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NBIC Probe Facility (Penn)

Director: Johnson, A.T. Charlie., PhD


The NBIC serves as an incubator for new probes of nanostructure behavior and associated instrumentation development. It is equipped with a suite of scanning probes, opto-electronic/transport tools, and optical probes that are so recently developed as not to be available on commercial instruments. The environment facilitates the development and refinement of new probe-based techniques.





  • Agilent PicoPlus atomic force microscope ( Atomic force microscope )

    Multi-environment AFM: Ambient, fluid cell, controlled gas.
    Tip-bias control and built-in lock-ins electrical excitation

    • contact and dynamic scanning modes.
    • electric force microscopy (EFM), scanning kelvin probe microscopy (SKPM) higher harmonic imaging.
    • MAC mode for dynamic actuation in fluids.
    • closed-loop and open loop scanners with 10μm & 100 μm range.

  • Asylum MFP-3D atomic force microscope ( Atomic force microscope )

    The MFP-3D has a 90 um closed-loop XY scanner and thermally stabilized chamber to reduce drift.

    Additional capabilities include:
    • AC and Dual AC: Q-controlled imaging; both air and fluid.
    • force curves in contact or AC modes, frictional force imaging.
    • nanolithography, electric force microscopy, and scanning surface potential.
    • conductive AFM, magnetic and piezoresponse force microscopy.
    • scanning impedance microscopy at GHz frequencies.

  • Bruker Dimension Icon AFM ( Atomic force microscope )

    "Ambient AFM with large (100 μm) scanner, 4-inch sample stage, and closed-loop scanner. Environmental hood for inert gas DC and AC electrical modulation of tip or sample stage.

    Capabilities include:
    • Lateral and piezo force microscopy.
    • Tapping and torsional-resonance AFM.
    • Scanning surface potential, scanning conductivity, and tunneling microscopy.
    • PeakForce AFM with quantiative nanomechanics, including PeakForce conductive AFM.

  • Interfacial force microscope ( Scanning force microscope )

    Adhesion and friction measurements (sensitivity 10 nN-20 uN) are made using displacement control. Unique feature: A novel electrostatically-driven & self-balancing sensor, which has zero compliance. In contrast to nanoindentors and AFMs, there is no snap-in to contact.

  • Lakeshore probe station ( Cryogenic probe station )

    The Lakeshore probe station is used to make electrical measurements in controlled environments.
    Ambient, vacuum, and inert gas purge, 80-375 K.
    DC and radio frequency probes.
    Variable wavelength light for photo-excited phenomena.

    • 6 probe arms available: Four DC-1GHz and Two 1GHz+
    • 150-1200 nm monochromator with 1-2 nm precision.
    • Arc / deuterium lamps and lasers of varying wavelength.
    • Agilent impedance analyzer (5 Hz - 30 GHz)
    • Kiethley DC meter (1fA sensitivity).
    • Kiethley 6 1/2 digit multimeter.
    • SRS 30 MHz function generator.

  • Omicron VT-STM/AFM ( Scanning force microscope )

    This ultra-high vacuum atomic force / scanning tunneling microscope overs a temperature range from 25 K to 1500 K with a scan range of 10 μm × 10 μm × 1.5 μm.
    Operation modes include contact mode with normal force/lateral force detection and non-contact modes (i.e. NC-AFM, SKPM, EFM, MFM). The VT AFM also includes STM detection with the first I/V conversion stage in-situ, located close to the scanner in order to achieve best signal-to-noise ratio and optimal performance.

    STM capabilities
    • Bias: tip
    • Bias range: ±10 V
    • Measurable tunneling current: 100 pA - 10 nA
    • Spectroscopy options: I/V, dI/dV, CITS

  • Oxford ultra-high vacuum scanning tunneling microscope with RHK Controller ( Scanning force microscope )

    Oxford UHV chamber is paired with an RHK controller.

    STM capabilities
    • Bias: sample
    • Bias range: ±10 V
    • Measurable tunneling current: 100 pA - 100 nA
    • Amplifier bandwidth: 500 Hz - 150 kHz
    • Spectroscopy options: I/V, dI/dV, CITS

  • Scanning confocal Raman spectrometer with atomic force microscope / near-field scanning optical microscope ( Raman-Atomic force microscope )

    Atomic force microscope attached to 532 nm and 660 nm laser sources and confocal Raman spectroscopy system. Spatial resolution is about 300 nm. Two full-featured microscopes allow imaging of both opaque and transparent samples. The inverted microscope system has an oil immersion lens and high numerical aperture for high-resolution optical imaging. Near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM) and photomultiplier tube yield ~100 nm optical resolution.

    The raman spectrometer has edge and notch filters and a full complement of diffraction gratings. The high-resolution CCD camera is cooled for noise reduction.

    Various types of systems can be investigated with this instrument:
    • graphene, carbon nanotubes and other carbon materials
    • semiconductor devices
    • nanotubes, nanowires, and quantum dots
    • polymers
    • optical devices such as semiconductor lasers, waveguides, and plasmonic devices

    Investigation of cellular tissue, DNA, viruses and other biological objects and in situ temperature measurements can be carried out.

  • Total internal reflection fluorescence atomic force microscope ( Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Atomic force microscope )

    AFM with 16 μm vertical range and 90 μm lateral range. Also excels at 1-D pulling or pushing force measurements.

    Mounted on inverted optical microscope with excitation from three lasers:
    red (Coherent CUBE 641 nm, 100 mW)
    green (Crystalaser CL-532 nm, 100 mW)
    blue (Coherent Sapphire 488 nm, 75 mW)

    Environmental control includes heated environmental enclosure and Bio-heater fluid cell: AFM and optical microscope can be heated up to 37ºC

    Eppendorf micro-manipulator and pipetter for in situ dosing of cells and tissues. 10x, 20x, 40x and 100x lenses with high-speed camera allow viewing of AFM tip in contact with sample.

    Sample application: co-localization of actin filaments by optical microscopy and AFM


  • NBIC instrumentation training ( Training service )

    Training is provided for instrumentation in the NBIC Probe Facility.

    If you are interested in using the Probe Facility, please complete the NBIC Probe Facility User Proposal.

  • Scanning probe measurement service ( Material analysis service )

    NBIC Probe Facility users with limited number of samples can have scanning probe measurements completed by facility staff.

    If you are interested in using the Probe Facility, please complete the NBIC Probe Facility User Proposal.

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Last updated: 2015-02-09T13:47:33.142-05:00

Copyright © 2016 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College
The eagle-i Consortium is supported by NIH Grant #5U24RR029825-02 / Copyright 2016