Chemical Synthesis Equipment

Various types of equipment are utilized to prepare metal oxide nanomaterials using the sol-gel and precipitation methods in Sensor lab. These facilities ensure the safety, efficiency, and precision required for synthesis. 

The liquid phase procedure is carried out in the chemical fume hood and this is equipped with some magnetic stirrer hotplates and ultrasonic baths. Then, prepared precipitates were collected and washed by centrifugation (Thermo scientific CL10 centrifuge) several times to remove any side products. Finally, the obtained powders were dried, following annealing by the tubular furnace. Here are the key characteristics of these instruments:

Heidolph MR Hei-Tec magnetic stirrer hotplates

Temperature range 20-300 °C

Stirring range  100-1400 rpm

Heated ultrasonic baths with multi-frequency and adjustable power

Frequency 40 or 59 KHz

Power adjustment 40-100 % 

Heating 20-80 °C

Timer 1-199 min

Thermo scientific CL10 centrifuge

Max load 0.432 Kg

Max rpm 4000

Timer 1 to 99 min

Elite tubular furnace

Temperature range up to 1500 °C

Thermal Oxidation Chambers

Thermal oxidation chambers are used to perform controlled oxidation of a metallic stub or a thin layer on the surface of a material, typically Alumina or silicon. They are composed of a stainless steel vacuum chamber, connected to a turbomolecular vacuum pump able to reach very low values of pressure 10-4 Torr. A heating element able to reach up to 900°C is located in the middle of the chamber, powered by a DC power supply. Two mass flow controllers inlet argon and oxygen inside the chamber.

Thanks to this technique, we are able to grow thin oxide layers, porous layers and quasi 1D nanomaterials. At SENSOR we have two set-up according to specific material to be synthetized


Our research lab is equipped with furnaces capable of conducting VLS (Vapor-Liquid-Solid) and VS (Vapor-Solid) techniques. These furnaces are designed to provide precise control over temperature, pressure, and gas flow, enabling us to synthesize and grow a diverse array of nanomaterials. At SENSOR, we have two systems dedicated to nanowire preparation, both of which are controlled by PC for completely automated deposition. 

The pressure, the gradient and the carrier flux have to be strictly controlled in order to guarantee the reproducibility for deposition.

Two  Lenton furnaces:

Magnetron Sputtering

The sputtering plant is made by Kenotec company (Italy). It is composed of two vacuum chambers, the working chamber devoted to the deposition and the load lock chamber where we can introduce the substrates without breaking the vacuum of the operating chamber. 

The substrates can be heated also in the load lock chamber in order to desorb the undesired species adsorbed on them. A turbomolecular drag pumping station TMH 064 D E produces the vacuum in the load lock chamber, and a rotative and turbomolecular pump produces the vacuum in the working. 

Five different positions can be selected in the working chamber, one for the etching process and for the substrates introduction and the other 4 positions for the targets with DC and RF power supplies. The position of the samples is controlled by a step by step motor by the PC. 

During the deposition oscillation between two targets can be made in order to deposit layers of different materials. The power supplier are an advanced energy MDX 1K Magnetron drive and 2 each advanced energy RFX 600 generator with 2 advanced energy ATX tuner one for the etching process and the other for the deposition.

Scanning Electron Microscope

Accurate characterization and analysis of materials is highly required in research activities for studying and optimizing morphology and quality on the micrometer scale. Our scanning electron microscopy (SEM) TESCAN MIRA 3 combined with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) OXFORD can provide surface morphology and nano powder investigations, layer thickness measurements, and mapping and line scan analyses in both low (up to 500 Pa) and high vacuum environments with a remarkable resolution in the nanometer range. 

Additional structural information can be given by STEM detector using STEM grid and copper plate. One other option provided by TESCAN with MIRA3 control software is the detector mixer that allows the signal acquisition from the selected detectors (SE, LE-BSE, In-Beam SE, In-Beam BSE, STEM BF, STEM DF, STEM HADF, BSE Inverted) simultaneously.

Explore our SEM capabilities and discover the stunning microstructures, surface characteristics, and elemental compositions that shape your research. Trust in our expertise to provide you with unparalleled insights and precise analysis.

X-Ray Diffractometer

Our laboratory is equipped with facilities for X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis which accurate char-acterization of crystalline materials. Our XRD system offers comprehensive information regarding crystal structure, phase identification, and lattice parameters. The acquisition, analysis, and interpre-tation of data are conducted by our experienced researchers. We cater to a diverse range of applica-tions, encompassing fields such as materials science and pharmaceuticals. 

Empyrean diffractometer (PANalytical, Almelo, The Netherlands):

Scanning Probe Microscopy

The SmartSPM-1000 is an advanced system designed to study the surface characteristics of various objects at the nanoscale level. It offers high-resolution imaging capabilities and can operate in both air and controlled environments. The accompanying software includes standard atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) techniques, as well as a wide range of additional and specialized methods. The microscope's automation features simplify its operation, while its key attributes include high scanning speed, a maximum scan range of 100x100x15 microns, precise probe positioning, distortion-free imaging, and the Qscan scanning mode with customizable settings. The system also incorporates a low-noise optical registration system with an infrared laser, enabling the examination of samples sensitive to visible light. Furthermore, the SmartSPM-1000 offers motorized XY sample positioning within a range of 5x5 mm and features an expandable digital modular controller.

Raman Spectroscopy

Raman Spectroscopy is a powerful technique that enables the identification of molecular compositions and structural information of various substances. At our laboratory, we house XploRA Nano system (Horiba Jobin Yvon Srl, Italy) equipped with: 

A Peltier-cooled open electrode CCD was used to record the Raman spectra in the range 70-3500 cm-1 with spectral resolution FWHM of 6.5 cm-1, enabling precise and reliable measurements. Chemical Imaging at the Nanoscale is also provided by our system using Tip-Enhanced Raman (TERS) mode. To ensure accurate and comprehensive results, Lab Spec is our sophisticated data analysis software. 


Our Laboratory is equipped with the facility of UV-Vis spectrophotometric analysis which is helpful in characterization of crystalline materials. Our UV-2600 SHIMADZU spectrometer can analyse and interpret different peaks of the known and unknown compounds by % absorption and transmission by using the UV Prob software. We can use it for diverse application such as, material sciences, energy and biomedical side.  

Gas Sensing Chambers

This advanced system for the measurement of gas sensor performance of 10 samples toward six analytes at various humidity levels.

The flow-through technique is employed to measure the gas sensing properties of metal oxide nanomaterial in the gas test chamber.  In this method, a steady flow of synthetic air (0.3 l/min), is mixed with the desired concentration of gaseous species through a sealed chamber, which is kept at 20 °C, atmospheric pressure, and specific humidity level. The humidity level is determined using a humidity sensor. To generate air saturated with water, synthetic dry air is initially passed through a water tank maintained at a constant temperature and then through a condenser that is kept at the same temperature as the test chamber. The relative humidity is generated by mixing with dry air.

Electrical data are registered by a personal computer that controls a picoammeter and a multiplexer via GPIB. All the connections are made by coaxial cables and BNC from the test chamber to the picoammeter.