in space satellites and nuclear reactors;
Radiation sources technology, such as transport of high energy electrons in complex targets, dosimetry, and optimization studies; and
Fundamental aspects of radiation bearing on applied problems, such as radiation chemistry of crystalline alkane and semicrystalline polymers, initiation mechanisms of vinyl polymerization, and radiation effects on morphology and metrology of polymers.
The Materials Characterization Laboratory houses our ElectroScan E3 environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM), used for surface analytical imaging of uncoated samples. Samples can be observed under various environments (water vapor, air and other gases). Heating and cooling holders are available for in-situ scanning electron microscopy in temperatures ranging from -190° C to +400° C. A straining holder is available for failure analysis under applied stress.
The Materials Screening Laboratory is home to our Lakeshore 7400 Series Vibrating Sample Magnetometer (VSM), the most sensitive VSM available today. This VSM features a noise floor of 1 x 10-7 emu at 10 seconds/point sampling, 4 x 10-7 emu at 1 sec/pt. and 7.5 x 10-7 emu at 0.1 seconds/point. It can measure hysteresis M(H) loops and temperature dependent magnetic properties of all types of magnetic materials in bulk, powder, thin film, single crystal, and liquid form. Its temperature range capabilities include a cryostat option covering 8 K to 425 K with liquid helium or 80 K to 425 K with liquid Nitrogen; and an oven option covering 305 K to 1273 K. Variable gap magnets allow for field strength up to 2.3 Tesla and accommodation of large samples to 1".
The Microelectronics Devices Laboratory, directed by Professor Aris Christou, specializes in failures analysis and related methodology for integrated circuits and packages. It has the capability to meet these challenges and successfully perform the failure analysis of the integrated circuit (IC) packages with the state-of-the-art analytical techniques. Both destructive and nondestructive failure analysis of IC packages can be performed. Significant experimental capability toward this goal is achieved through cooperation with the Nanoscale Imaging and Spectroscopy Lab (NISP).
The Molecular Mechanics Laboratory, directed by Assistant Professor Joonil Seog, focuses on investigating molecular level interactions using high resolution force microscopy. Atomic force microscopy and optical tweezers are utilized to understand protein-protein interactions, the nanomechanics of macromolecules, and the structure-function relationship of biological molecules. Current research projects are focused on understanding molecular mechanism of protein aggregation disease, DNA-biomaterial interaction, and self-assembling peptides. Understanding the nature of these interactions will allow us to design novel biomaterials with well-defined nanostructural properties that will be useful for biomedical and nanobiotechnology applications.
The Nanoscale Imaging, Spectroscopy, and Properties Laboratory (NISPLab) in the Kim Building is focused on nanoscale characterization of materials and structures generated in Maryland NanoCenter research laboratories or in the FabLab complex. It features high resolution transmission electron microscopy, secondary electron microscopy, scanning Auger microscopy, and scanning probe techniques for atomic- and nano-scale characterization. It is located in a section of the Kim Building designed for low vibration so that best possible spatial resolution can be achieved from the instruments there. The NispLab is adjacent to and integrated with the Keck Laboratory for Combinatorial Nanosynthesis and Multiscale Characterization. (Left: JEOL 2100F Field Emission TEM in the NISPLab.)
NISPLab's equipment includes:
- A Hitachi SU-70 field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM) equipped with an energy-dispersive x-ray spectrometer (EDS)
- A JEOL 2100F atomic-resolution field emission transmission electron microscope (FE-TEM)
- A JEM 2100 LaB6 transmission electron microscope (TEM) equipped with fiber optic, video-rate imaging
- A JEOL JXA-89 electron microprobe equipped with a wavelength-dispersive x-ray spectrometer (WDS)
The NISPLab2 expands the characterization capabilities of NISPLab with 1800 ft2 of additional, refurbished space in the Energy Research Facility (building #223) across the street from the Kim Building (the location of the original NISPLab). It features an optical and nanoprobe instrumentation suite, a focused ion beam system for nanofabrication and TEM cross-section preparation, a high resolution SEM, and sample preparation facilities. (Left: NTegra Spectra NT-MDT system in the NISPLab2.)
