Research equipment and facilities

On this page you'll find the research equipment of the professorships and the individual working groups.


The devices of the Professorship for Functional Nanostructures are supervised by members of the working groups Bigall, Dorfs and Lauth and are used within the department across groups. On request, we also investigate samples from other research groups.

Scientific Devices of the Bigall Group

  • Optical Spectroscopy

    Edinburgh FLS 1000 UV-Vis-NIR Photoluminescence Spectrometer

    With the FLS1000 from Edinburgh Instruments, the Department of Functional Nanostructures has a state-of-the-art photoluminescence spectrometer for measuring emission and excitation spectra with high resolution and a measuring range of 200–1600 nm at hand. Time-resolved measurements using pulsed lasers for excitation are also possible in the subnanosecond range. Various sample holders are available for the measurement of solutions, solids and coatings, as well as an integrating sphere for the measurement of quantum yields and reflectivities.

    Oxford Instruments OptistatCF Cryostat

    The optical cryostat OptistatCF of Oxford Instruments can be combined with both high-end spectrometers (FLS1000 and CARY 5000) of the Department of Functional Nanostructures, so that spectroscopic investigations in the range of 200–2500 nm at different temperatures are possible. The measuring range is from 500 to 3.4 K (in operation with liquid helium) and 77 K (in operation with liquid nitrogen).

    Horiba Dual-FL UV-Vis photoluminescence spectrometer with integrating sphere Quanta Phi

    The DUAL-FL from Horiba is a combination of a Bench-Top-Spectrofluorometer and a UV/Vis Spectrophotometer. Emission, extinction and excitation spectra can be detected in the range of 200–1000 nm. By installation of the integrating sphere "Quanta-Phi" an absolute determination of quantum yields of fluorescent systems is possible. Furthermore, this instrument is connected to one of our gloveboxes, which makes it possible to also measure water- and air-sensitive samples under inert gas atmosphere.

    JASCO-V750 Spectrophotometer

    The JASCO V-750 is a high resolution double beam spectrophotometer with a single monochromator and a photomultiplier (PMT) as detector. The instrument is equipped with both a halogen and a deuterium lamp and the measurement range is from 190 to 900 nm. In addition, the instrument can be expanded with the JASCO PAC-743 temperature-controlled autosampler from AG Weinhart, allowing up to six samples to be measured automatically in an adjustable temperature range from 0 to 100 °C.

    Transient Absorption

    With the help of this spectrometer setup, slow optically excited charge carrier states can be investigated over time. The temporal resolution is in the microsecond range. A neodymium YAG laser is used for excitation, which can excite the wavelengths 1064, 532, 355, 266 nm and the range from 420 to 950 nm by means of different modules. The probe pulse is generated by a xenon lamp. Due to an exchangeable central module in the sample chamber, it is possible to measure not only flat samples in reflection but also in cuvettes in transmisson. In this case, temperature control by means of a thermostat is possible.

  • (Photo) Electrochemistry

    Spectroelectrochemical and Electrochemical Setup

    Three potentiostats (Solartron ModuLab XM ECS, Princeton Applied Research PARSTAT 3000A-DX bipotentiostat, Zahner Zennium), different light sources (xenon lamp with monochromator and chopper, different LEDs), a function generator (to control the LEDs), and a 7270 DSP lock-in amplifier from Signal Recovery are available for the photoelectrochemical characterization of nanoparticles and nanoparticle assemblies. The combination of Lock-In Amplifier and Potentiostat allows the detection of very low (photo-)currents in the pA range, e.g. the charge carrier dynamics in single particles and assemblies. In addition, both potentiostats are impedance-capable (frequencies up to 7 MHz).

    A Metrohm Autolab PGSTAT204 and a rotating disk electrode (RRDE-3A from ALS) are also available for measuring catalytic properties.

  • Microscopy

    Zeiss Laser Microscope Setup

    The laser microscope consists of an upright Zeiss Axio Imager.A2m with objectives between 2.5x and 50x magnification. A Gryphax Prokyon microscope camera from Jenoptik is used to capture the images. This allows color images with up to 5760 x 3600 pixels to be captured. Furthermore, panoramic images, focus stacks, videos, time-lapse or slow-motion videos can be recorded.

    For the examination of visibly emitting samples, a 470 nm LED with adjustable intensity is available as top light. If required, a Rapp OptoElectronic DL-Series laser source (wavelength 405 nm) can be connected. Together with the UGA-42 Firefly control module, fast, dynamic illumination of points or user-defined areas in the microscope's field of view can be realized. Individual points are thereby in the submicrometer range.

  • Thermogravimetric analysis

    Mettler Toledo TGA/DSC 3+

    The Department of Functional Nanostructures owns a TGA/DSC 3+ from Mettler Toledo for thermogravimetric analysis. This allows mass changes between room temperature and 1100 °C to be measured both under nitrogen and air flow, e.g. for the determination of organic sample proportions. Thanks to SDTA technology, it is also possible to measure the heat flow.


  • Argon-Physisorption

    Quantachrome Nova 3200e

    © Sven Getschmann

    The Quantachrome Nova 3200e is used for the determination of specific surfaces and pore sizes/volumes of nanoparticle assemblies and other porous materials. Sample preparation of up to four samples simultaneously can be performed under vacuum or in a gas stream at temperatures of up to 350 °C. The sample preparation can be performed under vacuum or in a nitrogen stream. During the subsequent measurement (up to three samples simultaneously), micro- and mesopores from a diameter of about 0.5 nm can be detected. Argon is used as a standard adsorptive gas, but other gases (N2, CO2, etc.) can also be used.

  • Zetasizer

    Malvern Panalytical Zetasizer Nano ZSP

    The Zetasizer Nano ZSP from Malvern Panalytical allows the analysis of particle behavior in solution. With this device, both particle sizes and the zeta potential of the particles can be determined via dynamic light scattering. The instrument is equipped with a 633 nm laser. Automated pH-dependent measurements are also possible with the available autotitrator (Malvern MPT-2).

    Partikel Analytik Field ESA/Zetasizer

    This ESA/Zeta potential measuring instrument enables the measurement of highly concentrated (up to 74 vol%), turbid or viscous dispersions. The instrument has an electro-acoustic amplifier as well as a temperature, conductivity and pH probe (measuring range: 2–14). The integrated titration module (two-way piston pumps with 1.0 µL resolution) enables potentio & volumetric determination of the effect of additives on suspensions as well as automatic determination of the isoelectric point. For more accurate determination of the particle size guide value (1 to 50 µm), the measurement is performed at three different frequencies.

  • Synthesis

    MBraun Inertgas-Glovebox-Systems

    There are two single and two double glove boxes available from MBraun (models Labstar, 2x UNIlab Plus and MB-200B). All glove boxes are equipped with solvent filters (activated carbon or molecular sieve), three of them are also equipped with a freezer. The glove boxes are primarily used for the storage and safe handling of air- and moisture-sensitive as well as toxic chemicals. In addition, extinction and emission spectra of solutions can be measured with the Dual-FL via fiber optics. It is also possible to perform photoelectrochemical measurements under inert conditions.

    Quorum E3100 Critical Point Dryer

    The Quorum E3100 Critical Point Dryer is a versatile device for gentle drying of macroscopic structures and enables the production of aerogels with extremely large specific surfaces. First the alcohol in the samples is displaced by liquid CO2, which then passes into the supercritical phase by increasing the temperature (1100 psi & 31.5 °C). After the CO2 has been released, the dry sample is obtained. The instrument itself has a robust design with a horizontal cylindrical chamber (63.5 x 82 mm) and various sample holder sizes. The CO2 content is visible through the window during the drying process and the decisive parameters (pressure and temperature) can be monitored on site. The instrument is connected to a temperature-controlled water bath with exact heating and cooling capability.

    Christ Alpha 1-2 LDplus Freeze Dryer

    The freeze dryer is used for lyophilization of aqueous, frozen samples. This device has 3 unheated platforms as well as additional connections for 8 round-bottom flasks, wide-neck filter cap bottles or distributor pieces for ampoules. At a condenser temperature of -58 °C and a maximum negative pressure of 0.036 mbar, up to 2.5 kg of water can be frozen per drying process. This device is essential for the production of nanoparticle-based cryoaerogels.

