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NanoFab Welcome

In the NanoFab, you can use our extensive commercial, state-of-the-art tool set at economical hourly rates, and get help from a dedicated, full-time technical support staff.

  • Access a comprehensive tool set, including advanced capabilities for lithography, thin-film deposition, and nanostructure characterization
  • Benefit from reliable, reproducible processes maintained by a professional staff
  • Make use of fabrication and characterization services provided by our expert staff
  • Access the NanoFab within two weeks after submitting a simple application

Tool and Process News

Upgrades to Sputter Tools

Upgrades to Sputter Tools 

The Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology is upgrading the NanoFab’ s two Denton Vacuum sputtering systems: Sputter 1 and Sputter 2. Both tools will be retrofitted with high vacuum throttle valves, allowing the user to set the deposition pressure in the range of 0.013 Pa (0.1 mTorr) to 13 Pa (100 mTorr). This will enable researchers to adjust the stress in the deposited films. Sputter 1 will be operated with the same software as is currently installed in Sputter 2, allowing researchers to write recipes of arbitrary length and deposit any layer sequence. Sputter 2 will be equipped with a loadlock, similar to the one now attached to Sputter 1, which will drastically reduce the pumping time. The elapsed time from atmospheric pressure to a base pressure of 4 x 10-4 Pa (3 x 10-6 Torr) will drop from 60 minutes to approximately 5 minutes. These upgrades are expected to be in place by the end of the calendar year.

Upgraded FEI Helios 660 Now Available


Additional detectors have been installed in the electron beam column of the FEI Helios DualBeam system (NEMO name: FEI FIB 2) to bring the instrument up to the 660 specification. The new detectors are labeled Mirror Detector (MD) and In-Column Detector (ICD) and are used to detect low loss and no loss backscatter electrons, respectively. When the instrument is in immersion mode, both new detectors can be operated simultaneously with the TLD to collect secondary and backscatter signals for more comprehensive sample data. The new detectors provide enhanced compositional contrast for differentiation of similar materials.

Leica EM GP Automatic Plunge Freezer Now Available

Freeze plunger

A Leica EM GP automatic plunge freezer has recently been installed in the CNST NanoFab.  This tool uses the bare grid technique to prepare vitrified fluid specimens for cryo transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis.  Specimens in solution are applied manually to a TEM grid held in an environmental chamber to maintain a controlled temperature and humidity.  The specimen is then automatically blotted to remove excess fluid and plunged into liquid ethane.  The automated blotting and plunging are key features of the instrument to ensure sample reproducibility.

Applications for the plunge freezer include preparing cryo-TEM specimens of nanoparticles, DNA, liposomes, proteins, viruses and other biological particles in their native solution environment.

Operating Status

The NanoFab is OPEN.

All NanoFab resources are available, including support from the NanoFab staff.


Vincent Luciani
NanoFab Manager

Phone 301-975-2886
E-mail: vincent.luciani@nist.gov

100 Bureau Drive, MS 6201
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-6201