University facilities at Rensselaer and UIUC that are managed outside of the NSEC, but which are accessible to NSEC researchers, play a vital role in NSEC research. These central facilities increase the breadth of NSEC simulation and design, synthesis and directed assembly, and characterization abilities.
Rensselaer networking infrastructure has enabled swift parallel computing for simulation and design efforts. Recently, the Princeton Review rated Rensselaer the most connected campus in America. A widespread, scalable, swift network has been absolutely critical to productivity and played a significant role in the Molecularium® productions of "Riding Snowflakes" and "Molecules to the MAX". RPI also has a full range of microelectronics-related processing and characterization equipment available for use in the Rensselaer Microfabrication Clean Room (MCR), a 5870 ft 2 Class 100 facility. In the MCR we also have full access to: a recently installed dip-pen lithography tool (Nanoink DPN Writer); e-beam lithography (Carl Zeiss SMT Supra 55 SEM with e-beam writing attachment); atomic force microscope for topographic, electrical, magnetic and thermal characterization at the nanoscale (Digital Instruments/Veeco Dimension 3100); and a dual-beam FIB setup (Carl Zeiss Ultra 1540 Cross-beam Focused Ion Beam/Electron Beam Nanofabrication and Analysis Tool).
Many new facilities have become available to NSEC researchers in Rensselaer's recently opened Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies. Also available for NSEC use at Rensselaer are: a variety of optical and electron microscopes, equipped with material characterization capabilities including a CM 12 Philips TEM with EDX attachment, a JEOL 2011 HR-TEM, and a JEOL 6330 FESEM with EDX and Z-contrast capability; a triple-axis X-ray diffractometer; and a Renishaw micro-Raman Microscope with an argon ion laser (514.5 nm) operating at 24 mW power and 50x objective.
UIUC has an extended suite of shared equipment both at the Materials Research Laboratory (MRL) and the Beckman Institute (BI) that is extensively used by the NSEC team. At the MRL, the NSEC team uses the small- and wide-angle X-ray facilities, multiple TEMs and SEMs, XPS and SIMS. At the Beckman Institute, the NSEC team uses the environmental SEM, the laser scanning confocal microscope, AFM, and TEM facilities.