Physical Sciences & Engineering Cores

The primary mission of the Structural Biology Facility is to provide state-of-the-art equipment, training, technical support, and maintenance of equipment indispensable for structural biologists and other researchers studying the structures of biological macromolecules and materials. The Facility also provides structure determination and data collection services, both for crystallography and cryoEM.

The Structural Biology Facility is spread across both Chicago and Evanston campuses, as well as Argonne National Lab in Lemont, IL.

The Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) facility provides a means of growing thin film of metals and oxides ranging from a nanometer to a micron thick. The facility contains a state of the art PVD PLD/MBE 2300 with high pressure RHEED capabilities. Samples as large as 2” diameter, deposition temperatures as high as 850°C, and deposition pressures between 2x10-7 and 1 Torr with post deposition annealing as high as 300 Torr can be accommodated. The instrument holds multiple targets which allows the deposition of multilayers and superlattices. PLD also provides a convenient way to make thin films of materials heretofore studied in the bulk by pressing and sintering a target from the bulk material; facilities are available at Northwestern for the pressing and sintering of targets.​



Atom Probe Tomography (APT) produces a three-dimensional (3D) atom-by-atom image of a sample, with sub-nanometer spatial resolution and a typically 150 x 150 x 500 nm^3 analyzed volume, by simultaneous high resolution imaging and time of flight mass spectrometry. APT is particularly suited to study nano or nanostructured materials. The same samples can also be characterized by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), in a correlative study. To compare these experimental results with atomistic simulations on the same size scale, ab-initio calculations and Monte-Carlo simulations can be performed at our facility. NUCAPT operates a CAMECA LEAP 4000 XSi tomograph. Specimen tips can be prepared by electropolishing (metals) and from almost any material by FIB ( Focused-ion beam milling ). Ion beam sputter deposition creates thin film structures that aid with APT specimen preparation. Vacuum arc melting systems are available for syntesizing alloys and compounds. Thermocalc and MEDEA software packages are available for thermodynamic calculations and materials simulations.  For more information about this facility, click here.

The Central Laboratory for Materials Mechanical Properties (CLaMMP) contains testing machines and accessories for conducting educational, research, and outreach experiments on most solid materials. The lab is available for use for both the Northwestern community and non-Northwestern researchers on an hourly-fee basis. The facility provides testing equipment for studying the mechanical behavior of materials. For more information about this facility, click here.

The primary function is to provide general-purpose x-ray equipment for scattering and fluorescence studies. The facility can also provide equipment for non-routine experiments such as, special attachments for high temperatures, vacuum or protective atmospheres, monochromators, special linear and area detectors, etc. Examples of current measurements are: powder diffraction (XRD), single-crystal diffraction, thin-film reflectivity (XRR), thin-film diffraction, crystal truncation rod scattering (CTR), small angle scattering (SAXS), Laue diffraction, pole figures, energy dispersive X-ray Fluorescence spectroscopy, x-ray standing waves, high-resolution x-ray diffraction (HRXRD), and grazing incidence wide-angle scattering (GIWAXS), and GISAXS. The X-ray lab also functions to help prepare students and postdocs for their beamtime at the Advanced Photon Source (APS).  For more information about this facility, click here.

Equipment: There are presently thirteen experimental x-ray stations available, five of which have rotating anode sources. 

NU Fabrication (NUFAB) has cleanroom facilities in Cook Hall and the Tech Institute. NUFAB_Tech contains state-of-the-art equipment for characterization, deposition, etching-ashing, photolithography and wet processing in newly-built 6000 square-foot class 100 and class 1000 cleanrooms. It supports research in all areas of science, engineering, medicine, and interdisciplinary fields. It provides nanofabrication equipment and technical expertise to Northwestern as well as other academic and industrial researchers.

The Keck-II Center was established in late 2001 through the support of W. M. Keck Foundation. Keck-II also has received some support from Northwestern's Institute for Nanotechnology's NSF-sponsored Nanoscale Science & Engineering Center (NSEC) as well as from the State of IL and Northwestern. Keck-II facilitates research, collaboration, education and outreach in all science from soft biological matter to hard physical matter, specializing in surface analysis and nano-scale characterization. 

Keck-II hosts Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR), Confocal Raman System, High Resolution Stylus Profilometer, 3D Optical MicroscopeSpectroscopic Ellipsometer, and Zetasizer.

Keck-II is open to all the faculty and students at Northwestern University as well as the researchers at the nearby academic institutions and related industrial companies. The Keck-II Center operates and functions like its sister facilities (SPID and EPIC)-based on the core philosophy of open-access, hand-on training, collaboration and assistance from our able staff. Training is offered on a periodic basis, both as “crash courses” or part of hands-on structured courses, as well as individual ad-hoc training as need arises.

SPID was created to drive interdisciplinary research bridging the gap between hard nanostructures, soft materials, biological sciences, quantitative mechanical and electrical analysis and nanopatterning. SPID provides a wide range of imaging instrumentation and support facilities for atomic to molecular imaging. It supports a broad range of nanoscale science and technology characterization needs at nanoscale by providing state-of-the-art resources coupled with expert staff. Research at SPID encompasses physical and chemical sciences, engineering and life sciences, and has a strong inter-disciplinary emphasis. Every week, several new users coming from NU campuses, academia, industry, and government laboratories learn to use tools available in the center to carry out their research projects.

The primary focus of SPID is to provide both quantitative and qualitative scanning probe microscopy and biomaterials nanopatterning based highly advanced instrumentations to enable materials, nanopatterning and biomedical research by a diverse group of scientists, industries and clinicians representing numerous disciplines. SPID works in partnership with several industrial partners and specifically Bruker Metrology Surface Division to develop advanced instrumentation for quantitative analysis. SPID serves as a hub for numerous global partnerships both in terms of facility development and research.

For more information about this facility, click HERE

Simpson Querrey Institute (SQI) Nanomedicine Cleanroom Core Facility is specifically designed for interdisciplinary research at the interface of physical and biological sciences. A fully functional photolithography line is located in the class 100 room. This room houses a mask aligner/exposure system, a spin coater, hot plates, and a laminar flow fume hood. The class 10,000 room incorporates a cell culture area, complete with a tissue culture hood, two incubators, a centrifuge, and a cell culture microscope.

For more information about this facility, click here.

NU Fabrication (NUFAB) has cleanroom facilities in Cook Hall and the Tech Institute. The Cook facility contain class 100 and 1000 cleanrooms and provides microfabrication and thin film processing capabilities. It is devoted to materials processing, growth, device fabrication, characterization and electronic & photonic  materials. The facility provides microfabrication tools for general use by the Northwestern community, government and industrial researchers. Various techniques are available for the growth, preparation and processing of a wide range of thin film materials including in-process characterization. Training of equipment and assisted use within the facility is available to provide the necessary expertise.

This provides a centralized resource for the deposition of metal, semiconductor & dielectric thin films, photolithography, and processing. Standardmicrofabricationprocesses have been established. Available techniques include plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition, e-beam evaporation, atomic layer deposition, reactive ion etching, photolithography, bonding, rapid thermal processing, Hall Effect Measurement and some characterization instrumentation.

For more information about this facility, click here.