Processing Lab

We developed this space for the synthesis of complex (multi-cation) oxide nanopowders, pellets, bars, and thin films.

  • pulsed laser deposition chamber with programmable control enabling combinatorial and multilayer deposition, 8 target carousel, heated and rotating substrate holder with height control enabling transparent substrates without paste, intelligent window, mass flow controller for background gas control, removable shielding
  • custom ~750 mJ KrF excimer laser (248 nm) with variable attenuators
  • custom glovebox attachment to PLD chamber enabling growth of, or growth on, air-sensitive materials and their characterization (in Ar)
  • high temperature (1700 °C) box furnace
  • intermediate temperature (1500 °C) box furnace
  • lower temperature (1200 °C) box furnace
  • high temperature tube furnace
  • muffle furnace in fume hood for conversion of precursors to oxide powders
  • 6′ fume hood with hot plates for “wet chemical synthesis” of complex oxide powders
  • desiccators, precision balance, mortar & pestles, and bench space for ceramics processing
  • chemical storage cabinets
  • gas cabinet, halogen & helium gas panel, gas detector, safety shut-off system

Extra Processing Lab

We developed this space for the milling of powders, pressing of pellets, and cutting of bulk ceramics.

  • 12-ton uniaxial pellet press
  • cutting/grinding/polishing supplies
  • low speed precision saw with diamond blade
  • high energy ball mill with zirconia media

Characterization Lab

We developed this space for electrochemical, electrical, optical, dilatometric, and thermogravimetric characterization in controlled temperature, gas atmosphere, and electric field environments.

  • impedance/frequency response analyzer (to MHz range), potentiostat, and femtoammeter, enabling measurement of high impedance samples
  • LCR meter
  • custom dual pushrod dilatometer with capillary gas feed, electrical feedthroughs, and gas switching control box (up to ~1200 C)
  • custom thermogravimetric analyzer with capillary gas feed, crucibles for large samples, and mass flow controller panel for gas switching (up to ~1600 C)
  • 2 home-built optical transmission relaxation setups enabling variable temperature (to ~1100 C), controlled gas atmosphere measurements with vibration isolation; includes chopper, lock-in amplifiers, and scientific CCD camera
  • controlled temperature baths and bubbler systems on carts
  • home-built sample holders with attached thermocouples for in situ measurements
  • multiple tube furnaces (to ~1200 C) on a central multi-layer island with gas switching/control panels for high temperature, controlled atmosphere characterization
  • gas cabinets & cylinder racks
  • 7 gas lines, each for a dedicated gas composition, extend from the gas cabinets and gas cylinder racks to every setup in the lab

Campus Shared Facilities

Comprehensive state-of-the-art instrumentation is available through the shared facilities listed below. Currently, we primarily use in situ bulk and thin film X-ray diffraction, in situ X-ray reflectometry, Rutherford backscattering spectrometry, Ellipsometry, Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, Sputter deposition, Focused ion beam sample preparation, Transmission electron microscopy, and Scanning electron microscopy facilities. We also collaborate closely with groups accessing the campus’ computing resources.

Materials Research Laboratory

School of Chemical Sciences Facilities

Beckman Institute

Micro and Nano Technology Laboratory

Physics-MRL Machine Shop

Illinois Campus Cluster Program

Research at Other Sites

Through our affiliation with I2CNER, we conduct exchange visits to Kyushu University and/or collaborative research. I2CNER houses extensive instrumentation for the simulation, synthesis, and characterization of materials and devices for carbon-neutral energy technology. Recently we have used electron microscopes, scanning probe microscopes, angle-resolved X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, bulk and thin film synthesis capabilities, and fuel/electrolysis cell test stations.

In addition to the above resources, synchrotron X-ray scattering and absorption studies are performed at the Advanced Photon Source of Argonne National Laboratory, a ~2 hour drive from campus.