Engineering Core Facility



The goal of the Engineering Core Facility (ECF) is to support investigators in pursuit of their studies to answer specific research questions. This facility is equipped with a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM), a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), an Atomic force microscope (AFM) and a Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer (DMA). ECF provides advice, technical services, training and use of facilities to investigators. ECF is available to all University of South Alabama personnel, as well as outside institutions and industrial users. The facility is supported, in part, by user fees to cover supplies, instrument time, and a technologist’s time to carry out any part of the project. A fee schedule is available on request.

Available Resources

Click on a resource below to read more about its capabilities.
▼   Transmission Electron Microscope (Tecnai G2 20)

Key features:

  • High resolution versatile tool for material and life science applications
  • Flexible high tension
  • Single and multigrid specimen holders
  • Elemental identification and mapping (EDXS and EELS)
  • Oxford Instruments X-MaxN 80T SDD detector
  • Gatan Orius SC1000B fiber-optic-coupled CCD camera (>14 fps, 11 Mpixels)
  • 2D and 3D imaging under both ambient and cryogenic conditions
  • On-axis bright-field/dark-field STEM imaging, electron diffraction and detailed microanalysis


▼   Atomic Force Microscope/Scanning Probe Microscope (Keysight 5500)

Key features:

  • Highly modular microscope and scanner that provides atomic-resolution with 3D- information   
  • Open- and closed-loop scanners offer outstanding linearity, accuracy, versatility, and ease of use    
  • Superior scanning in fluids, gases, or ambient conditions
  • Easy sample access with top-down scanning
  • Optional Integrated environmental and temperature control
  • Equipped with Kelvin Force Microscopy (KFM) imaging mode  for mapping surface potential distribution at the nanoscale  


▼   Scanning Electron Microscope (FEI Quanta 250)

Key features:

  • EM resolution: 3.0 nm @ 30 kV (SE)
  • EM acceleration voltage: 0.2-30 kV
  • Three performance modes (high vacuum, low vacuum, and ESEM) to accommodate the widest range of samples
  • x-y specimen stage: 50 mm
  • Heating stages up to 800°C and 1400°C
  • Ideal for high resolution imaging for material samples and biological samples

Scanning Electron Microscope

Scanning Electron Microscope

▼   Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer (TA Instruments Q800 DMA)

Key features:

  • Magnetic drive motor for precise stress control over a wide force range
  • Unique low-friction air bearing design and enhanced sensitivity for measuring weak samples
  • Automatic movement for opening and closing furnace and precise temperature control over the entire temperature range
  • Isostrain mode, Multi-Frequency mode, Creep Stress/Relaxation Mode, Multi Stress/Strain Mode, Controlled Force/Strain Rate Mode

TA Instruments Q800 DMA

▼   Further information

For a price quotation for services, to schedule an appointment, to reserve equipment for use, or for more information about our facility, please contact Dr. R.C. Woods (for TEM and AFM) at or Dr. Kuang-Ting Hsiao (for SEM and DMA) at