Nanostrukturierte Materialien  
Nanocomposites & Nanoparticles
Nanostructured Thin Films & Coatings
Micro- & Nanofabrication
Micro- & Nanocharacterization

Micro- and Nano-Characterization

The module "Micro- and Nano-Characterization" is part of the research focus area "Nanostructured Materials". The objective of this module is to operate and develop cutting edge characterisation tools and techniques for characterisation at the micro-/nanometre scale while maintaining high-standard micro/nanoscale analytical measurement equipment open to internal and external measurement services.
Empa operates a huge park of high-level standard analytical instrumentation for micro- and nanoscale analysis by renowned experts. In parallel, instrumentation and method development for analytical top notch characterisation at nanometre scale is pursued at several Empa laboratories in collaboration with industrial partners; expert knowledge is generally available at consulting level or via collaborative project agreements. Instrumentation and competencies of Empa can be roughly classified into the following categories:

Surface techniques
Some of these techniques can be combined with depth profiling. Typical instrumentation operated at Empa comprises:  ToF-SIMS (in combination with SEM and AFM), XPS, AES, LEED (in combination with STM), RAMAN (including SERS and TERS), SPM (including STM/STS, AFM, SFM, SAFM), Nano-XAS, RAIRS, LA-ICPMS, SEM (EBSD, EDX, GIS).

Bulk techniques
Typical instrumentation operated at Empa comprises:  X-ray tomography, FEB/FIB tomography, NMR, TEM (STEM, DF, BF, EELS, EDX), Micro- and Nanomechanical Probing (Indentation, Scratching, Bending, Tensile) as well as magnetic and electrical characterization can be performed at specific temperatures. Empa operates a PPMS. Atom- and Plasma spectrometry techniques (GFAAS, ICP-OES, ICP-MS) enable chemical characterization down to ng levels.

Analytical FIB/FEB (focused ion/electron beam) machine with EDX, SIMS, GIS, and EBSD for nanoscale composition and structure determination and depth profiling @ Empa.

Depth profiling techniques
Many of the surface techniques listed above are combined with depth profiling. Typical instrumentation operated at Empa comprises: GDOES, GDMS, XPS, AES, Microtomy.

In-situ high-temperature nano-indenter @ Empa.

Particle techniques
Most high resolution imaging techniques (TEM, X-ray Nanotomography, AFM, Nano-XAS and ToF-SIMS) can be used to measure particle sizes and chemical composition. Several techniques are available for size fractioned and chemical analyzes of nanoparticles in aerosols (SMPS, FMPS, NSAM, CPC, APS, ELPI combined with subsequent bulk analysis) and liquids/suspension (sequential centrifugation or filtration with subsequent bulk analysis, FFF-ICP-MS). Agglomeration behaviour of nanoparticle aerosols can be studied in a novel wind-channel set-up.

Analytical Transmission Electron Microscope at Empa

Computational Materials Characterisation
Simulation methods at the Density Functional Theory level allow to connect the experimental observation with the physical and chemical properties of realistic system models at the atomic scale. STM and spectroscopy data can be obtained and compared with the measurement; novel materials can be designed and tested “in silico” for their properties, and proposed for future experiments.

Swiss Instrumentation database:
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