Home > Education


Education

CharFac is involved with education in three manners: curriculum partnerships on credit classes; non-credit classes offered at our facility; seminars and workshops.


Non-Credit Class Rates for academic users   [  PDF 99kB]

CharFac Non-Credit Classes

CLASSES ARE OFFERED ALL YEAR.

To enquire about class times and to sign-up please e-mail .  CharFac also offers special 'Master Classes' that are intensive classes on a variety of materials analysis topics.

Introductory Classes

Students must complete the introductory classes before being able to proceed with the more advanced topics.  In general users who have had similar training at other labs and universities must still complete the introductory classes in order to understand the specifics of the Characterization Facility instrumentation.

Advanced Classes

Advanced classes are available to students who have shown sufficient understanding of the introductory operation of the instruments and need a more advanced level of training in order to obtain the data and results for their research.

Requirements and Prerequisites

There are no formal requirements to attend an introductory training class, all that is needed is a Characterization Facility code number.

Code numbers are available from the Characterization Facility office and require the completion of a user application form with either a university account number or external purchase order.

How to take a class

E-mail with any training or class requests.




ELECTRON MICROSCOPY


Introductory Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)

Prerequisite: None

Objective: To learn how to operate a Transmission Electron Microscope.

Duration: Three 2-hour sessions

Outcome: Students will be able to operate and record images using the FEI T-12 TEM.

Students learn how to operate a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM), the FEI T-12, which is a 120 KeV microscope.  Class includes; introductory concepts of TEM operation, basic sample preparation, sample loading/unloading, alignment of the instrument at differing magnifications, image/diffraction pattern recording using the Gatan Slow-Scan CCD system and the conventional film camera, developing TEM film.


Advanced TEM

Prerequisite: Introductory TEM

Objective: To learn how to operate the High-Resolution TEM.

Duration: Two 4-hour sessions

Outcome: Students will be able to operate the FEI G2 F30 FEGTEM to obtain high-resolution images.

Training for the operation of the FEI G2 F30 FEGTEM 300 KeV High-Resolution TEM.  Includes; high-resolution TEM concepts, basic sample preparation for HRTEM, sample loading/unloading, alignment of the instrument for high-resolution (atomic structure) imaging, recording images using the Gatan CCD camera or conventional film camera.


TEM Microanalysis (EDX)

Prerequisite: Advanced TEM

Objective: To acquire and analyze EDX spectra from the TEM.

Duration: One 2-hour session

Outcome: Students will be able to operate the EDX equipment to acquire spectra from samples and standards and perform routine analysis of the spectra.

Training for the use of the Energy Dispersive X-ray system (EDX) fitted on the Characterization Facility's FEI T-12 TEM, includes spectrum acquisition, sample geometry considerations and basic EDX spectrum analysis using NIST's Desktop Spectrum Analysis Software (DTSA).


Introductory Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)

Prerequisite: None

Required background reading:   SEM Primer  [  PDF 2.6MB]
SEM Training Policy  [  PDF 17.6kB]

Objective: To understand and operate one of the facility's four field-emission gun SEMs (JEOL 6500, JEOL 6700; Hitachi S-4700; Hitachi S-900).

Duration: Six hours of hands-on group training and an additional one-on-one session with the instructor for evaluation purposes.

Description: The class covers sample loading, microscope startup, alignment, and operation as well as data recording.  The optimization of instrument parameters such accelerating voltage, working distance, probe size/current, etc. for high resolution and high quality images will be explored.


Environmental SEM

Prerequisite: Introductory SEM

Objective: To understand the differences between a conventional SEM and an ESEM.

Duration: One 2-hour session

Outcome: Students will be able to operate the ESEM, and optimize the sample temperature and working distance and the microscope operating voltage and pressure for any particular sample.

The Environmental SEM class covers the differences between conventional SEM and ESEM; the vacuum design and detector design being the most obvious ones.  The class comprises a hands-on session covering sample loading, microscope startup, alignment, and operation as well as data recording.  The optimization of instrument parameters, including voltage, working distance, gas pressure and temperature, will be explained.


Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy on the SEM

Prerequisite: Introductory SEM

Required background reading:   EDS on the SEM Primer  [  PDF 1.5MB]
EDS on the SEM Policy Statement  [  PDF 13.1kB]

Objective: To acquire EDS spectra, and conduct qualitative and quantitative analyses.

Duration: One 3-hour session

Description: The class covers the optimization of microscope parameters for X-ray acquisition and the use of Noran System Six software to acquire and analyze (qualitatively and quantitatively) spectra.  Whole scan spectra, point analysis, line scan analysis and mapping will be demonstrated.


Electron BackScatter Diffraction

Prerequisite: Introductory SEM

Objective: To acquire and analyze electron backscatter patterns.

Duration: One 2-hour session

Outcome: Students will be able to mount the sample holder, acquire EBSPs analyze pattern, and generate orientation maps from their specimen.

Electron Backscattter Patterns show crystallographic information from samples in the SEM.  This class covers specimen mounting, EBSD alignment, data collection and interpretation as well as EBSP mapping.


Cathodoluminescence

Prerequisite: Introductory SEM

Objective: To acquire and analyze cathodoluminescence spectra and images.

Duration: One 2-hour session

Outcome: Students will be able to mount the CL spectrometer, acquire spectra and spectral images.

Light generation in the SEM may result from a variety of sources.  Cathodoluminescence (CL) is the technique for examining this phenomenon.  The class will cover sample mounting, acquiring CL spectra, and also acquiring spatial images using any particular CL wavelength.  The operation of the system using the software provided will be covered in a hands-on session on the microscope.



X-RAY DIFFRACTION AND SCATTERING


Introductory Wide Angle X-ray Scattering (WAXS)

Prerequisite: Safety video and questionnaire: "The Double-Edged Sword"

Objective: To learn how to operate an x-ray diffractometer.

Duration: One 2-hour session

Outcome: Researchers will be able to operate the Bruker D-5005 or Scintag XDS-2000 (temperature control).

Students learn how to operate an X-ray Diffractometer.  Class includes: safety review, basic concepts of x-ray diffraction, sample preparation, instrument calibration, data collection, and basic data analysis.


Advanced X-ray Data Analysis

Prerequisite: Introductory WAXS

Objective: Advanced X-ray Data Analysis

Duration: One 2-hour session

Advanced wide-angle x-ray data analysis will be customized to fit the researcher's needs.  May include: crystallite size analysis, profile fitting and peak deconvolution, calculation of lattice constants from peaks, degree of crystallinity determination, search/match, advanced graphing, stress analysis, and quantitative analysis.


X-ray Microdiffraction

Prerequisite: Introductory WAXS

Objective: To learn how to operate the Bruker microdiffractometer.

Duration: One 3-hour session and one 1-hour session

Outcome: Researchers will be able to operate the Bruker microdiffractometer to acquire data from samples and standards and perform routine analysis of the data.

Researchers learn how to operate the Bruker Microdiffractometer to acquire data from samples and standards and perform routine analysis of the data.  Class includes: safety review, basic concepts of x-ray diffraction, sample preparation, instrument calibration, data collection, and basic data analysis.


Introductory Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS)

Prerequisite: Safety videos and questionnaires: "The Double-Edged Sword" and Radiation Protection Program Tapes 1, 2, 3, 5, samples for analysis.

Objective: To learn to operate the SAXS line.

Duration: One 3-hour session

Outcome: Students will be able to operate the SAXS line to acquire data from samples and standards and perform routine analysis of the data.

Training involves the operation of the Small Angle X-ray Scattering line: instrument calibration, operation, experiment set-up, data collection, and basic data processing.


Advanced Small Angle X-ray Scattering

Prerequisite: Introductory SAXS

Objective: To learn to operate the SAXS line with the DSC, Rheometer, or Minimat Materials Tester.

Duration: One 3-hour session.

Training involves the operation of the SAXS line with one of the available attachements: Differential Scanning Calorimeter, Rheometer, or Minimat Materials Tester.  Includes: instrument calibration, operation, experiment set-up, data collection and basic data processing.



SCANNING PROBE MICROSCOPY


Introductory "Atomic" Force Microscopy (AFM)

Prerequisite: None

Objective: To learn scanning ("atomic") force microscope operation and basic data analysis.

