Optical Microscopy

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The NMCF maintains a number of optical (light) microscopes to magnify features on samples, including a Hirox digital microscope for enhanced depth-of-field images and video. Our Zygo white-light profilometer provides quantitative measurements of surface roughness and topography. Raman spectroscopy utilizes UV and visible laser light to identify molecules and study chemical bonding between atoms and molecules on specimen surfaces, generating spectra for single points or surface maps with micron resolution. An integrated Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) allows supplemental determination of topography and electrical characteristics.


  • Renishaw Raman Spectrometer / Bruker AFM

    Renishaw Invia Confocal Raman Microscope with Bruker AFM and Hot/Cold Stages for Molecular Identification and Chemistry of Surfaces, combined with Nano-Scale Surface Morphology



    Location: Jesser Hall 142

    Renishaw InVia™ Confocal Raman microscope and integrated Bruker Innova AFM provides nondestructive chemical composition and phase in conjunction with topographic, nano-mechanical and electronic properties. Raman mapping with 1 micron spatial resolution. Tip-Enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS) for enhanced surface specificity. Photoluminescence spectroscopy. Wavelength Range: 100 1/cm to 4000 1/cm. Hot/Cold and Heating stages available for temperature-programmed spectroscopy.


    Raman Spectroscopy Technique Summary:

    • Non-destructive Molecular Compositional Analysis of Pharmaceuticals, Biostructures, Semiconductors, Photovoltaics, Polymers, Geology, Mineralogy, Pigments, Contaminant Identification, etc.
    • Molecular Composition of Solids, Liquids, and Loose or Pressed Powders
    • Identification of Molecular Impurities with High Sensitivity
    • Raman does not provide information on Metals and Alloys
    • Molecular Information Depth ~ 1micron, ~10 nm with TERS
    • Spatial Resolution , < 2 micron, ~ 20 - 30 nm with TERS
    • Collect sequential Raman and AFM measurements
    • Hot Stage to 1773K (1500 C)
    • Hot/Cold Stage: ~120K - 873K ( -196 - 600 C)
    • Sample size from <10 micron dia. to 5’ x 3’ x 8” (size of optical table)


    Atomic Force Microcopy Technique Summary:

    • Non-destructive analysis of Sample Surface Topography
    • Contact mode, Tapping Mode and STM Available
    • Samples maybe in air or in liquid
    • Single Point Spectroscopy for a detailed characterization of local electrical or mechanical properties
    • Magnetic Force Microscopy (MFM) measures magnetic force gradient distribution above the sample surface
    • Electric Force Microscopy (EFM) measures electric force gradient distribution above the sample surface
    • Nanolithography with probe tip to scribe or indent a sample surface by mechanical pressure
    • AFM Mapping space: 250 x 250 x 100 microns3
    • Sample size to 45mm x 45mm x18mm


    Raman Features:

    • Stereo viewing (binocular eyepieces)
    • Point mapping, StreamHR, depth profile, volume mapping
    • Automated measurement queuing
    • Automated Raman calibration correction (quick calibration)
    • Laser auto-align
    • Raman signal auto-align
    • Four available laser probes: 405, 488, 514 and 785 nm
    • Lenses: 5x, 20x, 50x and 50x with large numerical aperture.


    AFM Features:

    • Large Area scan: XY >90 µm, Z >7.5 µm (Closed-Loop)
    • Small Area scan: XY >5 µm, Z >1.5 µm (Open-Loop)
    • Open-Loop Drift: <1 nm/min
    • Closed-Loop Drift: <3 nm/min (warm-up time 15 min)
    • Images of height (scan size 1 to 10 microns) and feedback enabled, scan rates are 1-4 Hz
    • Images size: 16 x 16, 32x32, 64x64, 128x128, 256x256, 512x512 or 1024x1024
    • Motorized Z-travel: 18mm
    • On-axis, 1.25 mm - 0.25 mm FOV
    • Software-controlled 5x motorized zoom
    • 10x objective (50x optional)
    • <2 µm resolution (0.75 µm resolution with 50x)


  • Bruker Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR)

    Bruker Invenio-S FTIR for Materials Characterization by Molecular Vibration ID. ATR and Diffuse reflectance accessories available.



    Location: Jesser Hall 162

    Bruker Invenio-S FTIR spectrometer for compound identification and the determination of sample chemistry/molecular bonding for solids, films, powders, liquids, and suspensions.


    Bruker FTIR Technique Summary:

    • Nondestructive interferometric compositional measurement of molecular vibrational modes
    • Minimal or no sample preparation required
    • Single-reflection attenuated total reflectance (ATR) for measurement of surface properties of solids, thin film samples (approx. 0.5-2 microns), and liquids
    • Transmission spectroscopy for characterization of IR-transparent films
    • Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy with Pike Technologies EasyDiff accessory for compositional analysis of powders and rough surfaces
    • OPUS 8.0 integrated evaluation, data processing (identification and quantification) and report generation software with spectral library
    • Variable spot size: 0.25 - 8 mm diameter


    Bruker FTIR Features:

    • Spectral range of 8000 - 350 cm-1 with resolution 0.4 - 256 cm-1 (adjustable)
    • MIR Globar with CenterGlow IR source, KBr windows, and high-sensitivity temperature-controlled DLaTGS-detector
    • Aluminum mirrors for expansion to UV-Vis ( in the future)
    • Wavenumber accuracy: < 0.01 cm-1 @ 1,554 cm-1
    • Repeatability: < 0.0005 cm-1 @ 1,554 cm-1
    • Photometric accuracy: < 0.1%
    • Scan speed: 6 velocities; 1.4 - 51 mm/sec opd
    • Aquisition rate: up to 25 spectra per second @16 cm-1 resolution
    • Integrated reference materials and automated test routines.
    • Compliant with Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) requirements.
    • Sample Compartment Size: 25.5 (W) x 27 cm (D) x 22.5 cm (H)
  • Zygo Profilometer

    Zygo Scanning White-Light Profilometer for Surface Metrology



    Location: WH B001

    Zygo NewView 7300 white-light optical profilometer for determination of surface topography and measurement of surface shape, surface finish, surface profile roughness (Ra), or in surface area roughness (Sa), surface texture, asperity and structural characterization.


