Characterization Team – Old

Characterization maintains, trains, and runs experiments on the various pieces of characterization equipment available through the MILL. This equipment includes SEM with EDX, ATR-FTIR, is available in Love 176 and is available for use during open hours. X-ray generating equipment, XRD and XRF, can only be operated by X-ray safety-certified MILL staff engineers in Love 170.

Requests for running samples on the X-ray equipment may be made by stopping by Love 176 during open hours.

The Characterization Team is led by David Yeh. Please contact to join.

The equipment used by the Characterization Team are the following:

Equipment Name and Description

Equipment Image

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

Located in Love 176

The Phenom ProX Scanning Electron Microscope can take detailed images of samples. The maximum magnification is 40,000X to 100,000X and the device is capable of resolving features to <500 nm. Samples must be less than 2.5 cm in diameter and less than 3 cm tall.  Additionally, elemental dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDX) can be performed on samples for elemental detection through point, line, and area scans.

View: MILL SEM Short SOP


Watch: Online tutorial for using the MILL’s SEM

Scanning Electron Microscope, SEM (Phenom ProX) with Elemental Analysis (Energy Dispersive X-ray Analysis – EDX)

Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR)

Located in Love 176

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy uses infrared radiation to determine the chemical bonds present in the sample. A spectrum of wave number and absorbance can be analyzed for the chemical composition of a sample. Organic molecules are the most readily identified, making the FTIR an ideal tool for polymer identification and characterization.  In addition to a standard transmission attachment, an attenuated total reflectance head allows for direct testing of solids and liquids without any sample preparation.  The OMNIC software connected to the spectrometer allows for single and multi-component identification of the molecules and polymers in a sample by comparing the spectra gathered to stored libraries of data.



Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer, FTIR (Thermo)

Leica DVM 6 Optical Microscope

Located in Love 176

The Leica DVM 6 Microscope has many unique features. These include, being able to rotate the head of the microscope 30 degrees in either the clockwise or counter clockwise direction, generate 3D mapping of images using a stitching of images taken at multiple elevations, and being able to focus samples with rough surface topography.

This microscope is very powerful and is able to resolve features on samples down to a size of 1 µm. Many of the images on the website have been made using this microscope or the SEM.

View: Leica Microscope SOP

Watch: Online tutorial for MILL’s Leica Optical Microscope

Download: Leica Microscope SOP Download

Planar Objective Digital Optical Microscope with 3D Imaging Capability (Leica)

Stereo-Optical Microscope

Located in Love 167

The AmScope stereo-optical microscope is a simple optical microscope, capable of magnifying samples up to 40X. The microscope’s software allows for digital images and videos to be taken and stored on the computer.

Stereo-Optical Microscope with Digital Camera

Cressington Sputter Coater — (CURRENTLY NOT OPERATIONAL)

Located in Love 176

A simple and easy-to-use sputter coater for making samples surface’s more conductive for SEM imagery. A vacuum pump is attached to the sputter coater to achieve vacuum conditions and argon is used as the inert chamber gas. A full calibration has not yet been done on the sputter coater, but the thickness of samples is often changed by varying the time of the sputter.

View: MILL Sputter Coater SOP

Watch: Video tutorial for operating the Sputter Coater

Sputter Coater

X-ray Diffractometer (XRD)

Visit Love 170 for more information

The x-ray diffractometer detects crystalline phases in a sample by measuring the diffraction of x-rays at varying angles. For best results, samples should be ground to a powder and randomly oriented.

The tool is not available for direct usage by users. Please visit Love 176 to fill out an XRD request slip and leave your sample in the XRD sample exchange box by the door. In order for your request to be processed, please email the team leader listed on the XRD request slip to notify them.

X-ray Diffractometer, XRD (Rigaku)

X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (XRF)

Visit Love 170 for more information

X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy allows for rapid detection of the of elemental composition of samples with parts per million accuracy. Elements with atomic numbers greater than or equal to magnesium (12) can be detected. If the composition of the layers in a sample is known, the thickness of those layers can be determined.

The tool is not available for direct usage by users. Please visit Love 176 to fill out an XRF request slip and leave your sample in the XRF sample exchange box by the door. In order for your request to be processed, please email the team leader listed on the XRF request slip to notify them.


X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy, XRF (Fisher)