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Characterisation facilities

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About the Characterisation facilities

We host a  range of equipment that can be used for device and material characterisation.

We provide high resolution imaging of different types of specimens ranging from biological to semiconductor materials:

  • plan view imaging of a sample surface using field emission scanning microscopy (FESEM), helium ion microscopy or scanning probe microscopy (SPM)
  • cross-section imaging using the focussed ion beam (FIB) system and FESEM
  • imaging of biological samples in liquids using an environmental scanning electron microscope (SEM)

We also have tools for preparing, measuring and analysing specimens. This includes:

  • preparation of thin samples for transmission electron microscopy using the FIB system
  • depth profiling of material composition using secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS) 
  • analysis of sample composition using X-ray fluorescence and X-ray computed technology
  • measurement of film thickness using ellipsometry
  • measurement of step heights after etching using spectroscopy
  • electrical and RF testing.

Our characterisation facilities are part of the clean room at the nanofabrication centre.

Technical specification

SPM systems

Our SPMs can be used for surface metrology analysis and electro-optical characterisation. They include:

  • MultiMode V which is a high resolution system quipped with two scanners that allow scanning area of 10 µm x 10 µm x 2.5 µm(XYZ) and 125 µm x 125 µm x 5 µm (XYZ) 
  • integrated SPM and Raman system which is a combination of the  Nanonics MultiView 4000 and the Renishaw inVia laser Raman spectrometer
  • Nanonics CryoView 2000 which is designed to operate at temperature less than 10 K and vacuum pressure of 5 X 10-8 Torr.
  • Caliber which is a versatile and high performance SPM system designed for multifunctional and routine microscopy

Zeiss EVO LS25 life science SEM

Our environmental SEM is specially designed to allow imaging in liquids. This means biological samples can be imaged without the problems that arise from sample dehydration. The system also has integrated X-ray functionality and forms part of the 3D X-ray imaging facility. The system provides:

  • resolution of 3nm at 30kV
  • 10nm at 3kV and 20nm at 1kV
  • XRADIA nanoXFi fluorescence imaging spectrometer for high resolution elemental analysis
  • IFG iMOXS X-ray source for trace elemental analysis 
  • Gatan XuM for X-ray computed tomography

Jeol JSM 7500F FESEM

Our FESEM provides higher resolution imaging than the environmental SEM. Its main use is for specimen imaging after electron beam lithography. It:

  • resolution of 1nm at 15kV,
  • operates between 0.5 and 30kV
  • magnification which can be varied from '100 to '1,000,000.

Zeiss NVision 40 FIB system

The FIB system is a multi nanofabrication tool system capable of performing sophisticated nanomachining, in-situ metal or insulator deposition, lithography and metrology analysis. It provides:

  • three dimensional ion beam milling
  • electron microscopy dual beam technology
  • metallic and insulator deposition feature
  • gas injection system (GIS) unit providing deposition material such as tungsten, carbon and silica.
  • xenon difluoride for in-situ nano-etching
  • water for vapour assisted sample imaging

Zeiss Orion helium ion microscope

This microscope uses helium ions for surface imaging and analysis. It is ideal for nanostructure characterisation. It offers:

  • resolution of less than 0.9nm at an energy of 25-30kV
  • beam currents between 1fA and 25pA
  • analysis of material composition using Rutherford backscattering.

Thermo Scientific™ Theta Probe

Our high performance XPS system is designed for ultra-thin film analysis. XPS analysis can reveal information about the electronic structure of the material surface. The probe offers:

  • microfocused X-ray source to measure the chemical state of the surface of complex thin films
  • a dual-beam charge compensation for insulator analysis.

Woolham M-2000 spectroscopic ellipsometer

The ellipsometer is used to measure film thickness and refractive index after material deposition. It provides:

  • high speed and a wide wavelength range, with automated angle (40-90 degrees) and integrated focussing
  • spot size of 150 micron
  • spectral range of 190-1000nm
  • a liquid cell to allow thickness measurements in liquids

Probe stations

We also host a range of electrical characterisation systems for both commercial and research purposes. These include:

  • Lakeshore EMTTP4 Cryogenic Probe Station which will allow magneto-resistance measurements from 10K and 300K without the necessity of bonding the contacts.
  • Cryogenic Ltd Cryogen free cryomagnet system which is suitable for single and few electron device measurements and other fundamental research on nanoscale devices
  • Sula DLTS with Janis Optical Cryostat for deep level transient spectroscopy which will allow unique electronic characterisation of materials.
  • MSA-400 Micro System Analyse which provides measurements of structural vibrations and surface topology in microstructures such as MEMS
  • 8 inch Cascade SUMMIT 12000B Semi-Automatic probe station with Agilent N5250A 67GHz Vector Network Analyzer which allows S-parameter measurements and other RF measurements to a high precision
  • Cascade R32 REL3200 Probe-Station for any top-contact electron device
  • Cascade M150 Probe Station for resistivity measurements on wafers up to 8 inch

CAD tools and modelling programs

Our CAD tools can be used to simulate a wide range of devices, systems and processes:

  • semiconductor devices
  • photonic devices
  • microfluidic systems
  • fabrication processes
  • systems and circuits

Characterisation facilities

Contact us

Get in touch to find out more about our clean room and how we might be able to work with you.

Contact us

Mountbatten Complex, School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