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3D Optical MicroscopeToF SIMSX-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) WorkshopStylus ProfilometerSecondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy

3D Optical Microscope

Etched SiO2 pattern, taken by Dr. XInqi Chen

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Depth profile of a Cr/Ni multi-layer standard using a 2 nA, 5 kV Ga+ beam in the one-beam phase depth profiling mode.

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X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) Workshop

The NUANCE Center, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and NU-MRSEC presented an X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) Workshop on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at the Norris University Center, Louis Room (South) – 2nd floor There was a huge turnout, with more than 80 attendees! The workshop was conducted by Dr. Brian R. Strohmeier, Senior Applications Scientist, Thermo Fisher Scientific.

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Stylus Profilometer

The upper right is the surface of chewing gum. The rest are etched silicon surface. Images taken with the High Resolution Stylus Profilometer by Dr. Xinqi Chen

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Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy

SIMS image of Copper pattern in Silicon, scale: 10µm. Imaged on Physical Electronics Phi Thrift III by Xinqi Chen

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Keck Interdisciplinary Surface Science facility (Keck-II)


The Keck-II Center was established in late 2001 through the support of W. M. Keck Foundation. Keck-II also receives support from the Soft and Hybrid Nanotechnology Experimental (SHyNE) Resource (NSF ECCS-1542205); the MRSEC program (NSF DMR-1121262) at the Materials Research Center; the International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN); and the State of Illinois, through the IIN. Keck-II facilitates research, collaboration, education and outreach in all science from soft biological matter to hard physical matter, specializing in surface analysis and nano-scale characterization. 

Keck-II hosts Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR), Confocal Raman System, High Resolution Stylus Profilometer, 3D Optical MicroscopeSpectroscopic Ellipsometer, and Zetasizer.

Keck-II is open to all the faculty and students at Northwestern University as well as the researchers at the nearby academic institutions and related industrial companies. The Keck-II Center operates and functions like its sister facilities (SPID and EPIC)-based on the core philosophy of open-access, hand-on training, collaboration and assistance from our able staff. Training is offered on a periodic basis, both as “crash courses” or part of hands-on structured courses, as well as individual ad-hoc training as need arises.  


The primary objective of our mission is to enhance the education, collaboration, research and outreach related to all aspects of surface analysis instrumentation, techniques and applications. The Keck-II facility is a shared user facility that supports a broad range of nanoscale science and technology projects, specializing in nanoscale analysis and characterization.

Keck-II is a multi-user, multi-departmental facility offering continually updated state-of-the-art equipment to qualified researchers from any field and institution.  Keck-II has a strong tradition of facilitating interdisciplinary research, and regular training sessions and short courses are offered by accomplished microscopists who manage the Keck-II facility, directed by Professor Vinayak P. Dravid.

Research and Societal Outreach

Keck-II facilitates vendor workshops to inform users of new applications and techniques for surface science instrumentation.

The Keck-II staff regularly conducts tours for local groups and hosts global visitors, as well. Keck-II also participates in Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work Day, McCormick School of Engineering’s annual Career Day for Girls and Biotechnology Training Program.


The Keck-II facility is located at 2145 Sheridan Rd, Evanston, IL 60208-3108 in the Technological Institute AG72.

Further Questions

If you have further questions about the Keck-II facility, please contact: