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MRL Video Tour
 
 

Hear from the MRL Director and take a tour of our facilities

Explore our featured core facilities through this introduction to the many instruments and techniques available through the Materials Research Laboratory.

Become a User
 
   
 

Announcing the 2021 MRL Equipment Competition!

The focus of the 2021 MRL equipment competition is to enable acquisition of equipment too expensive to purchase through typical grant or faculty discretionary funds, but not of sufficient broad impact to compete successfully in College and Campus equipment competitions or sufficiently costly for funding through external support. Find out more information and apply here.

 
   
 

New Research

 
 
A four-layer stack of graphene (black) and molybdenum disulfide (cyan and yellow) bends as it conforms over a hexagonal BN step (red). 
A four-layer stack of graphene (black) and molybdenum disulfide (cyan and yellow) bends as it conforms over a hexagonal BN step (red). 
 

Designing the flexibility of 2D materials

A new study demonstrates how to create ultra-soft 2D structures that lay the groundwork for the miniaturization of technology to the nanoscale, such as wearable electronics that conform to the flexibility of skin. By controlling the stacking between layers of materials, researchers were able to change the stiffness of two-dimensional materials by engineering the friction between layers. Read more.

MRL equipment used:
· Thermo Fisher Scientific Themis Z Electron Microscope
· Thermo Fisher Scientific Helios FIB-SEM
· I-MRSEC shared facilities

 

 
 
A photo of flexible light-emitting device integrated with our metal-2D interconnector. Electrical ductility enabled by 2D interlayer allows strain-resilient light-emitting device functionality. 
A photo of flexible light-emitting device integrated with our metal-2D interconnector. Electrical ductility enabled by 2D interlayer allows strain-resilient light-emitting device functionality. 
 

Atom-thick interlayer enables electrical ductility of thin-film metals

By inserting an atom-thick layer within conventional metal electrodes, researchers were able to improve the strength and stability of electronic devices by several orders of magnitude. Read more.

MRL equipment used:
· AJA E-beam evaporator
· Focused ion-beam instruments

 
   
 

New MRL Facilities equipment and upgrades

 
 
The Raith EBPG 5150 Ebeam lithography system 
 

Raith EBPG5150 electron beam lithography system is a brand new addition to our current nanolithography capability which provides up to 100 kV acceleration voltage with minimum features < 8 nm and overlay accuracy better than 5 nm and a sample stage reaching 6 inches distance. The system is expected to be open to users in March. Our existing Raith eLine EBL system, with 30 kV acceleration, will continue to operate in parallel to the new system, effectively doubling the MRL EBL capabilities for our researchers.

 
 
Glacios CryoTEM 
 

The Glacios CryoTEM will enable users to visualize and reconstruct macromolecular complexes in their native hydrated state at near-atomic resolutions. CryoTEM is cutting-edge technology in the field of structural biology, and the introduction of the Glacios will provide the UIUC campus with single-particle analysis (SPA), micro electron diffraction (microED) and cryo-electron tomography capabilities. The 200 kV microscope is equipped with a high-brightness FEG electron gun, phase plate for enhanced contrast of soft/biologic materials, the CetaD CMOS camera (pixel size 14 microns) for microED, and the Falcon 4 direct electron detection camera (14-micron pixel size, 250 fps) for high speed data collection, in addition to a cryo autoloader for up to 12 grids. The microscope, with a spatial information limit < 0.23 nm, will be the new center of the new cryoEM lab suite in the MRL with a full set of sample preparation and two Vitrobots for vitrification processes. Expected availability Spring 2021.

 
 
Pelletron 
 

We have recently upgraded the source on the Pelletron accelerator system with the addition of a SNICS (Source of Negative Ions by Cesium Sputtering) to compliment our RF Charge Exchange Ion Source (Alphatross).  While the Alphatross source can produce He ions, the SNICS source can produce a wide range of ion beams.  During site acceptance, H, Si, and Au were tested and able to deliver 1 – 10 uA of beam current with a terminal voltage of 1 MV.  The final ion current and energy being dependent on the charge state of the final ion. We are also currently in the process of installing the implant chamber from the van de Graaff system on a second Pelletron beamline which will include a faraday cup, beam raster, and apertures of up to 6 mm in size.

 
   
 
Eiger2 
 

Featured MRL Facilities instrument: The Eiger2 on the Bruker D8 Advance XRD System

We have added a new Bruker D8 Advance XRD system with “TRIO” primary optics for fast switch between focusing and parallel beam configurations, including x-ray mirror and a two-bounce high-resolution monochromator, and a large Eiger2R 500K areal detector capable of high-resolution or large-area analysis (including high-resolution reciprocal space mapping and 2D texture and stress). The detector can operate in 0D/1D/2D modes with a variable choice of integration area up to 500,000 pixels, each pixel size of 75 microns. The detector uses the last-generation hybrid photon counting technology developed by Dectris for fast conversion of photons for highest count rates and high dynamic range. In addition, the detector can be rotated 90 degrees to maximize collecting particular features (phase analysis or texture/stress analysis), and its distance to the sample can be changed for high coverage vs high resolution choices. Full 2D phase, residual stress, pole figure/texture and ultra-high-speed reciprocal space mapping are now available. The Bruker D8 Advance tool is also equipped with environmental capabilities for in-situ analysis of materials at temperatures up to 1200oC under various gaseous environments. Additional capabilities in the x-ray analysis core include a 4-circle X’pert MRD system, a SAXS/WAXS system with environmental capabilities using the Pilatus 300K large areal detector, a Laue camera and a energy-dispersive x-ray fluorescence system.

 
   
 

Announcements and Events

 
   
 
 Kayla Nguyen
 Watch L'Oréal's video about the Award Winners
 

In Case You Missed It... Kayla Nguyen, a postdoctoral scholar in the Huang Group, has received the L'Oréal Fellowship for Women in Science! Read about Kayla here.

 

 
 
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