The Department of Physics has a Nanotechnologies Lab. This cleanroom has facilities for a number of endeavors. Nanotechnologies, as the name implies, are very small systems. Typically some dimension of a system under study is on the order of nanometers (a few atoms thick). This is much smaller than the wavelength of light so special methods must be employed to observe and to handle these systems.
- Within the cleanroom is a higher level cleanroom that houses a thin film deposition system. This system uses an electron beam to heat a material of choice and make a vapor that deposits on whatever material, known as a substrate, that we please. This system can lay down thin films as thin as nanometers thick (a few atoms thick). It has the capability to make complicated layers with as many as four different materials.
- The Nanotechnologies Lab also houses an Atomic Force Microscope. This microscope uses the force between the material under test and a probe to determine surface properties of the material. It can be used to map the surface with accuracy in the nanometer range.
- Two vacuum systems are also available for use in the Nanotechnologies laboratory. High vacuums can be achieved with these systems as well as sample manipulation and a variety of ports for measuring different physical characteristics of a sample.