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Physical Chemistry – Instrument Park

Physical Chemistry – Instrument Park

The instrumentation can very roughly be classified according to the type of research they are intended for although many of the instruments could be placed in several categories.

Surface Characterization

Nikon Mikrophot FXA
Principle: Transmission and epi-fluorescence
  • Objective: 4x to 100x
  • Eyepiece: 10x
  • Intermediate magnification: 1x, 1.25x, 1.5x, 2x
  • Large format: 4x
  • Heatable table goes to 70 °C
Operation: Includes:

  • Phase contrast
  • Differential Interference contrast
  • Polarisator


 Olympus SZX12 stereo microscope
Principle: Zooming stereo microscope, 0.7x to 90x zoom range
  • Episcopic, coaxial and fluorescence illumination
  • Working distance 100 mm, good for technical surfaces and for crystals
  • Camera port
Operation: Light arrangements are episcopic with
– LGR fiber optics ring
– LGW light pipe flexible arms


Veeco (di) MultiMode V
Principle: The AFM consists of a cantilever with a sharp tip (probe) at its end that is used to scan the specimen surface. When the tip is brought into proximity of a sample surface, forces between the tip and the sample lead to a deflection of the cantilever. This allows the shape of the sample to be measured.
For details, see the Wiki
Specifications: Microscope specifications:
– can be configured with any of several scanners, depending upon the imaging requirements
– Atomic scale scans: A, E or EV scanners
– Larger scans: J or JV scanners
Image Size and Resolution:
– Image size up to 100 x 100 µm 2
– Digital resolution up to 5120 x 5120 pixels
– Default sizes 128 x 128, 256 x 256 or 512 x 512 pixels
– Width- to height aspect ratios 1:1 to 256:1
Operation: Scanning techniques:
Contact AFM, Tapping Mode AFM, Phase Imaging, Non-contact AFM, LiftMode, Magnetic Force Microscope (MFM), Lateral Force Microscopy (LFM), Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM), Electrochemical Microscopy (ECSTM and ECAFM), Lithography, Torsional harmonic AFM


 Ntegra-Prima AFM
Principle: The AFM consists of a cantilever with a sharp tip (probe) at its end that is used to scan the specimen surface. When the tip is brought into proximity of a sample surface, forces between the tip and the sample lead to a deflection of the cantilever. This allows the shape of the sample to be measured.
Specifications: The near-field option is included

Lateral (x-y) resolution: 6 – 100 nm (image sizes 3 – 50 µm, using 512 x 512 pixels)

Vertical (z) resolution : < 0.1 nm

Sample size:

  • Ø 40 mm, up to 15 mm in height (Scanning by sample)
  • Ø 100 mm, up to 15 mm in height (Scanning by probe)

Scan range:

  • 100x100x10 µm 3x3x2.6 µm (Scanning by samples)
  • 100x100x10 µm 50x50x5 µm (Scanning by probe)
Operation: Mostly used for paper and paper coating measurements.
As the image size/resolution decreases, the effect of the tip radius and cone angle increases.

Particle and Dispersion Characterization

 Malvern Zetasizer Nano ZS
Principle: The measurements are based on dynamic and static light scattering. The forward and back-scattering arrangements are used. For details see NBTC
Specifications: Size:

  • Size range maximum (diameter) 0.3nm – 10 microns
  • Minimum sample volume 12L
  • Concentration range 40 % w/v

Zeta potential:

  • Size range (diam) min. 3.8nm, max 100 microns
  • Maximum sample concentration 40%w/v
  • Minimum sample volume 150µL

Molecular weight:

  • Molecular weight range (estimated from hydrodynamic diameter) 342 Da to 2·107 Da
  • Minimum sample volume 12µL
  • Temperature control range 0°C – 90°C
  • Standard laser 4mW He-Ne, 632.8nm
  • Correlator: Min. sample time 25ns, max. delay time 8000s; max. 4000 channels


