NanoCenter Partner Labs include both departmental and individual laboratories in which at least some of the equipment is available to NanoCenter users. Specific training, protocols and authorization for use of the shared equipment are determined by the lab owner(s), while the NanoCenter's scheduler and billing processes support the shared equipment's use. User fees collected by the NanoCenter for the shared equipment are dedicated to its maintenance and upgrades. This NanoCenter Partner Lab arrangement expands the scope and quality of equipment available to the NanoCenter community.
The Surface Analysis Center is operated by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, provides access to facilities for x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and Raman microscopy. The NanoCenter provides some financial support for the lab, and in addition the AFM and Raman instruments are coordinated through the NanoCenter's systems.
The Robot Realization Laboratory focuses on designing, building, and testing novel robot designs. This is a student centered space that also supports the NSF REU Site program at the University of Maryland focused on Miniature Robotics.This lab uses the scheduler software, invented by the Nanocenter, to manage its instruments, which include a humanoid robotic platform, a motion-capture system, and two 3-D printers.
Principal Investigator: Gary Rubloff
Location: 0204 IREAP
The lab includes two commercial ALD systems, each running both thermal and plasma ALD, accompanied by capability for metal and Li evaporation and ion bombardment. The ALD systems can also exploit in-situ, real-time spectroscopic ellipsometry and mass spectroscopy. All these components are UHV-based and connected through load-locks, transfer chambers, and a glove box enabling electrochemical and other operations, all without contamination from atmospheric exposure. The Woollam Spectroscopic Ellipsometer is available for use on a limited basis by selected NanoCenter members, where applications are relatively straightforward and usage does not overburden the instrument. It is commonly used for analyzing film thicknesses and optical properties of single layer films, but it can also be used to measure the properties of more complex structures such as multi-layers, interface roughness or inhomogeneous layers. Usage for more complex, demanding applications (e.g., multilayers or difficult materials) may not be supported by the group, as issues concerning modeling software and system control software can become difficult.
The Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials Laboratory uses the principles of both engineering and life sciences to develop biomaterials that improve the quality of life of ill or injured patients. The lab is used to fabricate polymers into easily implantable biomaterials by first synthesizing novel hydrolytically degradable biomaterials. Molecular and cellular biology principles are then incorporated to understand the interaction of cells, tissues, and higher life systems with these novel biomaterials. Areas of focus in the lab include the study of biomaterials for the delivery of therapeutics, scaffolds for orthopedic tissue engineering applications, and the interaction of biomaterials and tissues. The NanoCenter manages the shared use of the Perfactory 4 Mini with ERM, a high-resolution three-dimensional printer, which uses Direct Light Projection technology to photocrosslink resins.
The Wang Group's research activities focus on four areas: Li-ion batteries, Na-ion batteries, alkaline fuel cells, and electroanalytical techniques, covering topics from fundamental electrochemistry and materials synthesis to electrochemical devices. Current projects include novel electroanalytical techniques for phase transformation electrodes, virus enabled anodes for Li-ion batteries, scaffold Si-based anodes for Li-ion batteries, synthesis of alkaline anion exchange membranes (AAEMs) for fuel cell and metal-air battery applications, and addressing the challenges associated with the development of high energy density Li-S, Na-S, and Li-air batteries. The NanoCenter manages the shared use of the Battery Assembly Glove Box, which is dedicated to lithium battery assembly.
The Environmental Engineering Laboratories are part of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maryland. Our research supports the idea that fundamental environmental research will serve as the basis for solving the problems faced by future generations. Practical engineering research is necessary to solve current environmental problems. The labs function to support analysis of environmental samples which focus on the fate and processes involved in three main areas of research: organic pollutants, inorganic pollutants, and environmental microbiology.
The Functional Macromolecular Laboratory at the University of Maryland, College Park, focuses on the synthesis, characterization and processing of novel polymer-based nanostructured systems used in a variety of technological fields, ranging from medicine and pharmaceuticals to energy storage and microelectronics. The lab features a comprehensive set of characterization equipment for polymer mechanical, thermal, dielectric, conductive properties. Current projects include the design of polymers, hydrogels, and composites for use in surgery, intelligent food packaging, electrolytes for flexible batteries, and stretchable electronics.