    FRITSCH PULVERISETTE 7 premium line Planetary Micro Mill

    With the FRITSCH PULVERISETTE 7 premium line Planetary Micro Mill, samples up to a final size of 100 nm can be produced in a maximum volume of 80 mL. Grinding can be performed dry, in suspension or under inert gas in two vessels simultaneously. In addition to grinding, applications such as homogenization of emulsions or suspensions are also possible.

    Gel electrophoresis

    The electrophoresis device Sub-Cell GT is submerged horizontal cell with a gel caster and an electrophoresis power supply Consort EV265 (600 V, 500 mA, 150 W), all from Bio-Rad laboratories, as well as an additional smaller cell from Roth. It allows the separation of molecules such as proteins or nucleic acids by their size, structure, and electrical charge. Different gel trays sizes and sample combs are available, being possible to measure up to 20 samples over a distance of 25 cm.


  • Photocatalysis

    Sun simulator SunTEST CPS+

    An Atlas Suntest CPS+ is available for further experiments under simulated sunlight. It can vary the light intensity between 1 and 100 mW/cm2 and control the temperature between 30 °C and 100 °C.


    Agilent 8860 Gas Chromatograph

    Agilent's gas chromatography (GC 8860) is used to separate and analyze volatile mixtures and gases into individual chemical compounds. The instrument has two inlet valves, each driving two separate separation columns and two different detectors (Flame Ionization Detector (FID) or Thermal Conductivity Detector (TCD)).


    Hiden HPR20 Quadrupole mass spectrometer

    A mass spectrometer (HPR-20 from Hiden Analytical) is used to detect and quantify various gases. Masses up to 200 amu can be measured using a dual Faraday detector or a secondary electron multiplier detector. Gases can be measured both as a continuous stream or as a gas injection.


  • Atomic Absorption Spectrometry

    Varian AA140 Atomic Absorption Spectrometer

    With the acetylene-air flame used, the flame absorption spectrometer (Varian AA140) allows the quantitative analysis of metals and semimetals in aqueous solution by measuring element-specific absorption bands. With the aid of calibration series prepared in each case, the concentration of individual analytes can be determined in the range of linear correlation. The following elements can be analyzed: Ag, Au, Cd, Cu, Fe, In, Mn, Ni, Pb, Pd, Pt, Se, Si, Sn, Te, Ti and Zn.


  • SQUID-Magnetometer

    Quantum Design MPMS3 SQUID-Magnetometer

    The MPMS3 SQUID magnetometer (SQUID: Superconducting Quantum Interference Device) from Quantum Design is used to determine the smallest magnetic flux changes. The MPMS3 has two different measurement modes (DC scan mode and the VSM mode) operating in a temperature range of 1.8400 K and a magnetic field range of -7–7 T. The DC scan mode allows continuous recording and acquisition of raw data points at various fields and temperatures. VSM mode combines the DC SQUID sensor with a vibrating sample magnetometer (VSM) technology to provide higher sensitivity.

Contact: Prof. Dr. Nadja-C. Bigall

Scientific devices Dorfs group

  • Optical Spectroscopy

    Horiba Fluoromax 4 Spectrofluorometer

    The Fluoromax-4 is a bench-top spectrofluorometer which, in addition to recording emission and excitation spectra up to 850 nm, allows time-correlated single-photon counting lifetime measurements (TCSPC with 200 ps lower limit). The device is equipped with a dual monochromator system and allows measurements of liquid and solid samples in special holders. To determine the lifetime of the samples, various NanoLED picosecond laser sources with wavelengths from UV to visible are used.

    CARY 5000 UV-Vis-NIR Spektrophotometer

    The research section Functional Nanostructures has a CARY 5000 spectrophotometer manufactured by Agilent Technologies at hand. This high-end spectrometer is capable of transmission and extinction measurements of liquids, coated transparent materials and powders in a spectral range of 175–3300 nm in high resolution. In addition, if required, the instrument can be equipped with expanding accessories such as a DRA-2500 integrating sphere for the measurement of absorption and reflection spectra or a thermostat-controlled 1x1 Peltier cell holder for temperature-dependent transmission and extinction spectroscopy.

  • Laser

    Continuum SL II-10 Pulsed Laser

    The Dorfs group works with a setup which has is a pulsed neodymium-YAG laser manufactured by Continuum as core element. This device is capable of emitting high-energy light pulses of 5 ns length with a wavelength of 1064 nm and a maximum energy of 475 mJ per pulse through nanoparticle solutions. With the help of several exchangeable harmonic crystals, further wavelengths (532 nm, 355nm and 266nm) can be generated. The energy hitting the samples can be gradually attenuated in the existing setup using OD filters and detected by a Coherent pyroelectric energy sensor. The irradiated solutions can be stirred with a stirrer enclosed in the cuvette holder of the setup.

  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy

    PHI 5000 VersaProbe III X-ray photoelectron spectrometer

    The PHI 5000 VersaProbe III X-ray photoelectron spectrometer offers a wide range of surface-sensitive measurement methods that allow conclusions to be drawn about the bonding situations, surface compositions and electronic states of the samples. In addition to classical X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), the instrument offers the following techniques:

    •     Depth profiling by sample ablation (using argon ions or clusters).
    •     Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) to analyze the chemical composition of the sample surface
    •     UV photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS) for determination of molecular orbital energies in the valence band
    •     Reflection electron energy loss spectroscopy (REELS) to obtain information about band gaps and defects on surfaces
    •     (Low Energy) Inverse Photoemission Spectroscopy (LEIPS) for characterization of unoccupied electronic states on surfaces
    •     Heated sample chamber

    These techniques can be used to comprehensively characterize sample surfaces of various textures. The instrument also features imaging techniques such as scanning electron microscopy so that material distributions on sample surfaces can be graphically displayed. The instrument has a spectral resolution of 0.1 eV and a beam diameter of 9 to 200 µm (15 kV) for XPS measurements.

    The instrument is operated in collaboration with the Behrens group of the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry.


Contact: PD Dr. Dirk Dorfs

Scientific devices of the Lauth group

  • Ultrafast spectroscopy

    Transient absorption spectrometer Helios Fire

    The research section Functional Nanostructures has at its disposal a HELIOS FIRE Transient Absorption Spectrometer from Ultrafast Systems. The instrument enables a comprehensive investigation of the type, origin and temporal course of photo-excited charge carrier states of optically interfering systems. The samples to be investigated are excited from the ground state with an ultrashort excitation laser pulse (~100 fs), while a time-shifted interrogation laser pulse images the sample response at different times after excitation. The HELIOS FIRE covers an optical broadband range of 350–1600 nm. Samples can be characterized in solution or as films. The optical excitation is covered over a wide spectral range by an OPA (~260–2100 nm).


Contact: Dr. Jannika Lauth

Research equipment Nanostructured Functional Layers and Materials

Equipment in the Research Area Nanostructured Functional Layers and Materials are maintained by group members.

On request, members of other groups can be trained to operate the instruments or we analyze your specimens.

Equipment of research groups Caro/Feldhoff

  • Electron microscopes (Competence Facility)

    The Research Group operates two high-resolution electron microscopes (FE-SEM and FE-TEM) with field-emission electron sources and spectrometers for elemental analysis. The Laboratory for Electron Microscopy has been recognized by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) as Competence Facility: Terms and Conditions (German only)

    [Translate to English:] Feldemissions-Rasterelektronenmikroskop (FE-REM)

    Field-Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FE-SEM)

    JEOL JSM-6700F / Info

    • Secondary electron detector
    • Semi-in-lens detector for small working distances
    • Backscattered electron detector (BSE)
    • Energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDXS), Oxford Instruments INCA 300 (detection from Be on)
    • Resolving power: 1.0 nm @ 15 kV; 2.2 nm @ 1 kV
    • Acceleration voltage: 0.5–30 kV

    Field-Emission Transmission Electron Microscope (FE-TEM)

    JEOL JEM-2100F-UHR / Info

    • Transmission Electron Microscopy (BF, DF, HRTEM)
    • Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM with BF, HAADF)
    • Electron Diffraction (SAED, CBED, also energy-filtered)
    • Energy-Filtered Transmission Electron Microscopy (EFTEM)
    • Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (EELS, ELNES), Gatan Imaging Filter, GIF 2001, with 1k-CCD Camera
    • Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDXS), Oxford Instruments INCA 200, detection from Be on
    • Schottky field-emitter (ZrO2/W(100))
    • Acceleration voltage: 200 kV (160 kV)
    • Point-resolution: ≤ 0,19 nm  (Cs = 0.5 mm)
    • Lattice resolution in STEM: ≤ 0.2 nm
    • Energy resolution in EELS :  ≤ 0.7 eV
  • X-Ray Diffractometer (XRD)

    Bruker D8 Advance / Info

    • X-ray diffraction with Cu-Kα1,2 radiation
    • 1-dimensional LynxEye detector (silicon strip)
    • motorized slits (divergence and receiving
    • 9 position sample changer
    • sample spinner

     measuring geometries:

    • Bragg-Brentano
    • grazing incidence
    • foil transmission


     In-Situ cell Anton Paar 1200N

    • temperature rannge: RT–1200 °C
    • environmental heater
    • programmable temperature controller
    • variable atmosphere (air, N2, Ar, CO2) or vacuum
  • Thermoelectric characterization

    NorECs ProboStat A


    • Seebeck coefficient of single materials under air atmosphere
    • electric voltage-current curves for thermogenerators



    • measurement setup with platinum electrodes
    • high-temperature oven (room temperature to 1000°C) with programmable RS-232 controller
    • two Keithley 2100 6/12 digit multimeters
    • sinus generator automatized data collector with Lab View software

    ThermoGen Vacuum Setup


    • Seebeck coefficient of single materials in air, vacuum or under inert gas
    • electric voltage-current curves for thermogenerators



    • measurement setup with resistive heater (room temperature to 600 °C)
    • active Peltier cooler
    • two Keithley 2100 6/12 digit multimeters
    • sinus generator
    • automatized data collector with Lab View software

    Electrical Conductivity Analyzer


    • isothermal electrical conductivity of single materials under air atmosphere



    • measurement setup with platinum electrodes
    • three-zone high-temperature oven (room temperature to 1000 °C) with programmable RS-232 controller
    • two Keithley 2100 6/12 digit multimeters
    • sinus generator
    • automatized data collector with Lab View software
Contact: Prof. Dr. Armin Feldhoff

RESEArCH EQUIPMENT Complex Interfaces and Molecules

  • Simulation Software

    The AG Becker uses a computing cluster for quantum chemical simulations on a larger scale. The group has experience with the following programs:

    • Amsterdam Modeling Suite
    • VASP (Vienna Ab Initio Simulation Package)
    • CPMD (Car Parinello Molekül Dynamik)
    • Gaussian
  • Experimental Equipment

    Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)

    The research group Becker uses two NanoSurf AFM for topographic sample analysis.

    Desktop REM

    FEI Phenom Desktop REM

    High Temperature Video Microscope

    Ultra-high vacuum system in which samples and reaction cells are heated and can be observed with an HT videomicroscope using either an NIR or optical camera.

    Abbe Refractometer

    Quantum chemical calculations can be used to determine the refractive indices of substances that are in good agreement with the experimentally determined data.

    UHV system with HT-AES and quadrupole MS

    Ultra-high vacuum system in which high temperature Auger electron spectroscopy and mass spectrometry can be applied to samples on a movable sample holder with heater and heat shields.

