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CAS Research Instrumentation Program

2018 Purchases

The College of Arts & Sciences launched a new  Research Instrumentation program in 2016.  The program required combined CAS department contributions to purchase the following research instrumentation:

The Department of Chemistry

The Lab Strong FI-STREEM System:
Instrumentation for Preparation of Ultra-High Purity Reagent Water for Analytical, Biochemical, Environmental and Materials Chemistry Research

FI-STREEM SystemHigh purity reagent water is often taken for granted but its importance cannot be underestimated in the research efforts of the experimentalists in the Department of Chemistry as well as our colleagues in the molecular cell sciences. Currently, the Department of Chemistry provides reagent water largely at our own expense for many researchers in these previously mentioned disciplines. While the quality of the reagent water we prepare has been acceptable, it could certainly be improved. The Lab Strong FI-STREEM system is set up and operating in Rm 27 of Smith Chemistry Building. It greatly improves of reagent water quality from ~18.2 MΩ water to at least 18.6 MΩ. This may not seem like much of an increase, but it important to explore what these numbers actually mean.

Resistivity (the value expressed in units of MΩ) is the inverse of the conductance – the ability of a water to conduct current. Water that is 18.2 MΩ is typically considered "pure water", but what this means is that this water is relatively pure of ions and thus does not efficiently conduct current. However, this measure of 18.2 MΩ does not take into account the "total organic content" of the water in terms of "purity". The fact is that that there are many DNAse and RNase compounds left over from bacteria can potentially complicate bioanalysis. Additionally, in studies of disinfection chemistry, the same compounds can contribute to oxidant demand and skew results. The Lab Strong FI-STREEM system takes "pure" 18.2 MΩ reagent water that we produce already and subjects it to a double distillation process that essentially make our reagent water free from such complicating chemical compounds.

The LabStrong Corp FI-STREEM Bi Distillation system is an extremely high quality automated distillation system capable of distilling 8 liters per hour. This particular system provides for 24-hour automatic control meaning that the still is activated only as needed to maintain a full water storage reservoir. This saves wear and tear on components as well as energy of operation. The system is easily shut down for extended time periods without having to replace costly consumables. Finally, the fully automated controls in FI-STREEM III stills simplify operation while assuring high reliability and the highest quality water. In our case, the "house" water we produce in the penthouse of Smith Chemistry Building will still be used in connection with our current RO systems, but then the water we currently use as reagent water will then be subjected to "double distillation" in the Lab Strong FI-STREEM system.

The LabStrong 40 Liter Storage Tank is not just a water storage tank, it is a key component for fully automatic operation when interfaced to the above FI-STREEM double distiller unit. The tank is formed from high density polyethylene in a space saving, wall mounted design. The tank is constructed with window for observation of the water levels and also with a vent filter that prevents airborne contamination. A spigot is attached for easy dispensing of water. A distribution accessory kit included in the estimate is used to connect the 40 liter tank to a secondary output other than from the spigot at the front of the tank. The distribution accessory kit allows for distribution of distilled product water to point of use deionization (DI) system or any system requiring distilled water as a feed source, while leaving the spigot at the front of the tank free to manually draw water from at any time.

Usage Policy

The LabStrong 50 Liter Carboy allows for fully automatic operation when connected to FI-STREEM double distillation systems. The carboy is formed from low density polyethylene. The portable design is ideal for transporting distillated water to different lab sites. In our case, we are making ultra-high purity reagent water easily accessible to all departmental researchers in Chemistry meaning that at least one carboy will be continuously available on three different floors, with one in reserve near the main unit so that one full carboy is always available for quick changeouts. Other departments will be asked to purchase their own carboys to participate in the program. Included with the reservoir is a spigot for easy dispensing of water. The specialized cap is modified to accept the FI-STREEM Float Switch to prevent overflows. Researchers from other departments simply need to bring an appropriate container (carboy) to Smith Chemistry Building RM 27 during normal office hours or by appointment to collect appropriate volumes of the high purity reagent water. The contact person is Joseph Burns (jburns7@memphis.edu ). Please contact him by email to arrange a fill time.

