Scanning & Local Probe

Comprehensive Suite of Scanning Microscopy Tools

The Scanning and Local Probe Facility of the NBIC is a suite of measurement tools for nanoscale devices and materials, and a test-bed for instrumentation development.

The Scanning and Local Probe Facility of the Nano/Bio Interface Center (NBIC) is a unique lab that serves both as a test bed for novel nanoscale devices and materials and as an incubator for measurement instrumentation development. It is equipped with a suite of state-of-the-art scanning probe microscopes, optoelectronic/transport tools, and optical probes, some of which are recently developed and not yet available on commercial instruments. These core facilities are available to facilitate research related to nano/biotechnology. This facility is available for use by researchers in academia and industry.

What makes the Scanning and Local Probe Facility unique is its focus on combining different techniques and tools to promote new areas of research. For example, a controlled environment atomic force microscope (AFM) is paired with a total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscope to allow simultaneous optical imaging and mechanical testing of tagged proteins, cells, and molecules. Additionally, a DC-RF probe station works with an arc lamp and monochrometer that provides optical stimulation of photo-active devices. Another AFM has a specially shielded probe assembly which lets us use a network analyzer and measure impedance in the GHz range with nanometer scale spatial resolution.

The activities of the Facility will be expanded through its relocation to the Singh Center; the low noise environment of the underground lab will be critical in providing the conditions critical to advancing scanning probe microscopy (SPM) techniques.


Matt Brukman, Ph.D.

Director, Scanning and Local Probe Facility

Matthew Brukman manages the Scanning and Local Probe Facility, formerly the Nano-Bio Interface Center (NBIC). His primary research experience and interests include development of AFM-based techniques to characterize materials at the nano-scale — friction force microscopy, tissue mechanics, non-contact capacitance microscopy, and AFM design. Additionally, he has studied extreme ultraviolet (EUV) optics for photolithography.



A.T. Charlie Johnson, Jr.

Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy,
Materials Science and Engineering,
Electrical and Systems Engineering,
Director, NanoBio Interface Center

A.T. Charlie Johnson, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Director of the Nano/Bio Interface Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Johnson’s research spans experimental nanoscale physics, which nanotechnology and biophysics. His research is involved specifically in transport within nanostructures and carbon nanotubes, which revolves around graphene, DNA, synthetic proteins, and other biomolecules. His research also involves the development of scanning probe techniques to measure electronic properties in nanomaterials and nanodevices.


Russell J. Composto

Professor, Materials Science and Engineering,
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Director, NanoBio Interface Center Facilities

Russell Composto, Professor from the Materials Science, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Bioengineering Departments oversees the scanning probe facility within the Singh Center for Nanotechnology.  His interdisciplinary research investigates  structure-property relationships in complex polymer systems and biomolecular engineering from the cellular to nanoscale.