Equipment and Facilities

Dr. Min Zou directs the Nano Mechanics and Tribology Laboratory (NMTL) at the University of Arkansas (UA). NMTL is equipped with a range of fabrication, surface topography, wetting, mechanical, tribological, and optical property characterization tools that can be used for the proposed research. Dr. Zou’s group also has fee-based access to major fabrication/processing and characterization facilities at the UA, such as the High Density Electronics Center (HiDEC) and the Arkansas Bio-Nano Materials Characterization Facility. Below is a list of relevant equipment in each of the facilities.

Major Equipment at the NMTL:

The TriboIndenter from Hysitron is an ultra-low load (100 nN – 10 mN), high sensitivity and repeatability system with numerous functions, including in-situ scanning probe microscopy (SPM), static and dynamic nanoindentation, modulus mapping, scratch, scanning and linear wear, feedback control, and temperature control. In addition to the low load capabilities, the TriboIndenter is also equipped with a high load module of up to 2.5 N.

Atomic force microscope (AFM)
The Dimension Icon® AFM from Bruker is a state-of-the-art high performance AFM system with low drift and low noise. The system include all major SPM imaging techniques including ScanAsyst, TappingMode (air), Contact Mode, Lateral Force Microscopy, PhaseImaging, Lift Mode, MFM, Force Spectroscopy, Force Volume, EFM, Surface Potential, Torsional Resonance Mode, Piezoresponse Microscopy, and Force Spectroscopy without additional hardware. It has the PeakForce QNM software and can perform imaging techniques on samples up to 210 mm in diameter / 15 mm thick. Stage repeatability (X-Y-axis): unidirectional 2-micron typical; bidirectional less than or equal to 3-micron; video optics 180-micron to 1465-micron aspect ratio of 1.3:1 and includes integrated vacuum pump for sample chuck.

Universal Material Tester (UMT-2)
The UMT-2 Nano+Micro Tribometer from Bruker is a versatile nano- and microtribometer. The system is fully-computerized and can perform pin-on-disk, linear reciprocating, as well as spiral testing. The system has acoustic emission sensor and contact resistance sensor in addition to sensors for measuring frictional force and normal load and lateral and normal displacements. The system can also be used to perform scratch testing to measure coating adhesion to substrate and scratch resistance.

Dektak 150 Surface Profiler
The Dektak 150 from Veeco is a surface profilometer or stylus profilometer that takes surface roughness, topography and step heights measurements using contact profilometry techniques.

The Triboster is an automatic friction abrasion analyzer manufactured by Kyowa Interface Science Co., Ltd., Japan.  It can be used for micro/macroscale friction and wear test.

OCA 15 plus video-based Optical Contact Angle Gonimoeter
This equipment can be used to measure the wetting properties of the nano-engineered-surfaces, including static and dynamic water contact angle, surface energy, and sliding angle.

Lindberg/Blue M 1100°C Box Furnace (Model BF51894C and Model BF51866C)
Both furnaces have microprocessor-based programmable control and can meet the most demanding laboratory applications. The furnaces have variable density insulation, double shell cabinets, and long-life heating element composites to minimize outer surface temperatures while maintaining uniform heat distribution within the chamber. The furnaces can be used for various annealing studies.

Dip Coater
The KSV DC is a computer controlled and user programmable Dip Coater for automated and unsupervised deposition of self-assembled monolayers, layer-by-layer assemblies, sol-gel coatings, etc.

Fume Hood for Wet Chemistry
The Nano Mechanics and Tribology Laboratory has a fume hood which allows wet chemistry processing in the lab.

Optical Microscope
The Nano Mechanics and Tribology Laboratory has a Metallurgical Microscope with EPI and Transmitted Lights. The magnifications of the microscope range from 40x to 1600x, and it is fitted with a still 9.1M camera.

Optical Transmittance and Reflectance Measurement Tool
Filmetrics aRTie can be used to simultaneously measure optical transmittance and reflectance. It can also be used to measure film thickness and refractive index.

The Nano Mechanics and Tribology Laboratory has a dozen of computers that can be used for computational work.

Major Equipment at High Density Electronics Center (User Facility):
High Density Electronics Center (HiDEC) is a clean room user facility at the University of Arkansas. The facility is equipped with a complete line of microfabrication equipment for R&D in both bulk and surface micromachining.  More information about HiDEC facility can be found at:  The following is a list of selected major equipment in HiDEC.

E-Beam Lithography and Associated Processing Tools

  • The JEOL JBX 5500F E-beam lithography (EBL) system


  • Edwards Auto 306D, 306T, 306C evaporators
  • PlasmaTherm System VII, PECVD amorphous Si, SiO2 deposition system
  • Varian XM-8 Sputtering System
  • CPA aluminum sputtering system
  • PlasmaTherm RIE system
  • STS DRIE system
  • LFE APE 110 barrel etcher
  • Nanometrics Nanospec CTS-102, microarea gauge (film thickness)
  • Sun SPARC workstations
  • Ansoft Maxwell modeling software


  • Sun SPARC workstations
  • Ansoft Maxwell modeling software


  • MTI spin coaters
  • Semitool ST270D spin rinse dryer
  • Karl Suss MA150 mask aligner
  • Dektak 3030 profilometer


  • Rapid Thermal Annealing equipment
  • Fisher Scientific Isotemp Muffle Furnaces 750 series

Major Equipment at Arkansas Bio-Nano Materials Characterization Facility (User Facility):

Arkansas Bio-Nano Materials Characterization Facility is a user facility equipped with a comprehensive suite of analytical equipment. More information about the facility can be found at: .  The following is a list of major equipment in the facility.

  • FEI Nova Nanolab 200 Dual-Beam FIB/SEM with Pt GIS deposition and Bruker EDX. This instrument is capable of nanoscale lithography with e-beam visibility.
  • Philips XL30 ESEM-FEG (Field-Emission Gun) with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) capability and JC Nabity Lithography System for nanometer pattern generation
  • FEI Titan 80-300 TEM fitted with a CEOS image Cs-corrector, an EDAX energy dispersive spectrometer and a post-column Gatan Image Filter.
  • FEI TF-20 Cryo-TEM equipped with FEG equipped with a Gatan Quantum image filter.
  • Digital Instruments Dimension 3000 AFM/SPM
  • Philips X’Pert x-ray diffractometer (XRD)
  • Physical Electronics PHI 5000 VersaProbe x-ray photoelectron spectrometer (XPS)
  • Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)
  • Keithley 4200-SCS Semiconductor Characterization System
  • Nikon and Olympus microscopes
  • Hitachi S-2300-I SEM with Kevex Mark III X-ray microanalysis (EDX)
  • Tencor FLX-2320A thin film stress measurement system
  • Hughes ellipsometer
  • Raman Spectroscopy – An argon ion laser excitation source coupled with a SPEX Triplemate spectrometer permits high resolution Raman spectroscopy measurements to be performed. Both macro- and micro-Raman capabilities are available.
  • Ellipsometry – A Gaertner ellipsometer enables the measurement of quantities from which material properties such as film thickness and index of refraction may be calculated