    Zygo Profilometer Technique Summary:

    • Nondestructive Interferometric area and height measurement (< 1nm +/- < 0.1nm)
    • Non-contact measurement: No diamond-tipped stylus to damage or alter fragile or soft surfaces
    • 3D measurements can calculate volumes of bumps, mesas or voids
    • Better able to measure co-planarity of discontiguous areas in the field of view than contact profiling methods
    • Large field of view offers more surface information
    • Lateral Resolution to 0.36 microns (objective lens dependent)
    • Sample table size: 3.5 x 8 x 8 in


    Zygo Profilometer Features:

    • Non-contact, three-dimensional, scanning white light interferometry
    • Field of View: 0.03 to 14 mm; larger area imaged with field stitching; objective and zoom dependent
    • Vertical Scan Range: 150 μm (5906 μin); Extended scan range to 20 mm (0.79 in.)
    • Vertical Res. < 0.1 nm (0.004 μin)
    • Lateral Res. 0.36 to 9.5 μm; objective dependent
    • Data Scan Rate 135 μm/sec
    • Single white-light LED illumination for superior life, uniform imaging and high efficiency
    • Closed-loop piezo-based scanner, with highly linear capacitive sensors
    • Motorized manual and auto focus
    • Motorized 3-position system zoom
    • Objectives: 5X, 20X, 50X;  available in standard and long working distances
    • Selectable Measurement Array: 640x480, 320x240, 160x120, 992x992
    • Z-Drive (Focus) for Stage: DC brushless microstepper motor with ballscrew drive, 4 in. range, and 0.1 μm resolution
    • Stage: Manual Tip/Tilt/X/Y with ±6° tip/tilt, ±2 in. X/Y; Motorized Tip/Tilt/X/Y with ±4° tip/tilt, ±3 in. x/y; Motorized Tip/Tilt/X-Theta (or Y-Theta) with ±4° tip/tilt, ±3 in. linear travel
    • ZYGO MetroPro software running under Microsoft Windows XP
  • Hirox Digital Light Microscope

    Hirox 3D Digital Light Microscope for enhanced depth-of-field with Macro Lens and Polarizer


    Hirox Instrument.jpg


    Location: Jesser Hall 139

    Hirox RH-8800 Light Microscope provides nondestructive digital imaging, videography, and measurement of material surfaces of all kinds. Stage tilt (45 degrees) for inspection of surface roughness, 360 degrees of rotation for optimal understanding of object shape and 3-D modeling. Time-lapse Videography available. Magnification to 5000x.


    Hirox Microscope Technique Summary:

    • Non-destructive Imaging of Machine Parts, Particle Counting, Geologic Samples, Metals & Alloys, Electronics, Biologic Organisms, Sample Visual Inspection, etc.
    • Non-destructive Videography of Machine Parts, Particle Counting, Biologic Organisms, Electronics, Sample Visual Inspection, etc.
    • Surface Roughness Measurement and Modeling
    • Time-Lapse Videography
    • Feature Volume, Area, and Height Measurement
    • 2-D and 3-D Imaging of Solids, Loose or Pressed Powders
    • No Special Sample Preparation Required


    Hirox Features:

    • Magnification Range: 1-5000x (optical)
    • Auto Calibration 2D & 3D Measurement
    • High Intensity LED Lighting
    • Diffuse Lighting Available for Optimal Sample Imaging
    • Polarized Lighting Available for Optimal Sample Imaging
    • Analysis 2D & 3D
    • Image Tiling Dynamic Image Focus for Rough Surfaces
    • Still Image and Video Recording
    • 3D Rotation during Live Imaging
    • Large Depth of Field
    • Integrated Illumination System
    • 2.11 Million Pixels CCD Image Sensor
    • Camera Rate: 15f/s
    • Image Frame Rate: 30f/s
  • Zeiss Discovery V8 Light Microscope

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    Location: Jesser Hall 162

    The Zeiss Stereo Discovery V8 Steromicroscope provides nondestructive optical imaging via transmitted or reflected light, with cross polarizers for inspection and analysis of material surfaces of all kinds. A long focal length objective allows easy sample manipulation under the microscope. Magnification from 25-200x. 4k (8-megapixel) camera captures high resolution images.


    Zeiss Stereo Microscope Details:

    • Plan-Achromat S 1.0x objective with 25x/10mm eyepieces
    • 25-200x total zoom range
    • 81mm forward working distance
    • Transmitted light base with slidable/rotatable mirror
    • Brightfield, darkfield, and oblique LED illumination
    • Polarizer and analyzer for cross-polarization
    • VisiLED advanced ringlight kit with controller, polarizer set, and diffusor
    • Axiocam 208 color documentation camera - 4K/UHD (8-megapixel) camera designed for high-resolution imaging
    • Zen Blue Software for image or video capture and processing


    Zeiss uses Zen Blue Software for imaging and processing. A quitck guide for Zen can be downloaded from Sharepoint with Duo Login credentials. A video tutorial for Zen Blue can also be found on YouTube.