 

Department of Physics

Bright/Dark field Nikon microscope system for optical measurements of single nanostructures 
Instrument Capabilities and Usage Policy
Location: Room MN 107, Department of Physics and Materials Science

Bright/Dark field microscope system (LV 150 N) was acquired from Nikon Inc. this past Spring semester, 2018. The microscope came with a set of Bright/Dark field objective lenses, including 5X, 10X, 20X, 50X (extra-long working distance), 100X magnifications and a sensitive Photometrics Dyno CCD camera. These objective lenses, when integrated with other optics components in the Nanophotonics Lab, allow one to look at single nanostructures such as single molecules, quantum dots, nanowires or plasmonic nanoparticles from visible to near IR frequency. Besides the white light illumination, the microscope system is also customized with an optical path which enable a tunable laser to optically excite the fluorescence of nanomaterials. Optical signal from the microscope is guided and collected by the camera or by a spectrometer for frequency analysis and time-resolved measurements. 

Figure 1. Picture of the newly installed microscope, which has been integrated with other optical components in the Nanophotonics Lab (MN 107). Figure 1 shows a picture of the microscope installed in the lab along with other optics which allows external optical excitation and detection. In short, besides having most functions of a regular microscope (viewing and imaging structures at small scales), this Bright/Dark field microscope  system when integrated with other spectroscopic components in the Nanophotonics Lab can provide:

  • Single nanostructure imaging
  • Single nanostructure fluorescence imaging
  • Single nanostructure spectroscopy
  • Raman spectroscopy of nanostructures
  • Time-resolved fluorescence
  • Fluorescence of upconversion nanocrystals
  • Antibunching measurements
  • Coincidence correlation measurements
  • Single molecule spectroscopy

(Figure 1 to the right: Picture of the newly installed microscope, which has been integrated with other optical components in the Nanophotonics Lab (MN 107).)


Figure 2. Example of preliminary data taken with the new microscope setup. (a) Image of individual gold nanoparticles under white light illumination. The nanoparticles are approximately ~ 50 nm. (b) Fluorescence image CdSe quantum dots, under 400 nm laser excitation and (c) Emission spectrum of the quantum dots shown in (b).This microscope system offers a powerful capability to the optical study of the broad areas of physics, materials science, chemistry, and biology. Specifically, this system offers possibilities to study the spectral, spatial and temporal dynamics, photon statistic and ultrafast optical, electronic processes that occur in novel nanomaterials (including nanocrystals, semiconductor nanowires and rods, 2-dimensional dichalcogenides), organic materials (such as organic dyes or photochromic molecules) and ultrafast optical processes in nanophotonic and plasmonic nanostructures. 

An example of preliminary data taken with this newly installed microscope setup is shown in Figure 2. Figure 2a shows a dark field scattering image of gold nanoparticles. These individual nanoparticles have sizes around 50-70 nm and they become very bright under white light illumination as a result of localized surface plasmon resonances. Figure 2b shows a fluorescence image of CdSe quantum dots when excite with a laser, each individual quantum dot shows up as a bright spot. Figure 2c shows corresponding emission spectrum of the quantum dots displayed in Figure 2b. By using a spatial filter (not be shown here), the microscope system can also measure the spectrum of individual quantum dots.

(Figure 2 to the right. Example of preliminary data taken with the new microscope setup. (a) Image of individual gold nanoparticles under white light illumination. The nanoparticles are approximately ~ 50 nm. (b) Fluorescence image CdSe quantum dots, under 400 nm laser excitation and (c) Emission spectrum of the quantum dots shown in (b).)

Usage Policy

For user access from outside of the Department Physics and Materials Science, no special arrangement is needed. Users will first need to contact appropriate personnel (Presently, Dr. Hoang, email tbhoang@memphis.edu responsible for maintaining of the system) for available time. The system can be used together with other spectroscopic equipment in the Nanophotonics Laboratory, including an ultrafast laser, high spectral, temporal and spatial resolution spectroscopic setups and other polarization optics. Tothis end, the users are required to have some basic training regarding the laser safety and operations, and uses of spectroscopic equipment.

