MRI: Development of a Versatile, Ultra-Low Temperature, High Magnetic Field Scanning Probe Microscope for Investigations of Nanostructured Materials and Devices

Project: Research project

Project Details


This award to Penn State University is for the development of a novel scanning probe microscope system, specifically designed with the flexibility and capacity to answer a wide range of open questions on new nanostructured materials and devices. It will have a unique combination of characteristics including interchangeable sensors enabling complementary investigations of local electronic and magnetic properties, and multiple sample contacts allowing simultaneous bulk transport measurements. An array of surface preparation and characterization tools will expand the set of materials and devices that can be studied, and simultaneous optical access will ensure that researchers can quickly locate and move to important sample features. Broad temperature (50 mK to room temperature using cryogen free technology) and magnetic field (up to 10 T) ranges will enable researchers to probe a variety of phase transitions and phenomena including superconductivity, topological, quantum, and multiferroic behavior.

Development of the proposed instrument will also inspire broader impacts in education, training, and outreach. During development, near real-time sharing of instrument designs and data, unique in the materials research community, should spur the much needed development of other new instruments and encourage thinking about the benefits of data sharing. The investigators will translate their development and research experiences, which unify a broad set of cutting-edge tools, into the development of a tutorial explaining the use of these tools and the need for the interrelated information they provide to understand complex systems. Together with the Penn State Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia, the researchers will develop an interactive museum kit on visualizing nanostructures, designed to spark the interests and imaginations of a new generation of science and engineering students.

Effective start/end date9/15/122/28/19


  • National Science Foundation: $1,337,606.00


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