  Bohlin-CS Rheometer
Principle: Controlled stress rotating rheometer
Air-beared measuring head.
Applications: Foods, pharmaceuticals, polymer solutions, concentrated dispersions
Specifications: Torque range: up to 10 mNm
Rotational speed: 10 -5 to 600 rpm
Temperature: +5 to 90 °C
Operation: Measuring geometries: Cone & Plate, Concentric Cylinders, Double Gap


 Acoustosizer II
Principle: Uses multifrequency electroacoustic technology to obtain zeta potential, particle size and conductivity. A high frequency electric field is applied over the emulsion. The motion of the electrically charged particles in the alternating field generate ultrasound which is measured.
Specifications: Performance:

  • Particle size: 0.02 – 10 microns
  • Zeta only range: 1 nm – 10 microns
  • Titration module: 0.1 µL resolution

Sample characteristics:

  • Concentration range: 1 – 40 vol-%
  • Sample volume: ca 125 mL (ca 20 mL static)
  • Max. viscosity: 2.5 PAs
  • Conductivity range: 0 – 5 S/M
  • pH range: 1 – 13
  • Temperature range: 10 – 50°C
Operation: Possible to use either polar or non polar solvents.


Micromeritics ASAP 2010
Principle: Utilizes adsorption of gases to determine adsorption and desorption isotherms and information about the surface area and porosity of a solid material.
Specifications: Range

  • 0 – 950 mmHg

Degas system Temperature range

  • Ambient to 350°C with glass heating mantles
  • Ambient to 450°C with optional quartz heating mantles
  • Digitally set, 1°C increments
  • Accuracy ± 10°C of set point thermo couple
Operation: Performs surface area analyses plus pore size and pore volume distributions, typically using nitrogen as standard gas.

Calculates BET and Langmuir surface areas, average and total pore volume, BJH pore size distribution and performs micropore analysis.


Quantachrome Hydrosorb 1000
Principle: Measurement of adsorption and desorption water isotherms including BET surface area calculations and heats of adsorption.
Specifications: Po Range: 10 – 80 mm Hg
Bath temperature: 12.0 – 47.0 °C
Pressure Resolution: 0.0015 mm Hg
Accuracy: 0.5 % of Reading (+/- temperature coefficients)
Temperature coefficients:
– Zero: 0.02 % of F.S / °C (200 ppm)
– Span: 0.04 % of Reading / °C (400 ppm)
Operating temperature: 0 – 150 °C
Overpressure limit: 35 PSIA
Operation: Water sorption plays an important role for instance in drying and storage of grains; shelf life of food products; stability of pharmaceutical substances; effectiveness of coatings for dental stain resistance


Quantachrome Autosorb 1
Principle: Adsorption and desorption isotherms of various test gases give information of the porosity, surface area and related quantities. Chemisorption can also be studied by using several gas inputs.
Specifications: Operating Temperature

10 – 38°C, non-condensing

Surface Area Analysis

  • Nitrogen range: 0.05 m²/g – unlimited
  • Krypton range: 0.005 m²/g to unlimited

Pore Analysis

  • Detectable volume limit: <0.001cc/g
  • Pore diameter range: 3.5 – 5000 Å with Nitrogen
Operation: – Automatic switching of input gases
– Unlimited number of predefined analyses
– Front panel display shows system status at a glance
– Easy handling of cryogenic samples
– Easy-to-use computer interface



Bruker D8 Discover
Principle: For a general discussion on X-ray scattering and X-ray crystallography, see Wikipedia
Specifications: Resolution

Standard centric ¼-circle Eulerian cradle goniometer and contact-free manual alignment with laser/video sample alignment system. The goniometer design allows for both horizontal and vertical sample geometries.

