Nanomaterials Core Characterization Facility


Extensive Capabilities for Research, Development, and Materials Quality Control

The Nanomaterials Core Characterization Facility (NCC) is an open access, nationally ranked, collaborative materials analysis multi-user facility where researchers from various universities and industries have access to the capabilities of our state-of-the-art instrumentation and expert advice.

The NCC offers technologies that benefit multi-disciplinary industrial and scholarly research in a broad range of sciences including, but not limited to: regenerative medicine, biotechnology, biology, forensic science, chemistry, pharmaceuticals, materials science, aerospace, and microelectronics.

In a collaborative effort between the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences and the VCU College of Engineering, the NCC also provides a conduit for scientists and industry specialists to bridge their research.

Electron Microscopy

SEM, FIB and TEM Instruments


Image of Hitachi SU-70 FE-SEM [View Image]

Hitachi SU-70 FE-SEM



Image of Zeiss Auriga FIB-SEM [View Image]

Zeiss Auriga FIB-SEM



JEM-F200 Cold FEG Electron Microscope [View Image]

JEM-F200 Cold FEG Electron Microspcope


Photo- and Auger-Electron Spectroscopy

XPS Instruments

[View Image]

PHI VersaProbe III Scanning XPS Microprobe

Image of ThermoFisher ESCAlab 250 [View Image]

ThermoFisher ESCAlab 250

X-ray Diffraction Crystallography

X-Ray Diffractometer

Empyrean Multipurpose X-Ray Diffractometer [View Image]

Empryean Multipurpose X-Ray Diffractometer


The NCC provides two different forms of spectroscopy: x-ray fluorescence (XRF) and Raman spectroscopy. These instruments are extremely sensitive, providing chemical composition and chemical state information on a variety of samples ranging from polymers to inorganic materials.

Spectroscopy Instruments

Image of Horiba LABRam Spectrometer [View Image]

Horiba LABRam HR Evolution Confocal Raman Spectrometer

Image of PANalytical Epsilon 3XL [View Image]

PANalytical Epsilon 3XL


The M-2000 ellipsometer is able to collect data across the entire 250– 1700 nm range with about 2 nm resolution in a fraction of a second. Combined with automated sample alignment, customizable computer controlled X-Y mapping, and focusing probes for small samples, users are able to determine the thickness of thin films and complex optical function in the ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared spectral ranges.


M-2000 J.A.Woollam Spectroscopic Ellipsometer [View Image]

J.A. Woollam M-2000 Ellipsometer

Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy

Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope

Image of Zeiss LSM 710 Laser Scanning Microscope [View Image]

Zeiss LSM 710

Atomic-Force Microscopy (AFM)

Atomic Force Instruments

Image of Dimension ICON AFM [View Image]

Bruker Dimension ICON AFM

Bruker Dimension FastScan Scanning Probe Microscope [View Image]

Bruker Dimension FastScan Scanning Probe Microscope

Computed Tomography

A Computed Tomography scan (CT) provides a non-destructive technique for 3D visualization, CT-slices of complex samples, and it is onе of the principal techniques in medical imaging, as well as materials science and engineering.

NCC is fitted with two CT scanners:

The SKYSCAN 1173 is a high energy micro-CT scanner for larger and dense objects. It include a 130kV X-ray source, a flat panel sensor, and a precision object manipulator for heavy objects with an embedded micropositioning stage. The instrument provides 3D spatial resolution of about 7μm (low contrast samples). The sample size maximum dimensions are:140mm in diameter and 160mm in length.

MULTISCALE X-ray nano-tomograph SKYSCAN 2214 covers the widest range of object sizes and spatial resolutions. The instrument allows scanning samples (objects) as large as 300mm in diameter with low resolution, and submicron resolution for small samples.

The system is equipped with four X-Ray detectors: flat-panel for large objects, 11Mp cooled CCD with a wide field of view, 11Mp cooled CCD with a medium field of view, and 8Mp cooled CCD for higher spatial resolution. Automatically variable acquisition geometry and phase-contrast enhancement allows obtaining optimum possible quality in relatively short scanning time.

Computed Tomography Scanning Instruments

Image of Bruker SkyScan 1173 High Energy Micro-CT [View Image]

High-Energy Spiral Scan Micro-CT

SkyScan 2214 multi-scale X-ray Nano-CT [View Image]

SkyScan 2214 multi-scan X-ray nano-CT

Other capabilities in the NCC lab include surface wettability measuring by using contact angle, as well as the capability to measure heat capacity, magnetic and electrical properties as a function of temperature and magnetic field.

If you don't see what you need, contact us. We help make connections for the capabilities you may need.

Inquire About Consulting & Materials Analysis Services

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