Equipment in the ISM Characterization Lab


Photo of scanning probe microscope and atomic force microscope
  • Scanning Probe Microscope (SPM), or Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), mounted on an inverted fluorescence microscope

Model: NTEGRA Prima AFM (NT-MDT) & Ti-S (Nikon)

Capabilities: (1) Measurements of surface topography with nanometer resolution in air and liquid; (2) Simultaneous topographical and fluorescence imaging; (3) Measurements of localized mechanical (adhesion and stiffness), electrical (I-V and surface potential), magnetic, or thermal properties (surface temperature and thermal conductivity). 

  • Bright-Field/Fluorescence Microscope with High-Precision Micromanipulators

Model: Ti-E (Nikon) & NT-88-V3/IM-11-2A (Narishige)

Capabilities: (1) 10x, 40x, 60x (oil) lenses available; (2) Filter cubes that cover the whole near-UV to near -IR spectra for fluorescence imaging; (3) Fully automated for recording time-lapse, focal series and tiling (taking images of sections of a large area and then stitching them together); (4) High-precision micromanipulation and microinjection; (5) Temperature controlled stage (0-100 ºC) available. 


photo of parallel-plate and cone plate rheometers
  • Parallel-Plate/Cone-Plate Rheometer

Model: MCR302 (Anton Paar)

Capabilities: (1) Oscillatory measurements of storage and loss moduli for viscoelastic materials; (2) Rotational measurements of viscosity for viscous liquids; (3) Measurements of time- or temperature-dependent flow or viscoelastic behavior; (4) Peltier temperature control device (-40 – 200 °C) available. 

  • Dual-Head Rheometer

Model: MCR702 TwinDrive (Anton Paar)

Capabilities: (1) Double-gap configuration that supports rotational viscosity measurements for dilute solutions and pure solvents; (2) Direct strain control via bottom plate displacement; (3) Counter rotation of the two motors that tune the vertical position of the stagnation layer; (4) Oscillatory measurements of storage and loss moduli for viscoelastic materials; (5) Measurements of time- or temperature-dependent flow or viscoelastic behavior; (6) Convection temperature control device (-20 – 180 ºC) available; (7) Polarized microscope and transparent measuring systems for synchronized imaging and rheological measurements. (***New capability added December 2016.) 

Note: We are the Mid-Atlantic reference site for Anton Paar GmbH, and the first US lab to have an MCR702 TwinDrive rheometer.

Light Scattering

Photo of 3D LS Spectrometer
  • Dual-Beam Cross-Correlation Light Scattering Instrument

Model: 3D LS spectrometer (LS Instruments)

Capabilities: (1) Particle sizing for both dilute and concentrated solutions (multiple scattering suppression); (2) Molecular mass characterization; (3) Programmable DLS measurements at multiple angles; (4) Sample goniometer that enables measurements of non-ergodic samples; (5) Square cell for extremely concentrated solutions; (6) Sample vat temperature controlled via external circulator (10 – 70 °C).

Note: LS Instruments is by far the only manufacturer in the world that provides reliable dual-beam, multiple-angle DLS systems. We are the Mid-Atlantic reference site for LS Instruments.


Photo of Nano-ITC Low Volume Isothermal Titration calorimeter
  • Low-Volume Isothermal Titration Calorimeter (ITC)

Model: Nano-ITC (TA Instruments)

Capabilities: (1) Measurements of molecular binding, dissociation, or reaction kinetics in dilute solutions, especially suited for biological samples with limited availability; (2) Temperature range: 2 – 80 ºC.

  • Multi-Cell Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC)

Model: MC-DSC (TA Instruments)

Capabilities: (1) Measurements of thermal transitions in solid and liquid samples; (2) Temperature range: -30 – 150 ºC; (3) Large sample capacity (~ 1 g) allows for enhanced detection of small heat effects.


Photo of UV-visible IR absorption spectrometer, model Cary 5000 from Aligent Technologies
  • UV-visible-near IR absorption spectrometer

​Model: Cary 5000 (Agilent)

Capabilities: (1) Absorption spectroscopic measurements in the 175-3300 nm range for solutions, thin films, and powders (internal diffuse reflectance); (2) Peltier cuvette holder with a regular working temperature range of -10 – 150 ºC.  Lower temperatures down to – 55 ºC are also possible with pre-cooled circulating fluid. 


Photo of 5965 Dual Column Universal Mechanical Tester from Instron
  • Universal Mechanical Tester (*** New equipment acquired July 2017)

​Model: 5965 Dual Column (Instron)

Capabilities: (1) Tensile and shear tests with load capacity up to 5 kN and wide speed range (0.001 to 3000 mm/s); (2) Pneumatic grips that maintain constant gripping force on samples; (3) Video camera for recordings of the tests that can be synchronized with the measured force curves; (4) Extensometer for displacement measurement with an accuracy of 1 micron. (5) Add-on optical microscope to characterize the change in sample morphology during mechanical measurements. (*** New capability added June 2018.)

Surface Analysis

Photo of Surface Plasmon Resonance model 404pi from BiOptix
  • Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR)

Model: 404pi (BiOptix)

Capabilities: (1) Measurements of molecular adsorption onto pristine or modified metal surfaces, such as binding of flowing small molecules by immobilized proteins; (2) Fully automated multi-channel fluidics; (3) Versatile surface chemistries. 

Note: We are the Mid-Atlantic reference site for BiOptix.


Photo of Dual-extruder 3D printer from Leapfrog
  • Doctor-Blade Coater (MTI Corporation), 12″x24″, plate temperature up to 100 ºC. (*** New equipment acquired August 2017.)

  • Dual-extruder 3D printer (Leapfrog Creatr) with multiple materials available (PLA, ABS, PVA, Nylon, etc.)

  • Benchtop plasma cleaner (PlasmaEtch PE25-JW)

  • Stand mixer (Cole-Parmer Servodyne) with speed/torque monitoring and control, 150 – 6,000 rpm

  • Universal spin-coater (Laurell Technologies) with digital process controller, 100 – 12,000 rpm

  • Wafer spin-coater (MTI Corporation), 500 – 8,000 rpm

  • Analytical balance (Mettler Toledo) with max weight of120 g and readability of 0.1 mg

  • Benchtop centrifuge with a max speed of 4,000 rpm and 6×50 mL capacity

  • Sonicator, Vortex mixer, Hot plate