Illinois MRSEC Illinois MRSEC

The Illinois MRSEC is developing new shared facilities that will improve the materials research infrastructure of the US. The MRSEC also uses systems that are housed, staffed, and maintained at the Materials Research Laboratory (MRL). The MRL operates an extensive array of central facilities that are vital to the success of world-class advanced materials research. The MRSEC leverages the existing MRL Central Research Facilities as well as adds important new capabilities for the materials research community.


I-MRSEC Shared Facilities:


Two-color ultrafast pump-probe system with optical parametric oscillator

This system is used to study the magneto-optic response and heat capacity of materials through time-domain thermoreflectance and magneto-optic Kerr effect measurements. A scanning imaging system that uses the infrared output of the OPO system enables fast and high-resolution imaging of magnetic order. This tool is located in the MRL laser facility. Learn more about this tool and how to gain access here.

Illinois MRSEC

Illinois MRSEC

AJA Orion-8 Sputtering System for Magnetic Materials

This is a multi-target sputter deposition system for synthesizing magnetic thin films. This tool is located in the MRL central facilities in room 336 MRL. Learn more about this tool and how to gain access here.

Illinois MRSEC

Illinois MRSEC

Shimadzu DTA-50 thermal analyzer

Bruker D8 ADVANCE diffractometer


MRL 350 MRSEC Facilities


The following tools are located in room 350 MRL: Glove box transfer system, NT-MDT Atomic Force Microscope, and plasma systems. Local users interested in using these facilities should contact Pamela Pena Martin ( to initiate the process. Those from off-campus interested in use of these facilities should contact Prof. Arend van der Zande ( to discuss this.

Glove box transfer station for 2D device manufacture in an inert environment

We have a multi-chamber glove box with an in-situ microscope, 2D material transfer station, spinner and thermal evaporator. This integrated system allows for the manufacture of ultra-clean 2D heterostructures and devices and working with air-sensitive nanomaterials.

Illinois MRSEC Illinois MRSEC Illinois MRSEC

Illinois MRSEC

NT-MDT Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)

The NT-MDT AFM has built in all the standard scanned probe measurement capabilities including topography imaging, nanomechanical indentation and shear, and electrical imaging. It is primarily used for topography analysis of 2D materials and testing the cleanliness of 2D heterostructures.

Illinois MRSEC

Illinois MRSEC


Plasma Etch Oxygen Plasma Cleaner

The Plasma Etch is a 25 W direct oxygen plasma system primarily used for etching 2D materials and cleaning polymer residue from dirty samples.

Illinois MRSEC

Illinois MRSEC

Tergeo Indirect Plasma Functionalization System

The Tergeo Plasma Cleaner is capable of direct or indirect oxygen or hydrogen plasmas. It is primarily used for chemical modification of 2D material surfaces, e.g. oxidization of chalcogenides or hydrogenation of graphene.

Illinois MRSEC

Illinois MRSEC


Materials Research Facilities Network


The I-MRSEC is part of the Materials Research Facilities Network, a nationwide partnership of the Shared Experimental Facilities (SEFs) supported by the NSF MRSEC program. You can view the I-MRSEC page on the MRFN website here.


Other campus shared facilities:


In addition to the MRSEC supported facilities above, other campus facilities are available for supporting research:

Materials Research Laboratory

Holonyak Micro and Nanotechnology

Laboratory Illinois Campus Cluster

Publications by Users of Shared Facilities

K. S. Panse, S. Zhou, and Y. Zhang, "3D Mapping of the Structural Transitions in Wrinkled 2D Membranes: Implications for Reconfigurable Electronics, Memristors, and Bio-Electronic Interfaces," ACS Appl. Nano Mater. 2, 9 5779-5786 (2019). DOI:  10.1021/acsanm.9b01232 .

S. Zhou, K. S. Panse, M. H. Motevaselian, N. R. Aluru, and Y. Zhang, "Three-Dimensional Molecular Mapping of Ionic Liquids at Electrified Interfaces," ACS Nano XX, XXXX (2020). DOI:

F. Zhao, S. Zhou, and Y. Zhang, "Ultrasensitive Detection of Hydrogen Peroxide Using Bi2Te3 Electrochemical Sensors," ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 13, 3, 4761–4767 (2021). DOI: 10.1021/acsami.0c19911.

J. Sklenar and W. Zhang, "Self-Hybridization and Tunable Magnon-Magnon Coupling in van der Waals Synthetic Magnets," Physical Review Applied, 15 044008 (2021). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevApplied.15.044008.

Y.-Y. Lin, W. J. Gustafson, S. E. Murray, D. P. Shoemaker, E. Ertekin, J. A. Krogstad, and N. H. Perry, "Perovskite Na-ion conductors developed from analogous Li3xLa2/3−xTiO3 (LLTO): chemo-mechanical and defect engineering," Journal of Materials Chemistry A (2021).