Discovery Platforms™ - The thrusts develop a variety of new instrumentation to advance the science in their areas. One effort unique to CINT is the Discovery Platform™. These platforms are modular micro-laboratories designed and batch fabricated by CINT to allow easy integration of nanomaterials into microscale structures. Their purpose is to facilitate studies of nanomaterial properties and their integration. They should allow easy connections, a range of diagnostic and experimental measurement conditions, and a degree of standardization and reproducibility in nanoscale measurements. The inception, creation and evolution of Discovery Platforms have evolved in close collaboration with our user community. The present suite of Discovery Platforms:
Nanomechanics and Thermal Transport Discovery Platform:
The goal of the CINT Nanomechanics and Thermal Transport Discovery Platform is to enable researchers to perform experiments related to nanomechanics, sensing, scanning probe microscopy, in-situ TEM, and magnetization measurements, all using structures on a single, small chip-based platform. A new version of this Platform also includes structures for measurements of the electrical properties, thermal properties, electromechanical behavior, and microcalorimetry of nanoscale samples.
Contact: Tom Harris
TEM Liquid Cell Discovery Platform:
The TEM Liquid Cell Discovery Platform uses two microfabricated chips, each having a thin silicon nitride window (~ 40 nm thick), that permits transmission of high energy electrons with little attenuation. The two chips are mated face-to-face to create a narrow a cavity, approximated 100 nm thick. Liquids are inserted in this cavity through two fill holes, which are subsequently capped with epoxy to create a sealed liquid-filled chamber. Metal electrodes are also provided into the viewing region of the platform in order to permit the observation of electrochemical processes while imaging in the TEM. The platform has been tested with the assembly of LiFePO4 Li-ion battery cathode nanoparticles, using dielectrophoresis, and with filling and imaging through an ethylene carbonate based Li-ion battery electrolyte. Future work with this platform will focus on imaging the formation and evolution of the solid-electrolyteinterphase layer on Li-ion battery electrodes.
Contact: Tom Harris
Microfluidic Synthesis Discovery Platform
The microfluidic platform will permit rapid phase mapping of nanoparticle synthesis. The chip is positioned on a custom- made Al base plate that allows for precision temperature control between sub-ambient to 350°C. Real time reaction monitoring will be achieved through microscopy (visible and fluorescence) and UV-Vis spectroscopy. The chip is designed to include maximum flexibility for adjustment of reaction parameters, including temperature, time, control over reactant stoichiometry with real-time analysis of the particle properties and an automated fraction collector.
Contact: Dale Huber