Surface Characterization Laboratory

Surface Characterization Laboratory

fume hoods in cleanroom


Hill Hall 310 & CoorsTek 040


Alex Dixon –


Facility Details

The Surface Characterization Lab houses an AFM, SEM, UV-VIS spectroscopy system, and profilometer, as well as probe station for electrical measurements.


The Digital Instruments Atomic Force Microscope is a high-resolution scanning probe microscope with sub-nanometer vertical resolution and sub-micron horizontal resolution. The system uses a sharp tip on the edge of a cantilever to scan a samples surface and record fluctuations. It can be used to characterize surface roughness, grain boundaries, lithographic structures, and polymeric materials.

The probe station measures the electrical properties of semiconductor samples under an optical microscope. With 4 micropositioner probes and an adjustable connection to a Keithley sourcemeter, a curve tracer, and a capacitance bridge, one can measure the electrical properties of microfabricated devices.

The Phenom Scanning Electron Microscope is a tabletop SEM which features combined optical- electron images for easy sample navigation. It is designed for ease of use and rapid sample loading. It can achieve up to 100,000 X magnification with resolution down to 15nm.

The D-600 stylus profilometer is an instrument used to measure a surface’s profile to quantify its roughness and step heights.  The D-600 profilometer can measure fluctuations in surface profile from 1200um down to the nanometer scale.

The HL5500PC is a high-performance Hall Effect Measurement System. It enables measurement of resistivity, carrier concentration and mobility on a wide range of semiconductors and with minimum effort in sample preparation. The HL5500PC is designed as a modular system and the basic instrument can measure sheet resistivity’s up to a few MOhm/square and Hall voltages of a few µV. Samples can have Van der Pauw, bar or bridge shaped geometries, and dual temperature measurements (at room temperature and 77 K) are readily achievable.

  • Thickness should be less than 1/15 of the peripheral length (less than 1mm), and uniform to ±1%.
  • Sheet resistivity’s of 0.1 mΩ/square to in excess of 1 MΩ/square
  • Optional to extend sheet resistivity measurements to 1011Ω/square
  • Max Measurement Diameter: 25 mm
  • Magnet: Permanent with field reversal by magnet rotation
  • Support for van der Pauw, Hall bar and bridge samples
  • Integration, delay & repeat measurement modes increase flexibility and accuracy on difficult to measure samples
  • Easy to export data and information

The CARY 5G is a high-performance UV-VIS and NIR spectrophotometer, with a 175-3300 nm range. Ideal for measuring the absorption profiles of thin film materials.

The lab also contains an optical microscope with backlighting and 5X- 100X magnification.