Nanoscale Imaging Facility


Three of the faculty (Cohn, Faguy, and Sunkara) who developed the NSF proposal for the 3D Nanoscale
Faciltiy shown in front of the AFM and the displays for the AFM and the Wyko optical profiler.

In February, the University of Louisville established a new analytical imaging facility with microscopes that can determine the three-dimensional shapes of ultrasmall objects. The Three-Dimensional Nanoscale Imaging Facility features several high-resolution instruments. These instruments include: a Park Scientific Instruments atomic force microscope, a JEOL scanning electron microscope with ENDCS materials analysis capability, a WYKO white-light scanning interferometric microscope, and a Filmetric Spectroscopic thin film measurement system. All instruments are PC controlled and attached via TCP/IP to a local Microsoft Windows NT domain, and the university’s main network.

The 3D Nanoscale Imaging Facility is actively used by various research groups for diverse projects. These projects all require precise three-dimensional modeling of small surfaces. Typical operations run on these instruments include:

  • Surface roughness measurements of optical devices
  • Thickness measurements of thin films
  • Three -dimensional surface topography of diffractive optical elements
  • Morphology of diamond thin films deposited by chemical vapor deposition
  • Three-dimensional measurement of MEMS devices
  • Characterization and calibration of dry and wet etching processes
  • Measurement of mask alignment errors
  • Examination of diamond-coated afm probe tips
  • Analysis of excimer-laser drilled holes
  • Analysis of residual strains in films deposited on flexible membranes

In addition to use by university research groups, the facility has proven valuable to several industrial customers. The facility examined brushed stainless steel for an appliance manufacturer and analyzed ink jet print heads for a printer manufacturer.

The facility has recently begun an effort in nanolithography. The atomic force microscope is used with write structures with features of 100 nm and smaller. Also, it is possible to upgrade the scanning electron microscope with direct write capability, though this option is not planned at this time.

To see the University of Louisville’s Scanning Tunneling Microscopy page, go here.