at the Advanced Photon Source

Sample Lab

Equipment at HP-CAT Sample Lab

Lab Manager: Curtis Kenney-Benson
Phone: (630) 252-0495 E-Mail:curtkb@anl.gov

Chemicals Available on Site

Note: Any work in the lab requires registration as an HPCAT user and current posted ESAF approved by APS and HPCAT.

While users are strongly encouraged to arrive with their samples ready to run, HPCAT maintains a comprehensive sample preparation laboratory for routine loading of diamond anvil cells. At HPCAT we have established support facilities for sample preparation and characterization, including four stereo zoom microscopes, a laser drilling/micromachining system, computer controlled MicroSupport micromanipulator, Glovebox with ultrahigh purity argon atmosphere and micromanipulator, a mechanical micro-drill machine, electric discharge machines and tools for routine DAC operation. Gas loading of cells is also available through the facilities of GSECARS at APS Sector 13.

The lab is well equipped with sample preparation and loading tools: needles, tweezers, etc. Nevertheless, users are encouraged to bring their own precision tools for specialized sample handling.

Stereo Zoom Microscopes

All microscopes are based on transmitted-light stands and are equipped with double-gooseneck oblique illumination. The eyepieces on all microscopes can be replaced with either 16x or 40x eyepieces. Additional objective lenses (compatible with all microscopes) include Planapo 0.63x objective with 97 mm working distance (WD) and Planapo 1.6X objective with 19 mm WD.

Leica M165C

  • 1x Planapo objective, 61.5 mm WD
  • 25x eyepieces
  • 0.73 – 12.0 zoom range
  • coaxial illumination
  • Leica DFC450C CCD camera

Leica MZ6

  • 1x Achromat objective, 89 mm WD
  • 25x eyepieces
  • 0.63 – 4.0 zoom range
  • + ring illumination

Leica MZ16

  • 1x Planapo objective, 61.5 mm WD
  • 25x eyepieces
  • 0.71 – 11.5 zoom range
  • + coaxial illumination
  • Leica DFC290 CCD camera
Sample Handling

Microsupport micromanipulator

NOTE: Training is required: Contact Ross Hrubiak or Curtis Kenney-Benson

Glovebox with micromanipulator

  • Ultrahigh purity argon atmosphere
  • < 1 ppm H2O and O2
  • Motorized optics and stages
  • ESAF+training required

NOTE: Training is required:Contact Curtis Kenney-Benson or Jesse Smith

Gasket Drilling

Laser drilling/micromachining system

  • Laser drill gasket holes down to 5 um diameter
  • 2D and 3D micromachining of features from <5 to 20 mm size
  • Can machine metals and non-metals (including diamond)
  • Various atmospheric chambers for environment control (e.g. inert gas) and hazardous materials (e.g. Be)

Electrical Discharge Milling machine

  • Machines holes from ~20 um to ~1 mm up to 3 mm deep
  • Requires electrically controlled conductive material

Minitool mechanical drilling machine


Fisher Scientific Ultrasonic cleaner

  • Model FS20H
  • 3.0 quart capacity
  • Mechanical timer

Branson Ultrasonic cleaner

  • Model 5510R-DTH
  • 2.5 gallon capacity
  • Digital timer, heat and degas

3x hotplates to 300oC

Isotemp Vacuum oven

  • Model 282A
  • 1.5 cu.ft. capacity
  • 280oC maximum temperature
  • Vacuum <0.1mm Hg for sample drying
  • Separate vacuum and gas ports

Fisher Scientific Muffle furnace

  • Model Isotherm 650-14
  • Maximum temperature 1125oC
  • Chamber volume 0.14 cu ft (6x10x4in)
  • Argon flow available upon request

Mettler Toledo balance

  • Model PG203-S
  • 210.0 g maximum capacity
  • 0.001g readability

Various Mitutoyo micrometers

  • 547-033 Digimatic upright gauge, 13 mm
  • 342-351 Digimatic point micrometer, 15 deg, 0-1” range
  • 293-345 Digital outside micrometer, flat, 1-2” range
  • 293-344 Digital outside micrometer, flat, 0-1” range
Storing samples and chemicals

Labconco vacuum dessicator

  • Model 5530000
  • Molded fiberglass cabinet
  • 1 square foot of interior space
  • Storing moisture/oxygen sensitive samples

Acrylic Desiccator Cabinets

  • Storing of hygroscopic and reactive chemicals
  • Uses DRIERITE Desiccant


  • For storing temperature-sensitive samples and chemicals

Flammables storage cabinet

  • For storing flammable samples and chemicals

Corrosives storage cabinet

  • For storing corrosive and reactive samples and chemicals

Standards storage cabinet

  • Active humidity control
  • For storing x-ray and other standards

HPCAT possesses all essentials tools needed for experiment preparation: hole/gasket punches, wrenches, etc. Nevertheless the users are strongly encouraged to bring all specific tools which may be needed for successful preparation for the experiments.

Beryllium Gasket Area

A separate area (within the chemical area) for loading samples into Be gaskets and general Be handling. Equipped with basic tools for sample loading and preparation: dedicated micro-EDM machine, binocular microscope, micrometer, sample loading and other essential tools.