A fee structure is established for use of above facilities for both internal and external users. The fee structure is determined with reference to Integrated Microscopic Center (IMC) on campus as shown below. For those faculty who contributed their own research funds to the purchase of facilities in the Nanophotonic Lab, their contributed funds will be considered as prepaid user fees for future service. The recovered cost will go towards regular maintenance, contract service, and consumable items.

All rates hourly. Fees are charged in whole hour increments with the minimum charge of 1 hour.

Instrument Internal User Rates External User, Non-Profit Organization Rates External User, For Profit Organization Rates
Nanophotonics Lab $50 $80 $100
Technical Assistance $50 $80 $120

Surface Area Analyzer

Instrument Capabilities and Usage Policy
Person-in-charge: Prof. Sanjay Mishra, srmishra@memphis.edu 
Location: Room MN 117B, Department of Physics and Materials Science 

A state-of-the-art surface area analyzer, NOVAtouch LX-2 for Quantachrome Instruments (F L, USA), has been acquired through CAS Research Instrumentation Initiative in March 2018. The system has been successfully installed and tested for its capabilities for measuring surface area, pore size, and pore size distribution of nanopowders. The system has four controlled baking station for removing moisture from samples and two measuring stations for performing controlled adsorption-desorption experiments simultaneously. The system is fully automated and requires minimum user input. All measurements are performed at liquid nitrogen temperature at 77K.

Surface area and porosity are physical properties that impact the quality and character of solid phase materials. Materials with identical physical dimensions may exhibit entirely different performance profiles based on variations in the physical surface area of the two materials.

Surface area measurement if an important analysis used in many research laboratories and industries, including catalysts, zeolites, batteries, absorbents, artificial bone, pharmaceuticals, metal powders for additive manufacturing along with a wide variety of other applications and industries.

The surface area is measured using BET analysis (Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) theory), which provides precise specific surface area evaluation of materials by nitrogen adsorption measured as a function of relative pressure. The surface area is determined by calculating the amount of adsorbate gas corresponding to a monomolecular layer on the surface of the material.

The technique encompasses external area and pore area evaluations to determine the total specific surface area. BET is used to determine a range of disperse, solid microporous to mesoporous materials. In addition, BJH analysis can also be utilized to define pore area and specific pore volumes through adsorption and desorption techniques. Using BJH analysis one can conclude pore size distribution independent of the external area due to a particle size of the sample. Both information, surface area, and pore size analysis of the sample is highly sought information in the field of nanomaterials having varied nanoarchitecture, pores, and surfaces. 

In addition, several other methods are available to measure surface area and to perform pore size analysis in the software. Figure 1 shows absorption-desorption isotherms of cobaltites measured using surface area analyzer. The inset shows pore size distribution as calculated using BJH analysis.

Figure 1a: NOVAtouch LX-2 set-up in MN 117B. Figure 1(b): Absorption-desorption curves of cobaltite. The inset shows pore size distribution as measured using BJH analysis.

Figure 1a: NOVAtouch LX-2 set-up in MN 117B.

Figure 1a: NOVAtouch LX-2 set-up in MN 117B.

Figure 1(b): Absorption-desorption curves of cobaltite. The inset shows pore size distribution as measured using BJH analysis.

Figure 1(b): Absorption-desorption
curves of cobaltite. The inset shows pore
size distribution as measured using BJH
analysis.

User Policy

The surface area analyzer is available for campus and public use. In order to schedule use of the instrument, the user needs to directly contact Dr. Mishra at srmishra@memphis.edu. The system will be available on the first come first serve basis. Prior to using instrument Dr. Mishra will provide initial training to the user. Due to the turn-key nature of the instrument, minimum training for the user is required. A proper user logbook will be maintained for the instrument usage. Data will be secured and will be transferred out of the computer on a secured disk as a part of the yearly maintenance of the equipment.

A fee structure is established for use of above facilities for both internal and external users. The fee structure is determined in tandem with the Integrated Microscopic Center (IMC) on campus as shown below. For those faculties who contribute their own research funds using Dr. Mishra's Nanomaterials Research Facility, will be considered as a prepaid user for the future service. The
recovered cost will go towards regular maintenance, contract service, and consumable items. 

