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Research Locations

Centers and Laboratories

Research Locations

Northwestern University relies heavily on shared or core facilities, where the research community shares instruments and technical support. These facilities depend on user fees for operational support. Below are some of the facilities available to the Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts.

Northwestern University Facilities

Electron Probe Instrumentation Center (EPIC)

Various electron microscopes in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science have been consolidated in the EPIC, making for one of the world’s most complete arsenals of routine and state-of-the-art electron microscopes. Included in EPIC is the SEM facility, containing a LEO Gemini 1525 sFEG SEM, Hitachi S-3500N variable-pressure SEM, FEI Quanta sFEG environmental SEM and a top of the line Hitachi S-4500 cFEG SEM.

EPIC also houses the TEM facility, which contains a JEOL JEM-2100F FEG FasTEM, a Hitachi H-8100 TEM and a Hitachi HF-2000 analytical electron microscope, and a specimen preparation facility (SPF). With these microscopes comes an array of analytical techniques, including high spatial resolution electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), atomic-resolution imaging, electron holography, convergent beam electron diffraction (CBED), and digital spectrum acquisition in the TEM, electron backscatter diffraction pattern (EBSP) analysis and orientational imaging microscopy and e-beam lithography in the SEM.

Ceramics and Metals Processing Facility Equipment is available to prepare, mill, and characterize ceramic powders and then fabricate them by arc melting, pressing, isostatic pressing, slip casting, extrusion, hot pressing, and sinter forging. An ultrasonic machine tool for drilling ceramic specimens is offered. The facility also includes a variety of high temperature furnaces for use in both ambient air and controlled atmosphere. A Micromeritics AutoPore 9500 Porosimeter affords characterization of porosity including pore fraction and pore size distribution.

Integrated Molecular Structure Education and Research Center (IMSERC)

IMSERC provides access to and educates students on the proper use of instrumentation needed for molecular structure characterization. Instruments include nuclear magnetic resonance, mass spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma-mass spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy, optical spectroscopy, and trace metal analysis.

Nanoscale Integrated Fabrication, Testing and Instrumentation Center

This center provides a wide range of imaging instrumentation and support facilities for atomic to molecular imaging. These include a Hysitron Triboindenter, which provides high-resolution nanomechanics measurements of hard and soft materials. The system includes an integrated heating (200 ° C) and cooling (-10 °C) stage for variable temperature operation and a dynamic modulus analyzer (nano-DMA) module for loss and storage moduli extraction. The instrument allows for ultra-low contact force imaging, ideally suited for soft systems, with a noise floor < 30 nN and resolution < 1nN. The normal displacement resolution is < 0.2 nm. A dedicated digital signal processor and field-programmable gate array (FPGA) provides high-speed data acquisition and offers both load and displacement feedback control modes.

Brucker Dimension FastScan AFM has fast scanning rates, automated laser and detector alignment, and built-in measurement automation software. Peak Force Tapping® utilizes pico-newton force control to collect atomic resolution images, while Peak Force QNM® enables quantitative mechanical property measurements at the atomic scale. The instrument allows atomic resolution measurements on both large and small samples in air or fluid, on samples from sub-nanometer to hundreds of nanometers in height without loss of resolution.

Keck Interdisciplinary (Keck II) Surface Science Center

This center hosts Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS/ESCA), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR), and Confocal Raman Spectroscopy. In addition, a high-resolution stylus profilometer, a spectroscopic ellipsometer, and an IR microscope are available. A Zetasizer Nano provides the ability to measure three characteristics of particles or molecules in a liquid medium, specifically, particle size, zeta potential and molecular weight.

Central Laboratory for Materials Mechanical Properties

At this laboratory, MTS servohydraulic, servoelectric, and screw-driven machines are interfaced with computers for studying the mechanical behavior of materials. The machines operate in either a manual or computer-controlled mode for static or dynamic testing. They allow study of elasticity, plasticity, fatigue life, and/or fracture of materials. Real-time crack growth can be observed with a metallurgical microscope attached to the testing units. Temperature (4.2 K to 1373 K)-, environment-, and rate-dependent properties can be observed over a wide range of all parameters.

Art Institute of Chicago Facilities

Conservation Science Laboratory

The conservation science laboratory at the Art Institute of Chicago houses state of the art facilities for micro-destructive and non-invasive characterization of artworks, which are comparable to those of other conservation science departments at major American museums. Additionally, fully equipped facilities for the Conservation of paintings, objects, textiles, photography and works of art on paper are available at the Museum.

View available scientific instrumentation at the Art Institute >>

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