Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies

Helping you understand, create, and characterize nanomaterials

Discovery Platforms

Modular micro-laboratories designed and batch-fabricated by CINT to allow easy integration of nanomaterials into microscale structures

The need to reproducibly characterize individual nanostructures or synthesize nanomaterials with exquisite chemical control has inspired CINT to develop Discovery Platforms™. These unique research tools consist of micro-fabricated structures or devices for specific nanoscience experiments. Simple platforms are fabricated in CINT whereas the most complicated devices, essentially a lab-on-a-chip, are designed and produced in cooperation with the Microsystems Engineering Science and Applications (MESA) facility at Sandia National Laboratories. Discovery Platforms™ are conceived, designed, and commissioned with user input and active participation. They allow users to conduct experiments that are not possible using traditional laboratory equipment. 


The ElectroChem Discovery Platform is a microfabricated fluidic platform that permits the investigation of electrochemical energy storage processes in real time inside a transmission electron microscope (TEM). It is comprised of top and bottom micromachined chips that form a sealed, 100-nm-thick cavity that can contain liquids while exposed to high vacuum. This electrochemical platform features 10 electrical leads with customizable passivation layers that converge at the center of the device and reside on an electron transparent (40-nm-thick) silicon nitride membrane. This device, which we combine with state-of-the-art electrochemical testing equipment capable of ~10 fA current levels, allows users to perform controlled electrochemistry experiments on small volumes (e.g., single nanowires or 10’s of nanoparticles) of precisely positioned nanomaterials, while visualizing microstructural changes in the material of interest via TEM.


The new Microfluidic Synthesis Discovery Platform is an extremely flexible system for nanoparticle synthesis, functionalization, and realtime characterization. The microfluidic system utilizes an all-glass chip with a serpentine channel that can hold volumes from 200 microliters to one milliliter and precision temperature control. Real time reaction monitoring via visible and fluorescence microscopy and UV-Vis spectroscopy are currently used, with IR spectroscopy and dynamic light scattering to be added in the future.
Contact: Dale Huber

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