X-ray generator:

Short anode X-ray tube with CuKa-source; 3kW (1.54184 nm), power: 40 kV / 40 mA


Dynamic scintillation detector with spacer and parallel beam optics 2D HI-STAR area detector system with SAXS He beam-pat

  • Phase identification and quantification
  • Single Crystal Diffraction
  • Small Angle X-ray Scattering
  • Gracing Incidence Diffraction
  • X-ray reflectometry (XRR)

Grazing-Incidence Small-Angle X-ray Scattering (GISAXS)


Solution and Liquid Crystal Characterization

Gonotec Osmomat 030
Principle: Total osmolality in aqueous solutions is determined.
The solution is cooled below its freezing temperature (-7°). The crystallization is initiated by dipping a frozen needle into the supercooled solution. Thus the temperature spontaneously rises to the melting temperature of the solution.
  • Automatic calibration
  • Measuring time approx 1 min
  • Minimum sample vol 50 µL
  • Reproducibility 0.5 %
  • Measuring range up to 300 mOsmol/kg
  • Resolution 1 mOsmol/kg
  • Usually a non-destructive method.
  • Calibration solution used: NaCl 9.4484g / kg H 2O.
  • Corresponds the freezing point lowering of 0.55740 °C.


Sensadyne 9000 Bubble Tensiometer
Principle: A bubble is immersed in the solution to blow bubbles of gas into the test solution and the maximum pressure in the tube is measured.
Specifications: Surface Tension Range: 1 dyn/cm – 500 dyn/cm
Bubble Rate: 1/min – 40/s
Sample Size: 5 – 25 ml
Accuracy: ± 0.05 dyn/cm
Measures also diffusion rate
Operation: With two tubes of different size of orifices, the hydrostatic parameters will be compensated. The pressure difference between the two tubes is linear proportional to the surface tension.


KSV CAM 200 Optical tensiometer
Principle: Optically measures and then analyses the bubble shape, both pendant and sessile. Calculates static and dynamic contact angle, surface/interfacial tension and surface free energy of solids
Specifications: Maximum sample size: Unlimited x 150 x 150 mm
Frame interval: 40 ms – 1000 s (RAM memory dependent)
Camera: CCD camera with telecentric zoom optics
Dispensing: Manual or automatic
Experiments available: static content angle, advancing and receding contact angles, surface/interfacial tension by pendant drop method
Contact angle measuring range: 0 – 180 degrees
Inaccuracy: ± 0.5 degrees
Calculation method: Curve fitting to Young Laplace eq., circle, polynomial & Bashforth/Adams completely automated calculation, calculates separate contact angle for either side and the mean valu
Operation: The CAM 200 includes a CCD video camera, a frame grabber, an adjustable sample stage and LED light source.
The open design and modular construction should allow adaption to the instrument to a variety of applications.


Anton-Paar DSA5000 Densiometer
Principle: Combination of the Anton Paa oscillating U-tube method with in-cell platinum sample temperature probe for density and sound velocity measurement
Specifications: Standard measuring range

  • Density: 0  3 g/cm³
  • Sound velocity: 1000 – 2000 m/s
  • Temperature: 0 – 70°C
  • Sulphuric Acid: 0 – 100 % H2SO4
  • Oleum: 0 – 65 % free SO3

Pressure range
0 – 3 bar

  • Sample amount: approx: 3 ml
  • Materials in contact with sample: PTFE, borosilicate glass, stainless
  • Measuring time: 1 – 4 min


KSV Sigma 70 Tensiometer
Principle: Uses Wilhelmy plate or Du Nouy ring to measure the surface tension force.
Specifications: Fiber-range sensitivity: 0.0n µN (to 25mN)
Three measuring ranges: 25 mN, 2.5 mN, and0.25 mN full scale
Corrections for: Zidema-Waters, Harkins Jordans, Huh-Mason, and Autozero
Operation: Measures the interfacial tension acting along the moistening line of a solid body entered to the interference of the solution.
The electro balance and the moving mechanism are controlled by a PC


 Formulaction Turbiscan Heavy Fuel
Principle: Based on multiple scattering of photons. The scattered intensity is measured either in forward (for non-opaque samples) or backward scattering mode. Stability of suspension can be measured by moving the sample up and down and determining where the sample gets opaque.
Specifications: Concentration: Up to 60% v/v concentrated
Particle size: 0.1 µm – 1 mm
Operation: The reading head aquires transmission and backscattering data every 40 µm on a maximum height of 80 nm.




