Nano and Pico Characterization Laboratory

An unprecedented collection of instrumentation for surface analysis at the nanoscale and beyond.

Instrumentation and Capabilities

Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM)

The NPC Lab provides both state-of-the-art microscopic techniques to visualize surfaces, adsorbates, nanostructures and devices at the atomic and molecular scale. Since SPM systems directly interact with the material of interest, they are also able to go beyond imaging and probe local physiochemical properties such as friction, adhesion, stiffness/modulus, electrical charge and local magnetism. By combining multiple modes of SPM based on the fundamental methods of Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), the facility enables thorough investigation of local physical, chemical and electrical properties necessary for complete study of an experimental system under a wide range of experimental conditions.

Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) and Zeta potential (ZP)

The NPC Lab offers a suite of instrumentation to characterize the extrinsic properties (i.e., hydrodynamic diameter, size distribution, disperse state, agglomeration kinetics, surface charge) of nanomaterials dispersed in buffers, biological media and organic solvents and integrate intrinsic properties (i.e., primary size & size distribution, shape, (im)purity, chemical composition). DLS and ZP methods are powerful and easy-to-use techniques tfor charterizing a vast array of analytes: nanoparticles, polymers, proteins, liposomes, etc. By measuring either the Brownian motion of the particles using light scattering for size analysis or electrophoretic mobility to calculate the zeta potential, these methods provide a means to fully understand relevant physiochemcial properties at the particulate-liquid interface.

Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)

The NPC Lab provides service with chemical and isotopic analysis in a variety of sample types via ICP-OES and/or ICP-MS. This powerful tool uses plasma as an ionization source to determine elemental concentration. With taking advantage from two different analytical techniques, optical emission or mass spectrometer, it allows to cover a wide measurement range from parts per million (ppm) to trillion (ppt). ICP-OES is suitable to analyze the sample that contains high concentration for example seawater, battery materials, soil/ores samples. On the other hand, ICP-MS which has higher sensitivity and lower detection limits offers to determine trace amount of elements in environmental, pharmaceutical, and semiconductor samples.


Rheometry is a useful method for measuring the characteristic properties of fluids, semi-solids, and solids which include from daily-life products: engine oil, honey, shampoo, hand lotion, toothpaste to advanced items: medical device, medicine, aerospace materials. At NPC lab, the rheometer, MCR 302, from Anton Paar allows for analysis with a wide range of properties including viscosity, shear stress, viscoelasticity, etc depending on type of samples.

Other Equipment and Services