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Biomolecular Nano-Structure Laboratory
Lab Director: Professor David Cliffel (615) 343-3937
Lab Contact: Dr. Dmitry Koktysh or (615) 343-6763, 6217 A Stevenson Center

Monolayer thin film fabrication, characterization, and analysis


Confocal Raman MicroscopeDLS - Malvern ZetasizerFTIR with photoelastic modulator
Confocal Raman MicroscopeDLS - Malvern ZetasizerFTIR with photoelastic modulator

The Thermo Scientific DXR Raman microscope provides Point and shoot Raman microscopy with exceptional sensitivity and spatial resolution for working applications. The sampling spot size of a microscope equipped with a 532-nm and 780-nm lasers, a 10X and 100X objectives and a 25-µm spectrograph aperture is just 1 µm in diameter. The instrument is able to deliver 1-µm x, y spatial resolution. In addition, confocal Raman microscope is capable of 2-µm precision depth-profiling. Full spectral range is 3500-50 cm-1.

The Malvern Nano ZS provides the ability to measure particle size (0.6 nm~6000 nm), zeta potential and molecular weight (1000~2x107 Daltons) of particles or molecules in a liquid medium using light scattering and laser doppler electrophoresis.

Equipped with PMA 50, the Bruker Tensor 27 FTIR provides the capability of Vibrational Circular or Linear Dichroism (VCD/VLD) measurements and the monolayer Reflectance Absorbance Spectroscopy (RAS).  The spectrometer is also equipped with the Seagull variable angle reflection accessory for external, diffuse reflection modes and ATR with hemispherical internal reflection elements (ZnSe, Ge).

Materials PrinterNima 611M Film BalanceQuartz Crystal Microbalance
Materials PrinterNima 611M Film BalanceQuartz Crystal Microbalance

The Dimatix DMP-2800 series printer allows the deposition of fluidic materials on an 8x11 inch or A4 substrate, utilizing a disposable piezo inkjet cartridge. This printer can create and define patterns over an area of about 200 x 300 mm and handle substrates up to 25 mm thick with an adjustable Z height. The temperature of the vacuum platen, which secures the substrate in place, can be adjusted up to 60°C. The DMP-2800 offers a variety of patterns using a pattern editor program. Additionally, a waveform editor and a drop-watch camera system allows manipulation of the electronic pulses to the piezo jetting device for optimization of the drop characteristics as it is ejected from the nozzle. This system enables easy printing of structures and samples for process verification and prototype creation.

The NIMA 611M Langmuir film balance allows the analysis, manipulation and monolayer fabrication of amphiphilic molecules or particles.

RQCM is a highly advanced method of measuring film properties during processes such as deposition, dissolution or permeation. Up to three crystals can be measured simultaneously with <0.4 ng/cm2 mass resolution. All data is logged and graphically displayed using integrated software in real time. The heart of this system is a performance, phase lock oscillator with measurement frequency from 3.8 to 6 MHz or 5.1 to 10 MHz.


Quartz Crystal Microbalance w/ Dissipation monitoring (QCM-D)Spectroscopic EllipsometerStylus profilometer
Quartz Crystal Microbalance w/ Dissipation monitoring (QCM-D)Spectroscopic EllipsometerStylus profilometer

The Q-Sense E4 includes four sensors that can be used in in any serial or parallel configuration to suit a variety of experimental designs. The software and electronics allow measurements from all four sensors to be acquired within one second without loss of sensitivity.

  • 4-sensor chamber allows high throughput and makes reproducibility easy.
  • Flow measurements. Chamber specifically designed for controlled flow measurements
  • Easy cleaning. All parts exposed to liquid are easily removed for individual cleaning.
  • Complete software package for presentation and analysis of data.
  • Maximum sensitivity by using the latest electronics and software.


The J.A. Woolam M-2000VI ellipsometer measures the refractive index and thickness of thin films.  The spectral range is 371.3nm - 1688.7nm, and optional heat and liquid cells allow for measurement under various environments.

The Veeco Dektak 150 uses a diamond-tipped stylus to trace surface topography.  Surface roughness and step heights can be easily measured, and the stress analysis upgrade allows one to determine wafer stress due to film deposition.

Thermogravimetric AnalyzerUVO-Cleaner 
Thermogravimetric AnalyzerUVO-Cleaner 

Instrument Specialist's TGA-1000 measures weight change as a function of time or temperature profile. It is suitable for evaluation of fillers, bound water, unbound water, antioxidants, and thermal stability.

The UVO cleaner uses a short wavelength UV to excite the contaminant molecules on the surface, which react with atomic oxygen or ozone simultaneously generated, to form simpler, volatile molecules which then desorb from the surface.

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