Duration: Three 2-hour sessions

Outcome: Students will be able to collect images in various operating modes with the Digital Instruments Nanoscope III/Multimode, and do metrology with the acquired data.

Class covers basic AFM set-up and operation, and requisite features of instrument and software.  Modes include quasistatic and dynamic ("tapping"); topography, friction and phase imaging; force-distance curves, friction loops and frequency sweeps.  Mechanisms of tip-sample interaction are discussed, including both attractive and repulsive regimes.  Quantitative data analysis covers such topics as surface roughness and power spectrum; sample stiffness, lossiness, and surface energy/charge.  Calibration issues are discussed, as well as limitations and artifacts arising from instrument design and tip-sample interaction.


Environmental AFM

Prerequisite: None

Objective: To learn to use Station #3 to conduct AFM under controlled sample temperature and gaseous environment.

Duration: Two 2-hour sessions

Outcome: Students will be able to collect images with the Molecular Imaging PicoScan/PicoSPM, heat sample and control relative humidity.

Environmental AFM enables control of gaseous conditions like relative humidity (1-95%), to improve imaging or to investigate the intrinsic role of environment on material structure or properties.  Variable sample temperature (-30 to 170° C) enables the investigation of phase transitions, e.g. the glass transition of polymers, which in turn affect structure and properties.  Class covers quasistatic and dynamic ("tapping") modes of operation.


AFM in Liquid Media

Prerequisite: Introductory or Environmental AFM

Objective: To learn AFM operation in a liquid environment and understand the forces present.

Duration: One 2-hour session

Outcome: Students will be able to operate the Digital Instruments Nanoscope III/Multimode or the Molecular Imaging PicoScan/PicoSPM in liquid environments.

AFM is performed in liquid to (a) remove capillary forces and thereby improve imaging and force measurement resolution; (b) investigate interactions and structures intrinsic to solid-liquid interfacial systems.  Interfacial forces are examined in this class employing force-distance measurements in water and alcohol media.  Forces discussed include van der Waals, DLVO, steric and solvation; these in turn relate to interfacial energy, charge state, and molecular mobility/order.  Magnetic AC (MAC) mode is covered if using Station #3.  Some background information is covered with literature.


Force-Volume Microscopy

Prerequisite: Introductory or Environmental AFM

Objective: To learn force-volume imaging and special data reduction methods.

Duration: One 2-hour session

Outcome: Students will be able to collect force-distance measurements over a programmed grid of surface locations using the Digital Instruments Nanoscope III/Multimode or the Molecular Imaging PicoScan/PicoSPM.

Laterally resolved force-distance measurements enable detailed examination of differences in tip-sample interaction across a heterogeneous surface.  Adhesive contact mechanics models are applied to interpret individual force-distance measurements collected at different surface locations; this is especially revealing in liquid environments.  Force-volume in dynamic modes (i.e. amplitude or phase versus distance) is extremely powerful to aid the interpretation of height and phase images.


Pulsed Force Microscopy (PFM)

Prerequisite: Environmental AFM

Objective: To learn pulsed force microscopy and basic interpretations of PFM images.

Duration: One 2-hour session

Outcome: Students will be able to obtain stiffness, adhesion and energy-dissipation images with the Molecular Imaging PicoScan/PicoSPM.

Pulsed force microscopy measures force versus distance rapidly (but well below cantilever resonance) over large modulation amplitudes, and generates several high-pixel resolution images derived from key points within each approach-withdrawal cycle.  These images relate to the adhesive contact mechanics and energy dissipation of the tip-sample system.  Lateral resolution is improved compared to force-volume microscopy, but at the expense of interaction detail.  Class includes background information covered with literature


Force Modulation Microscopy (FMM)

Prerequisite: Introductory AFM

Objective: To learn force modulation microscopy and basic interpretations of FMM images.

Duration: One 2-hour session

Outcome: Students will be able to collect amplitude and phase images and quantitative measurements under a modulated force with the Digital Instruments Nanoscope III/Multimode.

