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Laser and Spectroscopy

The MRL Laser and Spectroscopy suite is a user-oriented, user-friendly facility that provides the modern photon-based analytical capabilities essential to today’s materials science. These services emphasize the study of optical properties of materials and interfaces, and the relation to microstructural and microchemical composition, phase transitions, crystalline, electronic, and defect structure of materials, surfaces, and interfaces.



The microscopy suite in the Laser and Spectroscopy Facility encompasses a wide variety of instruments for imaging and mapping of material properties. Available modalities include confocal Raman and fluorescence microscopy, scattering scanning near-field FTIR spectroscopy, C-DIC, TIC, polarization, phase, brightfield, and darkfield. Available geometries are inverted and upright using reflected or transmitted illumination.


Spectroscopy uses the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with matter to characterize optical, thermal, mechanical and electronic properties of materials. The MRL facilities include conventional, state-of-the-art spectroscopic tools in addition to techniques and instrumentation developed in house.


Ellipsometry is an optical method used for the characterization of surfaces and thin film layers by measuring the change in polarization of light reflected or transmitted from them. Commonly used to determine layer thickness and optical constants, in some cases ellipsometry can also be applied to determine composition, crystallinity, roughness, and other material properties associated with changes in optical response.

Light Sources

We have a varied assortment of lamps and pulsed and continuous-wave lasers, including a supercontinuum 480 nm to 2400 nm pulsed laser and several ultrafast (<0.5 ps pulse width) laser sources.

Contact Angle Goniometry

This technique is used to quantify the wettability of a solid surface by a liquid, as well as determining surface free energy, surface tension, and interfacial tension between materials.

Equipment in this Core

Equipment Name Contact Location Techniques
Equipment Name Contact Location Techniques
Two-Color Time Domain Thermoreflectance - TRMOKE soares 0024 Supercon Spectroscopy

TDTR is a modality of femtosecond pump/probe spectroscopy. It is used to observe optically-induced changes in optical properties on a 100’s of fs time-scale.

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Keyence VK-X1000 3D Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope soares kawalsh 0022 Supercon Microscopy

The Keyence VK-X1000 employs a 405 nm laser to map and measure the surface of samples through confocal scanning or widefield focus variation.

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Oriel Solar Simulator soares 148 MRL Light Sources

This ABB solar simulator provides uniform illumination over an area of 2” x 2” at an output of 1 SUN.

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Zeiss LSM7 Live soares flatt1 0022 Supercon Microscopy

The Zeiss LSM 7 Live confocal line-scanning microscope is a fast imaging system capable of 120 frames per second at 512 x 512 pixels, which enable analyzing high-speed processes with a time resolution of a few microseconds.

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Newport Solar Simulator soares 148 Supercon Spectroscopy

Measures I-V curves under solar spectrum or monochromatic illumination.

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OL 750 Spectroradiometer soares 148 MRL Spectroscopy

The OL 750 is a spectroradiometric measurement system for internal and external quantum efficiencies (IQE, EQE). It is equipped with a white light bias accessory that allows solar cells active area to be brought up to a typical operating energy level while measuring the spectral response simultaneously.

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SLM/ISS Fluorometer soares mali85 148 MRL Spectroscopy

Measures photo-fluorescence of liquid samples. Excitation ranges from 200 nm to 800 nm. Emission between 200 nm and 900 nm. Samples can be heated or cooled from – 20°C to 100°C.

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Neaspec NanoFTIR/NIM AFM, SSNOM soares kawalsh 0022 Supercon Microscopy

Chemical information from FTIR near-field reflection spectroscopy/imaging and topographic characterization with 20 nm spatial resolution

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Nanophoton Raman 11 soares mali85 0022 Supercon Microscopy

Confocal Raman microscopy with excitation at 532 nm or 785 nm

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Zeiss Axiovert soares mabon 0022 Supercon Microscopy

Conventional widefield inverted materials microscope equipped with C-DIC, TIC, polarization, brightfield, and darkfield in reflected or transmitted illumination.

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Varian Cary 5G and Agilent Cary 5000 soares mali85 148 MRL Spectroscopy

The Cary spectrophotometers are able to do measurements of transmission and reflection in the UV, visible, and near-IR (190 nm to 3300 nm). Modes of measurement include transmission, absolute specular reflection, integrated total fluorescence, diffuse transmission (190 nm to 2500 nm), diffuse reflection, and combined diffuse reflection and transmission (190 nm to 2500 nm).

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Time-Domain Thermoreflectance soares 0024 Supercon Spectroscopy

TDTR is a modality of femtosecond pump/probe spectroscopy. It is used to observe optically-induced changes in optical properties on a 100’s of fs time-scale. Primarily applied to study thermal properties of thin films and across interfaces, our two custom-built instruments, have accessories to allow for time-resolved magneto-optical Kerr-effect measurements. These instruments are based on Spectra-Physics Tsunami ultrafast Ti:sapphire lasers.

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Time-Resolved Photoluminescence soares offir 0024 Supercon Spectroscopy

Enables time-resolved measurements of luminescent emission spectra upon photoexcitation (fluorescence and phosphorescence) to determine the lifetime of emitting states with single photon sensitivity and < 1 ns temporal resolution. Several excitation wavelengths are available in the range from 380 nm to 900 nm.

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Photoluminescence soares 0024 Supercon Spectroscopy

Measures luminescent emission spectra upon photoexcitation (fluorescence and phosphorescence). Our custom-built experimental setup has discreet excitation wavelengths available, in the range from 266 nm to 1050 nm. It allows for measurements from 4.2 K to 300 K using a liquid He bath cryostat.

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Thermo Nicolet Nexus 670 FTIR soares mali85,jcspear 0024 Supercon Spectroscopy

The Thermo Nicolet Nexus 670 Fourier transform infrared spectrophotometer is equipped to measure transmission, reflection, diffuse reflection, diffuse transmission, and attenuated total reflection (ATR) in the mid-IR. Ranges vary from different accessories within 650 cm-1 to 5000cm-1. Its multibounce ATR attachment can measure solid and liquid specimens. Ideal sample size for solids is between 40 mm x 5 mm to 140 mm x 200 mm and for liquids a volume between 0.1 ml and 0.5 ml. Its new “IntegratIR”® integrating sphere attachment can be used to measure diffuse reflectance or transmission of light-scattering and highly absorbing solid samples.

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Ramé-Hart Model 250 Contact Angle Goniometer soares mali85 148 MRL Contact Angle Goniometry

The Ramé-Hart Model 250 Contact Angle Goniometer / Tensiometer is equipped with a wide range of method-based interfacial analysis tools for working with pendant, inverted pendant, sessile, and captive bubble drops to obtain contact angle, surface energy, and surface and interfacial tension.

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J.A. Woollam VASE soares mali85 148 MRL Ellipsometry

For spectroscopic ellipsometry. - Measure optical constants and thickness of multilayers or bulk materials, as well as reflectance and transmission as a function of angle of incidence, polarization, and wavelength. - Wavelength range: 240 nm to 1700 nm; - Angle of incidence: 12° to 90°; Temperature: 10 K to 700 K

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Gaertner L116C soares mali85 148 MRL Ellipsometry

For single wavelength, multiple angle ellipsometry.

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