    • reflected/transmitted light microscopes
    • Ultramicrobalance
    • Various high temperature furnaces
    • Equipment for chemical transport reactions
Contact: Prof. Dr. Jörg August Becker
  • Spectrometer
    • Coaxially Oriented Beam-Resonator Aggrangement (COBRA) Fourier Transform-Microwave (FTMW) Spektrometer
    • Scanning Probe-Microwave (SP-MW) Mikroskop
    • I/Q­Modulated Passage-Acquired­Coherence Technique (IMPACT) FTMW-Spektrometer
    • Wideband-I/Q­Modulated Passage-Acquired­ Coherence Technique (WIDE-IMPACT) FTMW-Spektrometer
    • LASER-ablation, DC-discharge, heated, fast-mixing, and standard pulsed supersonic-jet expansion sources
Contact: Prof. Dr. Jens-Uwe Grabow

RESEARCH DEVICES Dynamics in Heterogeneous Catalysis

Lab equipment Imbihl Group

  • Photoemission Electron Microscopy (PEEM I)

    The PEEM 1 laboratory contains a standard ultra-high vacuum chamber (UHV chamber) equipped with a photoemission electron microscope (PEEM) to study pattern formation on single crystal surfaces. The chamber is also equipped with an Auger electron spectrometer with a cylindrical mirror analyzer (CMA) from Pelkin Elmer to investigate the chemical surface composition. A LEED (low energy electron diffraction) optics (Varian) is used to determine the surface structure.

    Furthermore, a home-built electron beam evaporator is used for the preparation of thin metal or metal oxide layers. For sample cleaning, a sputter gun from Leybold-Haereus is available, which can be used for sample cleaning.

    The pressure is measured by a Varian ionization gauge, the temperature by a type K-type thermocouple. The temperature can be adjusted via a resistive heater (Ta wires, 0.25 mm diameter) by means of a temperature controller. An electron bombardment heater is used to achieve high temperatures (higher than 700 °C). In addition, various gases (hydrogen, oxygen, argon) can be introduced via leak valves whose flow is regulated by mass flow controllers.

  • Photoemission Electron Microscopy (PEEM II)

    The PEEM 2 laboratory focuses on the observation of reaction-induced restructuring of transition metal oxides and pattern formation during catalytic surface reactions. The experiments are carried out in an ultra-high vacuum chamber (UHV chamber, base pressure 1*10-9 mbar), which is operated as a continuous flow reactor. The vacuum is generated by four turbomolecular and one titanium sublimation pump. Using a differentially pumped gas inlet, different gases (oxygen, hydrogen, methanol, ammonia, carbon monoxide, nitrogen monoxide) in the pressure range from 10-9 to 10-4 mbar can be introduced into the chamber.

    The UHV chamber is equipped with a photoemission electron microscope (PEEM), a differentially pumped quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS, Hiden Analytical HAL IV), a low energy electron diffraction optics (LEED, Vacuum Science Instruments ErLEED 150) and an Auger electron spectrometer (AES, Staib Instruments ESA 100).

    Thin transition metal and transition metal oxide films can be deposited with an electron beam evaporator (tectra) and characterized with the available surface analysis techniques. An Ar+ sputter gun (Specs) is available for sample preparation. The samples can optionally be heated by a resistive heater (up to 750 °C) or an electronbombardment heater (up to ~1200 °C). In the temperature range 20 to 750 °C linear heating and cooling ramps (0.1 - 10 °C/s) are also possible.

  • Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM)

    The STM laboratory is used to image the structure of thin transition metal and transition metal oxide films and their structural changes during catalytic reactions at the atomic level. It is equipped with an ultra-high vacuum chamber (UHV chamber, base pressure 1*10-10 mbar), which, in addition to the scanning tunnelling microscope (DME), has a LEED optics (low energy electron diffraction, Omicron) and a cylindrical mirror analyzer (CMA, Physical Electronics Industries) for Auger electron spectroscopy. The vacuum is generated by two turbomolecular pumps and one ion getter pump. The samples to be examined can be heated to a temperature of up to 1200 °C with an electron bombardment heater.

    An Ar+ ion gun and an electron beam evaporator for the deposition of thin metal and metal oxide films are available for sample preparation. Different reaction gases can be introduced into the chamber via a differentially pumped gas screen.

    In situ observations of the processes during catalytic surface reactions are thus possible. Measurements of the reaction rates are possible with a quadrupole mass spectrometer (Balzers Prisma).

Contact: Prof. Dr. Ronald Imbihl

RESEARCH DEVICES Polymers and biomaterials

coming soon

Contact: Prof. Dr. Marie Weinhart