Perkin-Elmer FTIR-1000
Principle: Fourier Transform IR spectrometer for MID-IR operation, detector DTGS
Specifications: Range: 5000 – 400 cm -1
A SensIR diamond ATR unit is attached to it.



SensIR Durascope
Principle: Diamond ATR combined with video microscope image seen through the ATR element to ensure accurate selection of the analysis spot
Specifications: Operation down to 650 cm-1


Perkin-Elmer Lambda 900 UV-vis-NIR spectrometer
Principle: Dispersive UV/VIS/NIR spectrophotometer.
Double beam optics.
Littrow monochromator with three gratings
Specifications: Details
PerkinElmer LS50B luminescence spectrometer
Principle: Dispersive luminescence spectrometer
Specifications: – Source: pulsed Xenon lamp, range 200-800 nm
– Emission range: 200-900 nm
– Spectral bandwidth of emission line: 2.5-15 nm
– Holographic gratings on both the excitation and emission monochromators
– Wavelength accuracy: +/- 1.0 nm
– Wavelength repeatibility: +/- 0.5 nm
– Adjustable slit width 2,5-20 nm at 0.1 nm increments
– Scanning speed 10-1500 nm/min
– Sensitivity: S/N 500:1 rms


Shimadzu UV-2501PC spectrophotometer
Principle: Dispersive UV-vis spectrometer
Specifications: – Source: D 2 and tungsten lamps
– Range: 190-900 nm
– Resolution: slit width 0.02-5 nm
– Wavelength accuracy: +/- 0.3 nm
– Peltier cooling unit attached



Thermal Balance

Netzsch STA 449FI Jupiter (TG) and QMS 403C Aêolos (MS)
Principle: Simultaneous information about the weight  changes and evolved gases provide the optimum performance for a comprehensive material characterization.
Specifications: Netzsch STA 449 F1 Jupiter TG:
Temperature range: 23 – 2000°C
Sample weight: up to 5 g
Sample volume: up to 5 mL
Weighing range: 5 g
TG resolution: 25 ng
Up to 20 samples per measuring session with auto samplerNetzsch QMS 403 C Aeolos MS detector
Mass range: 1 u to 300 u
Vacuum system: Integrated oil free pumping system
Vacuum: 10-5 mbar
Operation: Optimized gas cell and transfer line
Fully controlled gas paths, no dead volume
No cold spots
No need for high gas flow rates
Low dilution – high sensitivity




Quarz crystal microbalance KSV QCM Z- 500
Principle: QCM is an ultra-sensitive mass sensor. The heart of the QCM is the piezoelectric AT-cut quartz crystal sandwiched between a pair of electrodes. When the electrodes are connected to an oscillator and an AC voltage is applied the quartz crystal starts to oscillate at its resonance frequency.
The KSV-QCM500 measuring principle is based on impedance analysis of the quartz crystal.
Specifications: – Mass sensitivity (5 MHz crystal) ca 1 ng/cm 2 in air/gas, ca 5 ng/cm 2 in liquid
– D-factor sensitivity ca 2×10 -8 in air, ca 3×10 -8 in liquid
– Max film thickness ca 5 mm
– Active sensor area ca 20 mm 2
– Frequency range 3-50 MHz
Operation: Gas and liquid phase measurements, direct measurements at air/water interfaces
Continuous flow measurements
Multi-frequency and temperature controlled measurements
Mass and viscoelastic parameters simultaneously

Updated 21.12.2018