Nanophysics laboratories consist of an area of about 1000 m2 equipped with the most advanced instrumentation in the field. The laboratories have the possibility of addressing studies in a multimodal and multidisciplinary way, from microscopy to spectroscopy, from thermodynamics to nanomechanics.
Scanning Probe Microscopy laboratories have been equipped with an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) Nanowizard II (JPk Instruments), coupled with a Zeiss AxioObserver D1. The AFM system is integrated with the CellHesion module (JPK Instruments, Germany) large estension vertical piezo-stage. An Asylum Research AFM, model MFP3D, is also used mainly as materials AFM, nanolithography and nano-manipulation. Top-view optics and inverted optical microscopes are coupled to the main stages of the AFMs.
The portfolio is integrated with a Dynamic Mechanical Thermal Analyzer (DMTA) Q-800 (TA instruments), for viscoelastic characterization of soft materials, a precision nanoindenter in vertical configuration, capable to operate in liquid and at high temperature, and a Nano-eNabler (Bioforce Nanosciences), a benchtop molecular printer for nano scale fluid delivery for functionalization of nanopatterned surfaces.
A Cryogenic UHV STM-AFM has been designed and realized in the Nanophysics laboratories for fundamental characterization of matter. It is a high-tech Omicron LT-STM_XA operating at cryogenic temperatures (5K) in UHV environment, upgraded with some UHV instruments and tools to expand the general capability and throughput. STM capability have been extended with AFM; the system can also work on metal, semiconductors, insulating materials and proteins thanks to the special modular design of the preparation chamber. The system has an extended preparation temperature (Tmin<100K and Tmax=1300K) and allows reflection and transmission experiments. Further optimizations include the possibility of organics deposition upgraded with extended pressure gauge, gas load dynamic deposition on preparation stage, and residual gas analysis system.
The Spectroscopy and Optical Processing laboratory is equipped with a titanium-sapphire regenerative amplifier (Coherent Legend), which pumps an optical parametric amplifier (Coherent Opera Solo). The regenerative amplifier produces trains of 3mJ pulses at 1KHz, with bandwidth of 30nm and pulse duration of 50fs. The parametric amplifier is tunable between 250nm and 2700nm, via parametric amplification of super-continuum radiation and successive stages of frequency doubling and sum-frequency in non-linear crystals. Separate beam-lines have been implemented for the generation of super-continuum white light (400-700nm) and high-power third harmonic generation (15uJ/pulse at 277nm). The femto-second pump-probe setup has a time resolution of 70fs in a wide spectral interval from near UV to near infrared. The pump-beam wavelength can be tuned between 250nm and 2700nm. The same wavelength range plus white-light super-continuum is used as probe. The detection is performed either by lock-in amplification of photodiode signal or using a fast spectrometer synchronized with the laser source. The direct beam of the regenerative amplifier is also used for the production of nano-crystals by laser ablation in water. A Laser Continuum Leopard Nd:YAG (100 picoseconds) and a Spectra-Physics Quanta-Ray PRO-290-30 Nd:YAG (10 nanoseconds) are also operating in the lab. Among the detection devices an Acton 2300i dispersion grating spectrometer coupled with a CCD Princeton Instrument photo camera equipped with signal intensifier to increase sensitivity and with electronic shutter function for optical signal, is used for the acquisition of ultrashort timeframes (500ps).
One of the most interesting set-up of the Optical Nanoscopy LAMBS (Laboratory for Advanced Microscopy, Bioimaging and Spectroscopy) is the IML-SPIM (Individual Molecule Localization-Single Plane Illumination Microscope), a system for getting nanometer resolution in thick samples, designed and realized at IIT labs. Several super resolution set-up have been realized in the Nanophysics laboratories, namely: portable STED CW, pulsed STED based on a white light laser (Fianium Ltd, UK), FPALM super resolution microscope and a multiphoton SPIM architecture. Main commercial systems operating at LAMBS are the following: Leica STED CW, Leica SP5 spectral confocal microscope, Nikon NSTORM and Nikon AR1 multiphoton microscope. LAMBS is endowed of a battery of Ti-Sapphire ultrafast pulsed lasers. Also a MicroRaman integrated system HORIBA Jobi Yvon MOD. LABRAM HR and an Olympus FV1000MP Confocal Microscope adapted for multiphoton excitation equipped with a Spectra Physics Ti-Sapphire Mai Tai.
The Laser Micromachining laboratory is equipped with 2 excimer lasers (CompexPro-110, 248/193 – 308 nm) coupled with micromachining workstation, and a Nd:YAG mode-locked picoseconds laser (Continuum-Leopard) coupled with a optomechanical system for nanoparticles generation through pulsed laser ablation in liquid. An OPTEC MicroMaster V5 Deep-UV Laser Micromachinining workstation is coupled with the CompexPro F-version (248/193 nm). The 308 nm excimer laser is coupled with an optical projection apparatus for the realization of an innovative excimer laser based stereolithography system.
Material Science laboratories have been equipped with a Diamond DSC calorimeter (Perkin Helmer), a Langmuir Blodget KSV 2000 for monolayer deposition, a Zeta Sizer NanoZS light scarttering (Malvern), an OCA 20(DataPhysics) for steady state and dinamic contact angle measures, a Cary 6000i (Varian) spectrometer UV and NIR extended equipped also with an integration sphere for total and diffuse reflectance detection, a Fluoromax 4 (Horiba Jobin-Yvon) Spectrofluorometer equipped also with a temperature controlled cell, a Vertex 70v (Bruker) FTIR and a XP-2 (Ambios) stylus profilometer.