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VINSE provides access and training on state-of-the-art fabrication and characterization equipment inside Vanderbilt University’s Engineering and Science Building (ESB). Full-time staff provide training, process assistance and tool troubleshooting.  Our facilities include a cleanroom, analytical support core and advanced imaging suite. The cleanroom provides cutting-edge nanofabrication tools for the development of materials and integrated devices as well as microfluidic and nano-photonic systems. An analytical laboratory conveniently located adjacent to the cleanroom contains a comprehensive range of characterization tools. The imaging suite hosts advanced electron and atomic force microscopes capable of characterizing a wide variety of samples from complex layered semiconductors, nanoparticles, to hydrated biological specimens with a space dedicated specimen preparation.


Trained and authorized users perform a wide variety of nanofabrication activities under tightly controlled environmental conditions inside the VINSE cleanroom where temperature and moisture levels are controlled at 68 +/- 2 C and 44 +/- 4 C relative humidity (RH), respectively. The bay and chase design of the cleanroom totals approximately 10,000 sqft of floor space consisting of the following areas:

  • Two ISO 5 (Class 100) lithography bays
  • Two ISO 6 (Class 1000) bays for deposition, chemical vapor deposition (CVD), etch and metrology activities
  • ISO 6 (Class 1000) dedicated E-Beam enclosure designed to noise criterion (NC) 25
  • Clean corridor and gowning rooms
  • Isolated equipment chases
  • Hazardous process material (HPM) support corridor and storage rooms

Central utilities for house and high-purity nitrogen, compressed dry air (CDA), process vacuum, process cooling water and type E-1 ASTM electronics and semiconductor grade water are provided along with solvent and corrosive exhaust systems that utilize point-of-use (POU) scrubbers for specialty gases. The cleanroom is located on the main floor of the Vanderbilt University Engineering & Sciences Building (ESB) with floor-to-ceiling windows allowing all activities to be viewed safely and conveniently by tours, outreach groups and casual observers.


The VINSE Analytical laboratory is an integrated research facility enabling advanced nanoparticle synthesis combined with the capability for complete chemical and structural characterization of the resulting products. Our suite of high performance analytical instrumentation facilitates the investigation of both individual nanoparticles and bulk materials. This unique combination of materials synthesis and comprehensive specimen characterization supports the rapid development of novel multifunctional nanomaterials.

Advanced Imaging

The VINSE Advanced Imaging is located in a 23-foot deep basement in the Engineering and Science Building (ESB). Founded on bedrock, four imaging bays host our modern electron, ion and scanning probe instrumentation for the characterization of nanomaterials and devices.

Each bay is designed to provide a controlled environment that minimizes disturbances such as ambient noise, floor vibrations and electromagnetic field levels that meet or exceed manufacturer’s specifications for our instruments, providing the best possible imaging resolution. 

Specimen Prep & 3D/Wax Printing

The Specimen Preparation Lab is a space dedicated to the delicate processes necessary for the proper preparation of samples for electron microscopy and other imaging methods. The lab contains a gold sputter coater for SEM samples, a plasma cleaner for both SEM and TEM samples and a grinding/polishing station with the associated consumables available. There is also an optical inspection microscope, an electrochemical etch station, 3D and wax printers available.