Nanoscale Characterization

State-Of-The-Art Microscopes

The Nanoscale Characterization Facility (NCF) supports state-of-the-art tools for electron- and ion-beam analyses for Penn, as well as other university and industry users in the Philadelphia region. Our new facility comprises a suite of rooms specifically designed to host current and next-generation scanning electron, transmission electron and atomic force microscopes. The facility includes an integrated sample preparation laboratory with complete sample coating and
plasma cleaning capabilities, as well as cryogenic TEM sample preparation equipment. A computer suite for offline image and data analysis and office and meeting space for staff and industrial users round out the facility in the Singh Center. The NCF also maintains an ion scattering laboratory featuring a 5.1 MeV ion accelerator for thin film characterization and ion implantation. This facility is located nearby in the adjacent Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter Building.

The NCF is currently maintained by two full-time Ph.D. level research scientists with combined experience of 39 years in materials characterization. While serving the role as a university resource for materials characterization and nano-scale fabrication, we welcome users from other academic, corporate and government institutions.


Douglas Yates, Ph.D.

Director, Nanoscale Characterization Facility

Since 1997, Dr. Yates has been the director of the Nanoscale Characterization Facility, which houses instruments for advanced electron and atomic force microscopy and ion scattering.   He has, cumulatively, twenty-seven years experience with the instruction, operation and maintenance of electron microscopes and related instruments.


Jamie Ford, Ph.D.

Staff Scientist

Jamie Ford received a BA in Chemistry from Reed College in 2002 and a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009. His main duties include instrument maintenance and user training for the Scanning Electron and Atomic Force Microscopes in the NCF. He is also the lead developer of the Sigh Center’s Instrument Scheduling and Interlock System.


Christopher Murray

Richard Perry University Professor
of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering,
Nanoscale Characterization Oversight Committee Chair

Chris Murray is the Richard Perry Professor in the Department of Chemistry, in the School of Arts and Sciences, and a Professor in the Materials Science Department in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He oversees the Nanoscale Characterization Facility in the Singh Center for Nanotechnology.


Karen Winey

Materials Science and Engineering,
Chemical Biomelecular Engineering,
TowerBrook Foundation Faculty Fellow

Karen I. Winey is Professor, Chair and TowerBrook Foundation Faculty Fellow of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania with a secondary appointment in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

Professor Winey’s current interests include both polymer nanocomposites and ion-containing polymers. In nanocomposites, she designs and fabricates polymer nanocomposites containing carbon nanotubes and metal nanowires with the aim of understanding how to improve their mechanical, thermal, and especially electrical conductivity and resistive switching properties. Polymer dynamics in the presence of nanoparticles is also an area of interest. In ion-containing polymers, including block copolymers and polymers with ionic liquids, Winey combines imaging and scattering methods to provide unprecedented insights into their morphologies.


Peter K. Davies

Class of 1942 Term Professor
Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Peter Davies is Professor of the Materials Science and Engineering Department in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Dr. Davies’ principal research interests lie in the design and nano-level structure characterization of functional inorganic solids. He is an expert in the synthesis, crystal chemistry, and properties of electronic ceramic materials, and has published seminal papers on the influence of nanoscale atomic ordering on the properties of ceramic resonators used in wireless communications.


Robert W. Carpick

John Henry Towne Professor and Chair
Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics,
Materials Science and Engineering

Robert W. Carpick is a Professor and Department Chair in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Appliced Mechanics at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and is a member of the Physics Graduate Group.

Professor Carpick works at the intersection of mechanics, materials, and physics to conduct research into nanotribology (the atomic-scale origins of friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear), nanomechanics, nanostructured materials, and scanning probe microscopy (SPM).



Marija Drndic

Professor and Graduate Chair,
Physics and Astronomy Department

Marija Drndic, a Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts & Sciences.

Her research is focused on the exploration of mesoscopic and nanoscale structures in the areas of experimental condensed matter physics, nanoscience and nanotechnology. She studies the fundamental physical properties of low-dimensional and small-scale structures such as nanocrystals, nanowires and biomaterials and we develop their device applications.


Arjun Yodh

James M. Skinner Professor of Science and the Director of
The Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM)
Physics and Astronomy Department

Arjun G. Yodh is the James M. Skinner Professor of Science and the Director of The Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM) at the University of Pennsylvania. Physics & Astronomy is his home department and he has a secondary appointment in the Department of Radiation Oncology in the Medical School.

His current interests span fundamental and applied questions in condensed matter physics, medical and biophysics, and the optical sciences. Areas of ongoing research include: soft materials, complex fluids and networks, carbon nanotubes, laser spectroscopy, optical microscopy & micromanipulation, biomedical optics, functional imaging and spectroscopy of living tissues, photodynamic therapy and nonlinear optics.