Conventional force modulation microscopy performs small-amplitude vertical modulation of tip-sample contact, and monitors the cantilever amplitude and phase lag to examine visco-elastic response.  Class also includes local shear modulation measurements using LabView, wherein the piezoscanner is modulated laterally at low frequency, a close analog to conventional dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA).  Class includes background information covered with literature.


Electrostatic/Magnetic Force Microscopy: EFM/MFM

Prerequisite: Introductory AFM

Objective: To learn electrostatic or magnetic force imaging in a dual-pass imaging scheme.

Duration: One 2-hour session

Outcome: Students will be able to operate the Digital Instruments Nanoscope III/Multimode in lift mode to simultaneously collect images of topography and electrostatic or magnetic interaction.

Long-range forces due to electrostatic or magnetic interaction are imaged in a dual-pass scheme wherein topography is collected under "tapping" mode, followed by long-range interaction in "lift" mode, the latter using phase or frequency-shift imaging.  Images characterize charge or polarization state; a variant of EFM can image local surface potential (work function).  Class includes some interpretation methods covered with literature.


AFM Data Analysis Software

Prerequisite: Introductory AFM

Objective: To introduce advanced processing and analysis of AFM images.

Duration: One 2-hour session

Outcome: Students will be able to perform multiple image-processing steps on their digital images, and obtain the highest quality output.

This class delves more deeply into the data analysis routines of Nanoscope (Digital Instruments).  Also two 3rd-party programs are introduced: SPManalysis (developed by Greg Haugstad, University of Minnesota) for special quantification of images and force volume data, and I.C.Adams (developed by Nancy Burnham, Worcester Polytechnic Institute) for numerical modeling of the distance dependence of tip-sample interaction in quasistatic and dynamic modes.



ION BEAM ANALYSIS


Introductory Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometry (RBS)

Prerequisite: None

Objective: To measure elemental composition and their depth profiles in bulk or thin film targets.

Duration: Two 3-hour sessions

Outcome: Students will be able to control ion beam parameters, acquire RBS spectra and extract elemental composition and depth profiles from the spectra.

RBS is considered as one of the most quantitative techniques for materials characterization.  The first session covers the fundamentals of RBS (Kinematics, Scattering Cross Section, and Stopping Cross Section), the demonstration of HYPRA software for ion beam adjustment, Endstation control, data acquisition, processing and analysis.  Some standard bulk and film targets are used in the demonstration.  The trainee will get hands-on experience to conduct RBS measurement on his/her own specimen including ion beam optimization, data acquisition, processing and analysis.


Introductory Forward Recoil Spectrometry (FReS)

Prerequisite: None

Objective: To measure hydrogen/deuterium composition and their depth profile in bulk or thin film targets.

Duration: Two 3-hour sessions

Outcome: Students will be able to control ion beam parameters, acquire FReS spectra and extract H and/or D composition and their depth profiles from the spectra.

FReS is a complementary technique to RBS in which information of hydrogen isotopes usually can't be obtained.  The first session covers the fundamentals of FReS (Kinematics, Scattering Cross Section, and Stopping Cross Section), the demonstration of HYPRA software for ion beam adjustment, Endstation control, data acquisition, processing and analysis.  Some standard bulk and film H or D-containing targets are used in the demonstration.  The importance of FReS geometry, range foil/absorber selection, and LN2 target cooling are discussed.  The second session is virtually a trainee-operated session.  The trainee will get hands-on experience to conduct FReS measurement on his/her own specimen including ion beam optimization, data acquisition, processing and analysis.


Nuclear Reaction Analysis (NRA)

Prerequisite: Introductory RBS

Objective: To determine small amount of light elements and their depth profiles.

Duration: One 3-hour session

Outcome: Students will be able to choose and perform suitable nuclear reactions for measuring light elements of their interests.

The Nuclear Reaction Analysis class explains when and what nuclear reactions should be used for analysis of light elements in heavier substrate targets.  Both (particle, particle) and (particle, gamma) reactions are explained in elemental identification.  Both non-resonant and resonant reactions are described in elemental depth profiling.  Non-Rutherford elastic resonant scattering or nuclear resonant scattering is also included in the class.  The class comprises a hands-on session covering range foil selection for ion detectors to filter out the strong scattering particles, gamma-ray detector operation, data acquisition and interpretation.  Commonly analyzed light elements include 1H/2D, 6Li/7Li, 11B, 12C/13C, 14N/15N, 16O/18O, and 19F.


Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE)

Prerequisite: Introductory RBS

Objective: To determine trace amount of impurities in bulk or thin film targets.

Duration: One 3-hour session

Outcome: Students will be able to produce proton beam as needed, operate the X-ray detection system to acquire spectra from samples and standard, perform routine analysis of the spectra for elemental identification, and use PIXE software for quantitative analysis.

While major elemental composition in a sample may be obtained through Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometry (RBS) or Energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis, PIXE technique provides superior sensitivity and is often used for minor or trace elements analysis.  In particular, detection limits of PIXE with 5 MeV alpha beam are demonstrated to be less than 50 ppb for Period-4 transition metals (K X-rays) and less than 100 ppb for Period-6 transition metals (L X-rays).  This class covers optimization of beam energy, mass, and other instrument parameters to obtain high quality spectra.  Both a standards-based and a standardless analysis of the spectra will be discussed.  The class also covers GUPIX -the software used for analysis and simulation of the X-ray spectra.


Ion Channeling

Prerequisite: Introductory RBS

Objective: Use ion channeling technique to determine defect/imperfection in single crystals, MBE-grown crystalline films, and film-substrate interfaces.

Duration: One 3-hour session

Outcome: Students will be able to perform polar scan, align the crystal target, conduct random and aligned RBS measurements on the target, and evaluate the crystalline structure of the target.

When aligned within a planar or axial direction in a single crystalline target, the ion backscattering yield can be reduced a hundred-fold.  This "channeling effect" of crystalline lattice structure allows us using RBS to determine: amount and depth distribution of lattice disorder; location of impurity atoms in the lattice sites; and composition and thickness of ultra-thin amorphous surface layers.  This class will cover basic ion channeling theory, align the beam to planar and/or axial channels in a standard or trainee-supplied crystalline target, conduct random and channeled RBS measurements on the target, and evaluate the crystalline structure of the target.



LIGHT MICROSCOPY


Video Enhanced Microscopy

Prerequisite: None

Objective: To introduce you to simple image processing and analysis of images.

Duration: Two 2-hour sessions

Outcome: Students will be able to operate the VEM, and acquire digital images in a variety of imaging modes including bright-field, dark-field, polarized light, DIC and Normarski.

The Characterization Facility contains several optical microscopes.  This class covers a basic introduction to the use and alignment of the microscope, and the basic acquisition of digital images.  Once the basic use of the microscope is mastered, different imaging modes will be covered, on the two research microscopes.  These include transmission and reflection illumination, bright- and dark-field imaging, and the uses of polarized light.  The Metamorph® computer software, which is used for data acquisition, also allows for real-time contrast stretching and background subtraction of the images.  In combination with the low-light level black-and-white camera, this is a powerful setup for fluorescence microscopy.


Phase-Measurement Interference Microscopy

Prerequisite: None

Objective: To understand the use and operation of the Zygo PMIM.

Duration: One 2-hour session

Outcome: Students will be able to operate the Zygo, and obtain images and roughness measurements of their surfaces.

Phase-measurement interference microscopy uses the interference between laser light reflected from a sample surface, and light reflected from a reference surface, to image that sample surface.  Height and roughness information may be obtained over an area of up to ~1mm, with an accuracy of less than ~1Å.  The class covers the limitations on the sample geometry required to obtain useful data, and the operation of the instrument.  Students are encouraged to bring their own samples.


Image Processing

Prerequisite: None

Objective: To introduce you to simple image processing and analysis of EM images.

Duration: One 2-hour session

Outcome: Students will be able to perform multiple image-processing steps on their digital images, and obtain the highest quality output.

This class will use NIH Image (a public domain program developed by Wayne Rasband et al. at NIH and freely available by anonymous ftp at rsb.info.nih.gov/nih-image) and Adobe Photoshop® (a commercial image editing application) with additional plugins from Fovea Pro (by Dr John Russ of NC state) to perform basic image manipulation and image analysis.  The various different printers and archiving options will also be explained.