The optical and nanoprobe instrumentation suite includes three systems:
- The NT-MDT system is a scanning probe microscopy (SPM) capability based on two SPM platforms, one an inverted microscope and the other an upright microscope, allowing a broad variety of SPM modes as well as electrochemical characterization and wet cell sample configurations. In addition, a micro Raman system can be utilized with either SPM/microscope setup for micro-Raman spectroscopy and mapping, tip-enhanced Raman, or scanning near-field optical/Raman microscopy.
- The optical spectroscopy system is based on a Horiba Jobin-Yvon spectrometer with CCD camera for simultaneous full-spectrum capture, and is configured for a variety of light sources and sample configurations to accommodate reflectance, transmission/absorption, photoluminescence, and other modes.
- The FTIR system (on order as of June 2011) will support molecular spectroscopy of materials and nanostructures.
The Polymer Characterization Laboratory and the Functional Macromolecular Laboratory, directed by MSE Professor and Chair Robert Briber and Professor Peter Kofinas (Fischell Department of Bioengineering), includes facilities for advanced characterization of polymers, including thermal analysis, microstructural characterization, mechanical properties and interfacial fracture mechanics, and synthesis of polymers and sample preparation.
Equipment includes gel permeation chromatography, mechanical
testing, microscope hot stage, full sample preparation laboratory,
differential scanning calorimeter and thermogravimetric analysis,
low shear stress rheometer and interfacial fracture strength
The University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC), directed by Professor Eric Wachsman, includes conventional and cutting-edge, thick- and thin-film ceramic processing equipment; test facilities for fuel cell, sensor, and membrane reactor setups with controlled gas streams, and on-line GC/MS gas analysis.
Ceramic processing and fabrication equipment includes a ProCast continuous tape castor and Carver heated lamination press. A complete powder synthesis and processing lab, ball mills, a fully automated DEK screen-printer with vision system and feedback control. Furnaces capable of ceramic processing up to 1750°C.
Cell/membrane test equipment includes: computer interfaced potentiostat/ impedance analyzers (Solartron and PAR), sample holders (SOFC, membranes, sensors, etc.) with shielded leads inside temperature-controlled furnaces. Both the electrochemical test equipment and the temperature programmed reaction/desorption (TPR/TPD) apparatus are configured with gas manifolding (mass flow controllers) and gas analysis (mass spectrometer and gas chromatograph). These laboratories also include equipment for thermochemical and thermomechanical analysis, including a Cahn microbalance and a Theta dilatometer, both with temperature and gas environment control.
The Radiation Facilities at the University of Maryland, directed by Professor Mohamad Al-Sheikhly, have recently installed a brand new, state-of-the-art high-energy linear accelerator (LINAC). The TB-10/15 LINAC (L3 Communications, San Leandro, CA) generates a 10 MeV electron beam with an average beam power of 15 kW and compliments the existing medium-energy LINAC. The high-energy beam provides an opportunity for research and industrial applications which lower energy LINACs are incapable of accomplishing, including medical sterilization. This is possible due to the unique ability of high-energy electrons to be converted to photons with a relatively high efficiency. In addition to its high energy electron beam, the L3 LINAC is also equipped with a scanning magnet and horn assembly which sweeps a beam of electrons over a 60 cm surface in either a horizontal or vertical orientation, depending on the specific application. This feature provides the University of Maryland with an ideal setup for pilot-scale studies of radiation processing. (Above left: The LINAC's electron gun.)
Research and industrial applications of the high-energy LINAC include:
- Polymer modification
- Sterilization of medical devices
- Radiation treatment of food products
L3 High-Energy Linear Accelerator System Specifications
10 MeV + 0.2%
Beam Average Power
Pulse Repetition Rate