Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials

Partner with the Wake Forest Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials to translate your innovations to products and services. Our advanced manufacturing capabilities will help you create value rapidly and establish a speedy pathway to technology adoption in the marketplace.

The Center specializes in the understanding and control of nanoengineered composite structures and their internal interactions, structure-property relations, mechanical, optical, thermal, and electronic characteristics. We work with quantum matrix composites to design new materials with unique properties for use in a range of medical and materials applications. Our nanotechnology center has worked with collaborators in health care to develop nanoengineered materials for use in cancer therapies, plastic and reconstructive surgery, wound healing applications and orthopaedics.

We specialize in the following areas of nanotechnology manufacturing and application:

Cybernetics and Bionics

Cybernetics is the interface between humans and synthetic materials. The Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials works closely with partners to develop and test bioelectronics, biosensors and advanced ‘smart’ therapies for use to:

  • Improve the capabilities of the disabled to walk and/or communicate
  • Provide artificial retinas
  • Improve our connectivity with others
  • Assist us in performing specific duties

Green Technologies

Working in partnership with academic and industry partners, The Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials develops a range of green technologies, including inorganic thin film solar, organic photovoltaics, novel thermal-solar collectors, thermo-electrics and thermo-kinetics and novel ternary ceramics absorbers for solar panels.

Fundamental Materials Design

We work closely with clients to develop novel nanoscale structures and devices. Our expert scientists can help you design and manufacture new and beneficial nanoengineered materials and products.

We provide the following services:


High Resolution Analytical STEM

Our Philips (FEI) CM 30, 300 keV microscope combines imaging, diffraction and analytical techniques at high spatial resolution and detection efficiency. Image collection and analysis is achieved through a newly upgraded high resolution digital camera. When used in scanning nanoprobe (STEM) mode, this instrument has a 2 nm probe size. Analytical capabilities are provided by an Oxford Instruments EDAX system.

Conventional TEM

Our JEOL 1200 EX is an easy-to-use TEM ideal for low resolution materials science and biological samples. This workhorse microscope features a double condenser projection lens, 60-120 kV, bright/dark field imaging, electron diffraction, eucentric goniometer (60° tilt). A newly installed high-resolution digital camera provides multiple file outputs and makes image capture easy.

Field Emission SEM

The JEOL 6330 is a cold field emission scanning electron microscope. Cold field emission scopes have the advantage of high brightness (large current density) and small beam diameter (high resolution) at low accelerating voltages to allow imaging of soft polymeric materials without causing sample damage. Resolution of the instrument is about 15 Angstroms depending on the sample. This instrument is soon to be upgraded with an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDS) for elemental analysis, a backscattered electron detector that allows compositional analysis and a cathode luminescence detector that can image complex, characteristic-visible spectra for detailed molecular structure information.

Atomic Force Microscopy

The JSPM-5200 is a multipurpose, high resolution SPM offering ease of use with diverse measurement and sample environments. The JSPM-5200 can be used in various native environments—from ambient air, controlled atmosphere, fluid, or vacuum, with the sample heated to 500° C (773K) or cooled to -143° C (130K). It can also perform a wide range of applied measurements including the combination of image signals and instantaneous switching between operation modes. The open architecture of the JSPM-5200 provides multiple access ports and easy access to the probe. The JSPM-5200 can be configured as either an atomic force microscope (AFM) or scanning tunneling microscope (STM) by merely changing the tip. STM modes include CITS, I-V, S-V, and I-S. Standard AFM modes include contact, friction force microscopy, current image, non-contact and discrete contact with either slope detection or frequency detection, and phase imaging. A patented drift-free stage is implemented to provide an extremely stable imaging platform.

Scanning Tunneling Microscopy

This microscope was developed in cooperation with RHK Technology, Inc. It is equipped with a cryostat modified to reduce inherent “bubbling” vibrations. The ultra-high vacuum system was custom designed and built by Duniway Stockroom Corp. The vibration isolation system is an “in-house” design and uses a custom Newport air suspension system. The STM is based on a “Besoke” scanner, flow LHe cryostats and sealed heating filaments for temperature control down to 20 K (for now) and up to 1000 K. It is specifically designed to collect images and perform variable-gap tunneling spectroscopy simultaneously. Further, we typically use quite low tunneling currents with imaging having been achieved at tunnel currents below 1 pA. The system is ideal for studies of nanostructures that might otherwise be damaged by the large field densities within the tunneling junction. Modifications are constantly being made to this machine as we develop new techniques for high precision determinations of electronic phenomena in nanostructures.

Spectroscopy/Surface Analysis

PHI Scanning Auger and X-ray Photoelectric Spectroscopy (XPS) System — The information XPS provides about surface layers or thin film structures is of value in many industrial applications including: polymer surface modification, catalysis, corrosion, adhesion, semiconductor and dielectric materials, electronics packaging, magnetic media and thin film coatings used in a number of industries. Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) applications include materials characterization, failure analysis, thin film analysis, and particle identification for semiconductor and thin film head manufacturing.

Clean Room

The Nanotech Center offers a clean facility at the Deacon Boulevard site. The 1,000-square-foot clean room is a Class 1000 space. UV and blue spectrum components of room illumination have been removed to facilitate to working with organics. The clean facility provides full support for:

  • Organic device fabrication support
  • Printing/rapid prototyping
  • Sputtering

Solar Testing Facility

The Nanotech Center maintains outstanding facilities for the testing and characterization of solar cells. This facility is open to all affiliate faculty of the Center as well as the members of the Center for Energy and Environmental Sustainability. Equipment includes:

  • AM1.5g Class A standard simulator — This “top down” mounted simulator provides the most exact measurement of cell performance conforming to the ASTM E927-05 standard.
  • QE/IPCE Measurement Kit
  • Solar Thermal Testing Rigs


The Nanotech Center can help creating new nanomaterials and meta-ordering. The synthesis lab has a range of growth capabilities, as well as facilities for the creation of new polymers. We provide access to the following techniques for polymer synthesis:

  • Arc Growth Methods
  • Chemical Vapor Deposition
  • Pulsed Laser/Plasma Ablation
  • Polymer Synthesis
  • Electrospinning

The creation of new materials or materials structures with designed order at the nanoscale level is fundamental to what nanotech does. Whether it is controlling atomic order at the interfaces between nanoscale thin films, doped variants of carbon nanotubes or multicomponent electrospun tissue scaffolding materials, there are a number of programs within the labs of individual Nanotech Center affiliates.

Read a feature story on our Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials.

Learn more about working with the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials by contacting Wake Forest Innovations at +1.336.713.1111 or

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