The NANO & PICO CHARACTERIZATION LAB at the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) provides an unprecedented collection of nano-scale surface analysis instrumentation in a single, multi-user facility. By combining multiple modes of surface analysis, this facility enables thorough investigation of the vast array of physical, chemical and electrical properties necessary for complete study of an experimental system and developing nanotechnologies. The Nano & Pico Characterization Lab provides both state-of-the-art microscopic techniques to visualize surfaces, adsorbates, nanostructures and devices at the atomic and molecular scale as well as a unique opportunity for researchers to gain insight into local properties under a wide range of experimental conditions.

Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) differs from conventional microscopic techniques that use light or beams of charged particles. SPM systems rely upon a unique tactile sensing of the surface using atomically sharp tips that literally "feel" atoms, molecules and nanostructures. Due to this direct, near-field interaction, SPM systems are able to probe local properties on the atomic scale including friction, electrical charge and local magnetism. In addition, the capacity to apply controlled forces enables quantitative measurement of nanomechanical properties with single molecule sensitivity such as intermolecular binding, unwinding or conformational changes and stiffness/adhesion on the soft surfaces of polymers, cells and biomaterials. SPM systems operate in a diverse range of environments, including temperatures below 4K (liquid Helium) up to 1273K and pressures ranging from ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) to atmospheric and liquid environments (including biofluids and electrolytes). The Nano & Pico Characterization Lab encompasses SPM imaging under all these environmental conditions. It is a cornerstone for developing new nanotechnology products and performing nanoscience research.

Recent highlights from the NPC Lab.

LEFT: Solution processed thin films of aligned carbon nanotubes imaged on the Bruker Dimension Icon AFM. From D'Arcy, J. et al, Nanoscale 2012.

RIGHT: Strong passivation effects on the properties of an InAs surface quantum dot hybrid structure characterized using the Bruker Dimension 5000 AFM. From Lin, A. et al. Nanotechnology 2013.

NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

2015

Our partners in Santa Barbara, Bruker Nano, has initiated a series of training courses online. Register for the live training session or watch the recording post live-event. These one-hour sessions are designed to provide in-depth detail and instruction on specific "mini-topics", making learning easy and digestible.

The NPC Lab has recently installed a brand new AFM. The Bruker Dimension FastScan provides dramatic improvements in speed and usability for high-resolution AFM imaging. While we have said goodbye to the Dimension 5000, we are excited to provide this new capability to our Users.

"Cognitive Technologies"

A self-organized network of inorganic synapses provides a unique approach toward the development of brain-like computers. Recent work by the NPC Team is highlighted be the WPI Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics.

"Neuromorphic Devices"
A new piece in the LA Times highlights the efforts of Gimzewski and Stieg at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to produce cognitive technologies based on self-organized nanoarchitecures.

More news..