Global Navigation Skip to Page Navigation.

Nanomaterials in the Environment, Agriculture & Technology -  Organized Research Unit (NEAT ORU) - UC Davis

Spectral Imaging Facility FAQ

What microscopes are available at the Spectral Imaging Facility?

The NEAT ORU Spectral Imaging Facility currently has a state-of-the-art combination of an atomic force microscope and a laser scanning confocal microscope.

The atomic force microscope is an Asylum Research MFP3D AFM. 

The laser scanning confocal microscope is an Olympus America FV1000 system.

The FE-SEM is the Hitachi S-4100T Hitachi HTA America with an Oxford INCA Energy EDS.

The laser Raman microscope is the Renishaw RM1000 with motorized stage.

How do I use the Facility?

You may submit your samples for imaging, or bring your samples into the facility for assisted imaging. Alternatively, you may elect to receive in facility training and become a certified user. All service options are available on a recharge basis. Certified users will have access to the facility after normal business hours resulting in more flexible scheduling options. Our goal is to certify as many users as interest warrants and to every extent possible.

Why do I need training and certification before using the facility unassisted?

For the safety of all researchers and the microscope, training is a requirement before becoming an independent certified user. The training provided will allow users to take full advantage of the capabilities of the microscopes in the facility.  Each microscope has a specific protocol to follow during use.

How do I sign up and schedule training?

Please email to schedule training sessions. Training sessions are generally in the afternoons, Monday through Thursday. Each session may take between 3 to 4 hours to complete. At the first session, you will need to provide a completed copy of the “Recharge Authorization” and “Record of Initial Safety Training”.  Forms are available from the Spectral Imaging Facility section of the NEAT ORU website.  Each user must supply their own consumables, e.g., cantilevers, slides, cover slips, sample dishes, gloves, etc. upon completion of training.

Microscope Calendars




What information will be presented during the training sessions?

Training will concentrate on safety and practical use of the microscopes.

AFM-Confocal is presented in three sessions covering AFM, Confocal, and combined AFM-Confocal. Fluid imaging may require additional sessions.  Users who have completed training are required to schedule two performance review sessions during normal weekday hours.

SEM is presented in two sessions covering basic sample prep, column alignment, focus/stigmation, and image capture. An additional session or two is generally required for EDS operation.

Raman is presented in two sessions covering basic light microscope techniques and Raman spectra capture.  Additional sessions are required to cover 2D mapping application.

What kind of samples may I use during the training sessions?

Every student or group, up to 2 individuals, should prepare and bring samples of interest for the AFM, Confocal, SEM, or the Raman for initial imaging. In this way, the early training sessions can reflect the immediate needs and interests of the student. If you do not have access to specific samples, there is an assortment of standard samples available at the facility. 

How much will it cost?

New Rate Announcement: Spectral Imaging Facility (Effective April 2011) PDF  

The current recharge rates for microscope training and use are:

AFM-Confocal  $50/hr weekdays,  $15/hr after hours, $107/hr non-UC affiliate 

SEM-EDS $35/hr weekdays, $15/hr after hours, $75/hr non-UC affiliate

Laser Raman $15/hr all hours and $32/hr non-UC affiliates

How can I use the BioSafety Cabinet and Incubator?

AFM-Confocal certified users, while following SIF BioSafety Protocols, may use the FORMA 1400 BSC and the NAPCO 8000 incubator without charge after completing basic EH&S biological safety training.

Additional requirements?

The user must for any public publications that benefited from the use of or reporting work enabled by the use of the facility acknowledge the University of California, Davis and NEAT ORU Spectral Imaging Facility Please also send a note of any public presentation information, a copy of pre-print or reprint of any such publications to Professor Gang-yu Liu ( for inclusion in the SIF publication archive.

The NEAT ORU has the right to terminate any users' privilege to access the facility based on a users conduct involving inadequate laboratory safety and misuse of the microscopes.

The Spectral Imaging Facility welcomes your support, comments, and suggestions for the maintenance and improvement of the facility. Please send comments and suggestions to the Principal Investigator, Dr. Gang Yu Liu,

We look forward to working with you.


The National Science Foundation has provided funding for instrumentation acquisition under NSF-MRI program, DMR-0421521. NEAT-ORU, the University of California, Davis, Office of Vice Chancellor for Research, College of Letter and Science, College of Engineering, the Department of Chemistry, and Department of Applied Science have also contributed additional funding.