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Dr. Virginia M. Ayres
The Electronic and Biological Nanostructures Laboratory


The development and use of reliable nano-investigative techniques is also important for us. Scanning probe and high resolution electron microscopies, with active nano-probing developments, are an ongoing research commitment within the EBNL group. Students are encouraged to develop high-caliber nano-experimental expertise of their own, working with the guidance of experts both at Michigan State University and through national and international links with collaborators.

Our research group works with the experimental facilities in the

  • Electronic and Biological Nanostructures Laboratory, Prof. V. M. Ayres, C-22 Research Complex for Engineering, Michigan State University.

We also make serious use of the experimental facilities available from three more University-wide resources:

  • The W. M. Keck Microfabrication Facility, Bio-Physical Sciences Building, Michigan State University
  • The Center for Advanced Microscopy, Center for Integrated Plant Systems, Michigan State University
  • The University of Michigan Electron Microbeam Analysis Laboratory, North Campus EMAL, Space Research Building, 2455 Hayward Space Research Building, University of Michigan.

Each lab is described below, with extra details provided about some of our favorite equipment.

The Electronic and Biological Nanostructures Laboratory of Professor Ayres is a Research laboratory with 720 square feet of space in the Research Complex for Engineering. It is 100% available to the project. It contains the following major equipment:

  • Veeco Instruments Nanoscope IIIa Multimode Scanning Probe Microscope
  • Veeco Instruments Signal Access Module
  • Veeco Instruments Extender Electronics
  • Forma Water-jacketed CO2 Incubator
  • Nicolet Magna 560 FTIR Spectrometer
  • CIC Photonics Insider Cell for FTIR Emission Mode
  • Hewlett Packard 54201A Digitizing Oscilloscope
  • Filmetrics Spectroscopic Reflectometry System Model F-20
  • Wet sink, eyewash station and 72 FPM fume hood
  • Optics bench

The Nanoscope IIIa Multimode Scanning Probe Microscope has capabilities for:

  • Scanning Probe Recognition Microscopy
  • Scanning Tunnelling Microscopy (STM), Spectroscopy (STS) and Ballistic Electron Microscopy (BEEM), at regular (nanoAmp) and Low Current Extended (picoAmp) tunneling currents
  • Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Contact, Tapping and Force Modulation modes, in air and liquid (liquid cell) environments
  • Scanning Thermal Microscopy (ScThm)
  • Electric Force Microscopy (EFM)
  • Magnetic Force Microscopy (MFM)
  • Nanoindentation.

W.M.Keck Microfabrication FacilityThe W. M. Keck Microfabrication Facility ( is the major lithography facility (electron beam lithography and photolithography) for Michigan State University. It is a university-wide user facility and is available to the project on a University User Fee basis. It contains the following major equipment for lithographic fabrication and analysis:


  • JEOL 840A SEM
  • Turbo-pumped Edward Auto306 Thermal Evaporator Thin Film Deposition System
  • Edward Scancoat Six Sputter Coater Thin Film Deposition System
  • Resist Preparation Equipment
  • MicroAutomation 1006 Wafer Dicing Saw
  • AB-M Mask Aligner with near UV and deep UV spectrum
  • Class 100 cleanroom for photoresist preparation and photolithography
  • PX-250 March Instruments O2 Plasma Etcher
  • PTI Batchtop RIE Reactive Ion Etcher


  • Hitachi S-4700II FESEM
  • EDAX Phoenix energy dispersive X-ray Micro-analyzer System
  • Kaiser Optical Systems HoloProbe Micro-Raman Spectrograph coupled to an Olympus BX-60 optical microscope
  • Veeco Instruments Dimension 3100 Scanning Probe Microscope
  • Digital Imaging System consisting of a SPOT digital color camera and an Olympus BX60 optical microscope
  • DekTak Surface Profiler
  • Olympus BX60 Optical Microscope with polarizer, Normarski differential interference contrast and bright/dark field

The JEOL 840A SEM is used as an electron beam lithography system to expose electron beam resists such as PMMA according to a computer generated pattern. The instrument specifications include:

  • Acceleration voltage: up to 40 kV
  • Filament type: Tungsten
  • Beam size: ~ 8 nm at 35 kV
  • Pattern design: DesignCad
  • Pattern formation: Vector scan
  • Pattern generating: Nabity Lithography system
  • Beam blanker: 8 MHz electromagnetic
  • Features size: ~ 50 nm

The Center for Advanced Microscopy logoThe Center for Advanced Microscopy ( is the central Microscope laboratory for Michigan State University, providing nanometer resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and laser scanning confocal microscopy (CLSM). It is a university-wide user facility and is available to the project on a University User Fee basis. It contains the following major equipment:

  • JEOL 2200FS 200 kV field emission TEM
  • JEOL 6400V SEM with a LaB6 emitter
  • JEOL 6300F field emission SEM
  • Zeiss Pascal CLSM
  • Meridian InSIGHT CLSM on a Zeiss axioskop
  • Zeiss LSM 210 CLSM
  • CLSM lasers at 458 nm, 488 nm, 514 nm, 543 nm and 633 nm

The JEOL 2200FS 200 kV field emission TEM is state of the art high resolution transmission electron microscope with capabilities for:

  • High Resolution Electron Microscopy Imaging
  • Z-contrast Atomic Resolution Imaging
  • Energy Filtered Imaging
  • Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy
  • Selected Area Electron Diffraction
  • Nano-beam Electron Diffraction
  • Convergent Beam Electron Diffraction
  • X-ray Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy
  • Lorentz Electron Microscopy
  • Bright / Dark Field Imaging

The University of Michigan Electron Microbeam Analysis Laboratory (EMAL) ( is a university-wide USER facility for the structural and chemical characterization of materials at nanometer length scales. It is a regional user facility and is available to the project on a University User Fee basis. Michigan State University and the University of Michigan share an identical fee schedule for the use of this facility. It contains the following major equipment:

  • FEI Nova Nanolab Dualbeam FIB and SEM
  • FEI Quanta 200 3D FIB and Environmental SEM
  • JEOL 2010F Field Emission Gun Analytical Electron Microscope
  • JEOL 3011 High Resolution Electron Microscope
  • Philips XL30 Field Emission Gun SEM
  • Kratos Axis Ultra X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer
  • Veeco Instruments Nanoscope IIIa Scanning Probe Microscope
  • Veeco Nanoscope E Scanning Probe Microscope with Hysitron Picoindenter
  • NanoInstruments NanoIndenter

The FEI Nova Nanolab Dualbeam Focussed Ion Beam Workstation with Micromanipulator and scanning electron microscope enables the preparation of ultra-thin (70 nm is the maximum) cross sections of nanomaterials for subsequent high resolution TEM analysis. The instrument specifications include:

  • Accelerating Voltage: Electrons: 0.2 to 30 kV
  • Ion Source: Gallium (Ga)
  • Accelerating Voltage: Ions: Up to 30kV
  • SEM Resolution: 3.5nm @ 30kV at high vacuum
  • Ion Resolution: 7nm @ 30kV @ 1pA
  • Micromanipulator: Kleindiek Nanotechnik MM3A
  • Software: AutoFIB, AutoTEM, Slice and View, and XtDocu

National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL)

© Copyright 2018, Virginia M. Ayres