All rates hourly. Fees are charged in whole hour increments with the minimum charge of 1 hour.

Instrument Internal User Rates External User, Non-Profit Organization Rates External User, For Profit Organization Rates
Nanomaterials Lab $50 $80 $100
Technical Assistance $50 $80 $120

2017 Purchases

CERI:  14TB ZFS supermicro file server

This file server is used as a common resource for CERI Mac, Linux, and SunOS computers for data storage. An extensive amount of research performed by students in the Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI), the department where the equipment is housed, is data intensive and the department was at 75% of storage capacity. The server is supplying additional data needs for graduate students and faculty on CERI IT systems. Read additional Information on the File Server and CERI's Computing Policy

Chemistry:  NanoSight LM10 Nanoparticle Analysis System and gold target to be used with AJA Orion 5 Sputter System

AJA Au Target

Major features and specifications
The Au target was purchased from AJA International in March 2017. It is 2" dia x 0.25'' thick. It is now used with the AJA Orion 5 Sputter System in Imaging Microscopy Center (IMC) to make Au film on substrates such as glass slides and silicon wafer via high vacuum deposition. Coating Au on substrates is widely used by many users in chemistry, physics, and biomedical engineering to develop miniaturized devices for chemical and biomedical applications.

The management team
Omar Skalli (faculty): e-mail: imc@memphis.edu, Phone: (901) 678-1730 or
Felio Perez: e-mail: imc@memphis.edu Phone: (901) 678-4441

Example of research use
The Huang group in Chemistry is a heavy user of the Au target. Using the Au slides made with the Au target, her group is developing miniaturized devices to detect and analyze exosomes and other types of extracellular vesicles for fundamental cancer research and development of a new generation cancer liquid biopsy. Using the Au slides made by IMC with the Au target, her group has generated one manuscript under revision (Theoranostics. Impact factor: 8.8) and one invention disclosure (in the process). It also helped her generate substantial amount of preliminary data that enable us to resubmit a NIH R21 proposal. Read the full documentation on the equipment.

Computer Sciences:  Powerwolf cluster to enable cybersecurity research not suitable on the university HPC system, and use of virtual machines to support multiple operating systems

Unique Capabilities (not available on university's cluster)

  • Availability of Virtual Machines to support OSs other than CentOS
  • Capability for users to donate nodes for guaranteed usage
  • Installing and using other software that might not be allowed to install on the University's cluster
  • Sudo permissions for software with approval from cluster admin

Hardware Summary

The computer science cluster is provided by PSSC labs and is called the Powerwolf cluster. It is housed at the McWherter Library Computer room (309). It consists of one master node and 8 compute nodes. The cluster has a lot of room to expand in the future and users are encouraged to contribute nodes. Contributed nodes would have guaranteed availability to the contributors. The specification of a qualified contributed node is determined by the department with a typical cost between $3000 and $4000.
Total CPU cores: 180 (160 for compute nodes); total memory: 640GB (512 GB for compute nodes); total disk space: 33.9TB. 

Earth Sciences:  PhaseOne IQ40 Digital Back for digital integration of Hasselblad V system camera and lenses

The PhaseOne IQ140 digital back is used with a medium format camera (Hasselblad V system) to take high resolution images. The digital back's 50MP (8272 x 6200 pixels) CMOS (complementary-metal-oxide-semiconductor) sensor is twice the size of a full frame 35mm digital single lens reflex sensor, which means the information capture is twice that of a conventional 35mm sensor. The digital back captures 65MB on average in RAW format. The camera system, including various lenses (50mm, 80mm, and 120mm) and the digital back, will be used to photograph archaeological, geographical, and geological landscapes and sites, as well as artifacts, cores, and various specimens. Additional information can be found at this link.

Physics:  Time-resolved single photon counting and low temperature photoluminescence systems

The TCSPC system includes two very sensitive detectors (PDM photodiodes with 30 ps time resolution, single photon sensitivity), a reference photodiode (TDA 200), and an electronic timing box (Picoharp 300, 4 ps time resolution).This TCSP system offers a powerful capability to the optical study of the broad areas of physics, materials science, chemistry, and biology. Read additional information about this instrument.