Micro- and nano-structural characterization is key to development and application of nanotechnology in fields ranging from medicine to crime scene investigation, from materials engineering to catalysis, and from the electronic device industry to the study of extraterrestrial materials and plants.

The Microscope Imaging and Spectroscopy Technology (MIST) Laboratory at the Center for Nanoscience has expertise and equipment for various types of specimen preparation and microscopic analysis. The laboratory supports research and training programs, and provides analytical support and referrals for local industries and members of the academic community. Facility scientists provide comprehensive consultation on micro- and nano-characterization (SEM, EDS, TEM, HRTEM, AFM, and STM).



Provides high-resolution (~1 nm) secondary and backscattered electron image of many types of samples. This SEM has a low-temperature sample chamber attached to the microscope column that enables wet and bio-samples to be characterized. Low voltage imaging and microanalysis can be used to analyze insulating or electron beam sensitive materials. High energy-resolution and high-sensitivity energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) can provide qualitative and quantitative elemental analyses of biological and non-biological materials. All images are acquired, analyzed, and shared digitally.


Provides a point resolution near 0.3 nm. The microscope is equipped with a Gatan CCD camera, a double-tilt sample holder, low-temperature and heating sample holders. This microscope is great for quick analysis of various types of samples.

Philips EM430 TEM

Equipped with a LaB6 electron gun, the EM430 TEM provides a point resolution of 0.2 nm and has a double tilt sample holder and low-temperature sample holders. This microscope provides useful information on atomic arrangement of crystalline materials and nanostructures.

NanoScope III

An ambient scanning probe microscope with various imaging modes (contact, lateral force, tapping and tunneling) in gas or liquid environments. Located in an extremely low vibration environment, this microscope can provide wide view, high vertical resolution (~0.1 nm) digital images of various types of sample surfaces.

Zeiss LSM 700

Equipped with 4 laser lines including a near UV 405 nm laser, inverted microscope with 20x, 40x, and 60x oil or water immersion lens, two simultaneous channels of detection, and a completed software package for image analysis and constructions. The LSM 700 offers innovative solutions for image analyses of extraordinary sensitivity and quality. It is distinguished by high flexibilty with regard to applications and system configuation. Applications range from simple routine examinations to multidimensional image acquisition in biomedical research.

TA Instruments Q2000 DSC

The Q2000 is a research-grade DSC, capable of analyzing samples under various environments, heating rates, and at temperatures ranging from -90 C to 725 C.

Applications include:

evaluation of phase transformations
decomposition and curing processes
determination of thermal and processing histories
pharmaceutical polymorph analysis

TA Instruments Q500 TGA

The Q500 is a research-grade TGA capable of analyzing samples under various environments, heating rates, and at temperatures ranging from ambient to 1000C.

Applications include:

evaluation of thermal stability
decomposition kinetics
oxidative stability
moisture/volatile content

Coulter SA3100 Surface Area and Pore Size Analyzer

The SA 3100 measures surface areas, pore size distributions, and pore volume parameters of powdered, pelleted or solid piece samples and provides highly accurate results for both quality control and research and development applications.

Recently Purchased Instrumentation

The Vista Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrometer is equipped with the VistaChip CCD detector which offers full wavelenth coverage (167-785 nm) and high speed analyses.  Spectral interferences are easily eliminated and both trace and major elemental concentrations can be measured simultaneously.

Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
The Applied Biosystems API 4000 LC/MS/MS system consists of a Shimadzu modular LC, Leap Technologies HTC PAL injector/autosampler, and the API 4000 high performance triple quadrupole mass spectrometer with a mass range of m/z 5 to 3000.