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Nano and Pico Characterization Laboratory

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


The Nano and Pico Characterization Lab (NPC) at CNSI provides access to state-of-the-art methods toward the characterization of surfaces, adsorbates, nanostructures, and devices through the use of Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM). SPM methods differ from conventional microscopes that use light or beams of charged particles in that the SPM probe is a mechanical object. These systems rely upon a unique, tactile sensing of interactions between sharp probe tips and a sample surface. 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. As a result SPM encompasses a wide variety of underlying techniques typically based on the fundamental methods of Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM).