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 and nanoparticles
  • 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 Labs

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

  • 2 mobile ac impedance/frequency response analyzers (to MHz range), potentiostat, and femtoammeter, enabling measurement of high impedance samples (and dielectric spectroscopy)
  • LCR meter
  • custom dual pushrod dilatometer with capillary gas feed, electrical feedthroughs for simultaneous ac impedance spectroscopy, and panel of mass flow controllers for gas switching (up to ~1200 C)
  • custom thermogravimetric analyzer with capillary gas feed, crucibles for large samples, and gas control/mixing panel (up to ~1600 C)
  • home-built thermogravimetric analyzer with superior stability and repeatability, rapid gas switching, and precision, capable of handling large samples, for point defect thermodynamic studies over wide oxygen partial pressure ranges (up to ~1200 C)
  • 2 home-built optical transmission relaxation setups enabling variable temperature (to ~1100 C), controlled gas atmosphere measurements with vibration isolation; includes 1D and 2D mapping capabilities for in-situ defect kinetics studies of thin films and high-throughput combinatorial analysis
  • multiple tube furnaces (to ~1200 C) on a central multi-layer island with gas switching/control panels for high temperature, controlled atmosphere characterization
  • controlled temperature baths and bubbler systems on carts
  • home-built sample holders with attached thermocouples for in-situ measurements
  • 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, Scanning probe microscopy, Rutherford backscattering spectrometry, Elastic recoil detection analysis, Nuclear reaction analysis, Ellipsometry, Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, Sputter deposition, Focused ion beam sample preparation, Scanning transmission electron microscopy and spectroscopy, 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

Synchrotron X-ray scattering and absorption studies are performed at the Advanced Photon Source of Argonne National Laboratory, a ~2 hour drive from campus.

We have conducted further beamtimes and mail-in sample analysis with X-rays and neutrons at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, ISIS Neutron and Muon Source (UK), and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

We have conducted exchange visits to Kyushu University. I2CNER houses extensive instrumentation for the simulation, synthesis, and characterization of materials and devices for carbon-neutral energy technology.