University of Southampton


Materials metrology

The clean room provides a range of characterisation equipment for device and material characterisation. Plan view imaging of a sample surface can be performed using field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), helium ion microscopy and scanning probe microscopy. Cross-section imaging can be achieved by first making a cross-sectional cut using the focussed ion beam (FIB) system and then imaging in-situ using field emission scanning electron microscopy. The FIB is also able to prepare thin samples for transmission electron microscopy and perform secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS) for depth profiling of material composition. A life science SEM is available for imaging of biological samples in liquids and for the analysis of sample composition using a variety of X-ray techniques including X-ray fluorescence and X-ray computed tomography. Film thicknesses can be measured using ellipsometry and step heights after etching can be measured using a profilometer. The optical properties of materials can be characterised using Raman spectroscopy and laser spectroscopy.

Devices characterisation

We also possess a wide range of electrical characterisation systems for both commercial and research purposes varying from liquid He cryostats with magnetic field to a MEMS tester, and a radio-frequency semi-automatic probe station. The systems are described with an associated electrical characterisation analysers, but most analysers can be interchanged according to specific requirements. Although most of the systems are designed with semiconductor wafers in mind, many will allow other devices and materials to be tested. A large selection of analysers is available to connect to any of the above system or to stand alone devices. More information can be found:

Biosystems characterisation

The Nano Group has access to the new Centre for Hybrid Biodevices, which comprises 300 m2 of laboratory space specifically designed for life sciences interface research. This includes an easy-access area for (bio)chemical projects and a large contained space for research involving bacteria or cells, a laboratory for cell cultures and a dark room for customized optical equipment. There are dedicated areas for elastomer casting, molecular biology, and mechanical/laser machining. The facility contains all the equipment for soft lithography of microfluidic devices, from templates fabricated in the clean room or 3D-printed in the mechanical workshop. A range of stereozooms, fluorescence microscopes is available, including a laser-scanning confocal system. This laboratory, which also contains a substantial suite of state-of-the-art optical and electrical instrumentation, is located in the new Biological Sciences building and forms an integral part of the University's new cross-disciplinary Institute for Life Sciences.