Facilities

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Our state-of-the-art nano-optics facility is located in the Intermountain Network and Scientific Computing Center (INSCC) building in the heart of the beautiful University of Utah campus. The frame to the left shows a panoramic view of our main optics laboratory, which includes several continuous-wave and picosecond-scale pulsed lasers, a tip-enhanced (apertureless) fluorescence microscope, a commercial inverted microscope, and several computers of various platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux). The lab itself has ~800 ft2 of usable area and has very high (~20 ft) ceilings.


The tip-enhanced microscope is composed of a commercial atomic force microscope (Asylum Research MFP-3D) atop a home-built inverted optical microscope, as shown in the composite image below. We use two Perkin Elmer avalanche photodiodes (APDs) in a configuration that allows for polarization anisotropy analysis, coincidence counting (e.g., for photon antibunching experiments), or simultaneous photon counting and spectral analysis.

A high numerical aperture (1.4) oil immersion objective lens focuses and collects light through a transparent substrate, typically a thin (<170 μm) glass coverslip. The high numerical aperture objective allows for illumination in total internal refelction mode, which can be used in combination with various laser beam masks to produce vertically oriented polarization at the sample surface, as required for field enhancement (see TEFM page). The entire microscope sits on top of an active vibration damping platform (Herzan Table Stable), and is enclosed within a light-tight acoustic chamber.

Witec Alpha SNOM The picture to the left shows an isolated laboratory space specifically dedicated to a multi-mode Witec Alpha SNOM 300 microscope. This commercial instrument can be operated in both upright or inverted configurations with standard far-field or aperture-type near-field illumination modes. Signal detection channels include wide field, confocal (including confocal Raman), near-field, and standard spectroscopic modes. The microscope is also equipped with atomic force microscopy capabilities using Witec's cutting-edge AFM/near-field objective turret that allows for simultaneous AFM and optical microscopy. The Alpha SNOM is located in the INSCC building adjacent to our main optics lab, and is operated by the John Dixon Laser Institute as a user facility. This instrument was purchased in part with a grant from the University of Utah Research Instrumentation Fund.

The picture to the right shows our sample preparation laboratory, which has two chemical hoods, a laminar flow hood, an ultrapure water (18 MΩ) system, an ice machine, a vacuum oven, a research-grade refrigerator and freezer, chemical safety cabinets, and several other pieces of equipment. This facility is located in the INSCC building just down the hall from our main optics laboratory, and has been recently upgraded with the arrival of two new biophysics faculty members (Michael Vershinin and Saveez Saffarian). The laboratory is now utilized and maintained by several groups with overlapping interests and infrastructure needs (Gerton, Lupton, Rogachev, Saffarian, and Vershinin).

SEM The INSCC building houses a number of additional cutting-edge facilities including an electron microscope center equipped with a state-of-the-art FEI Nova Nano SEM with ~2 nm resolution and e-beam lithography and x-ray elemental analysis capabilities (see picture to the left) and a Leo440i SEM with ~10 nm resolution for general imaging needs. In addition, the John Dixon Laser Institute within INSCC houses a number of picosecond and femtosecond pulsed lasers, a bulk Raman lab, a streak camera, and a number of other optical analysis systems. Students can be trained to use these instruments by the technical staff members and/or jobs can be completed by the staff members.

As described on the Energy Transfer project page, we attach carbon nanotubes to AFM probes both for high-resolution near-field microscopy and energy transduction measurements. To facilitate this research, we built a simple chemical vapor deposition (CVD) facility. It is composed of a gas-handling manifold, a quartz sample tube, and a cylindrical oven surrounding the tube. Methane, nitrogen, and argon gas cylinders are connected to the manifold. The picture below shows the nanotube growth system, which is located in James Fletcher Building, just down the hall from Prof. Gerton's office.

Additional facilities available for our use include the Utah Nanofabrication Laboratory, the Opto-Electronics Materials Laboratory, and various Department of Physics facilities, including a stockroom, a student machine shop, a professional machine shop employing two full-time machinists, a wood shop, and a computer shop.


Prof. Jordan Gerton | James Fletcher Building | Room 314 | 115 South 1400 East | Salt Lake City, UT | 84112
Office: +1-801-585-0068 | Lab: +1-801-581-5078 | Email: jgertonphysics.utah.edu