Facilities and Equipment

BCMaterials counts with several facilities devoted to synthesis, processing and characterization of materials.

In addition, EHU Group membership allows BCMaterials to have access to the extensive equipment and general research facilities of the General Services for Research (SGIker), of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU).



Thermal Analysis

Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) with temperature range from -150°C to 500°C and peak force 12 N, 18 N or 40 N
Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC) with temperature Range from -70 ºC to 730 ºC
Climatic chamber with Temperature range from -40°C to 180°C and Relative Humidity range from 10% to 98% within the temperature range [+5°C; +95°C] Differential Thermal Analysis (DTA) – Thermal Gravimetric Analysis (TGA) up to 1600°C 


Electronic Microscopy

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) with magnification range of 15x to 30,000x, multiple beam conditions and 3D dimensional image display.

Materials Synthesis

Materials Synthesis

Induction furnace for alloying and moulding of samples in Argon atmosphere (maximum temperature of about 1500°C)


Powder X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory

Theta-2Theta geometry Kα1/Kα2 diffractometer
Theta-Theta geometry Kα1/ Kα2 diffractometer for fast data acquisition
Theta-2Theta geometry Kα1 diffractometer 


Single Crystal X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory

Theta-Theta geometry Kα1/ Kα2 diffractometer
Single crystal diffractometer with four circles goniomenter and Kappa geometry
Single crystal diffractometer with four circles goniomenter and Kappa geometry
Compact Single crystal diffractometer


X-Ray Fluorescence Laboratory

Micro-florescence Spectrometer



Magnetocaloric Effect Measuring System
Magnetoelectric Effect Measuring System 



Magneto-Optical Kerr Effect (MOKE) magnetometer

System for measuring hysteresis curves as a function of temperature (in two stages: heating up to 875 K and cooling down to 4 K) and applied magnetic field (up to 0.15 T), it can be measured in polar and longitudinal configuration.


DC Magnetron Sputtering

Two DC power supplies of 1000 W and two RF power supplies of 300 W.
Base pressure is 2.7 x 10-7 mbar and operation pressure can be set between 2.4 x 10-2 and 8.4 x 10-3 mbar.
Targets available: Ni81Fe19 (Permalloy), Cu, Ti, Cr, Au, Al2O3, SiO2, etc.
Magnetic field can be applied during the deposition to generate a fixed magnetic anisotropy in the deposited material.
Target holder can rotate so it is possible to deposit different materials at the same sputtering process.


Reactive Ion Etching (RIE)

600 W ICP (Ion Coupled Plasma) supply with auto tunner and 600 W Platen Bias supply with auto tunner.
Cooled down to -50º C or heated up to 200º C.
Base pressure is 10-7 Torr and capable to operate below 50 mTorr.
Etching gases available: CF4, CHF3, Ar, SF6, O2, CO and NH3.
Spectroscopic End Point detection.


SQUID magnetometer (MPMS-7T, Quantum Design) with 7 T superconducting magnet

Unlimited temperature control between 5 and 400 K, extended to 2 K with a maximum time of 2 h.
Measured in DC. Sensitivity: 10-8 emu.
Furnace for measurements between 300 K and 800 K.
Multi-functional sample holder for electrical measurements.


New Vibrating Sample Magnetometer (VSM)

The new Microsense 2.2 Tesla Vibrating Sample Magnetometer (VSM) installed at BCMaterials is a versatile instrument of high resolution at room temperature (0.08 µemu) and at temperatures (0.5 µemu), with large temperature scan (77-1000K) in a 10 mm ID chamber, higher signal to noise ratio (temperature option), lowest field noise (< 5 mOe RMS), automatic sample rotation standard and fast and easy operation.


Vibrating Sample Magnetometer (VSM)

Superconducting Magnet up to 14 T. Low field sensitivity of 1E-5 Tesla. Maximum field ramp: 1 T/min.
Variable Temperature Insert (cryostat). Available range of 2-325 K in continuous mode. Maximum Cooling rate of 1.5 K/min.
Vibrating Sample Magnetometer. Frequency of 20 kHz. Sensitivity of 1E-6 emu.
AC Susceptometer. frequency range: 10-100 Hz. Maximum amplitude 1E-3 Tesla. Sensitivity: 10-7 emu/Oe.
DC Resistivity. Input impedance 10 GOhm. Current Source range from 10 fA to 0.1 A, DC and AC excitation.


Kerr Effect Microscope

Optical microscope with 400x magnification and option of applying magnetics fields up to H = 0.6 T in parallel mode and H = 0.2 T when perpendicular to the plane of the sample, with the possibility of varying the temperature of the sample.


Positron Annihilation Lifetime Spectrometer

Measurement Range: 15K-320K.
FWHM: 240ps 


Doppler Coincidence Spectrometer

Measurement Range: 15K-320K.


Floating Zone Optical Furnace

Optical system (4 halogen lamps) for growing of metal and oxide single crystals. Maximum length of 100mm and 4mm of diameter. Maximum operation temperature of 2100 C. Growing rate between 0.1 and 12 mm per hour.


Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS)

Both DLS and SLS modes: Correlation & Intensity Measurements
Large angular Range: 8° to 155° with 25mm cells; 15° to 155° with 12 mm cells.
Fine Adjustment Control: Read angle to 0.01° directly on large, fine-control adjustment knob.
Multiple Laser Line Filters: Filter wheel with 632.8 (HeNe), 514.5/488.0 nm (Ar+), one open position for weak scatterers, and 2 blank (shutter) positions.


Turbo-Pumped Sputter Coater/Carbon Coater

Metal sputtering or carbon evaporation.
Fine grain sputtering for advanced high resolution FE-SEM applications
Wide range of oxidizing and non-oxidizing metals.
Suitable for SEM, high resolution FE-SEM and also for many thin film applications
High vacuum carbon coating, ideal for SEM and TEM carbon coating applications
Thick film capabilities up to 60 minutes sputtering time without breaking vacuum


X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS)

Energy-analyzer Phoibos 1D-DLD 150, allowing analysis of samples from low area (micron order) to high area (mm).
Focus monochromatic radiation source 500 with dual anode Al / Ag, which allows working with powers of 400 W for the Al and 600 W for Ag, to improve the sensitivity and analysis time.
Manipulator sample-precision MCU-8, which allows linear movement in directions x, y, z, and polar azimuthal rotation with angular resolution analysis. System includes heating to 800 ° C and cooling.
Ion-Cannon (IQE 12/38) to carry out cleaning and depth profiling by Ar + ion bombardment, with a swept area up to 10×10 mm2.
Source of electrons (FG 15/40) for charge compensation in non-conductive samples.
Source of electrons (EQ 22/35) for Auger spectroscopy and SEM and SAM.
Detection System EDS-200 secondary electrons.


Photoelectron Spectrometer
(with image discrimination)

Ultrafast Photoelectron Spectroscopy


Ultrashort pulse oscillator-amplifier system

It provides a pulse train of 30 fs at 800 nm with a replay frequency of 1KHz and per pulse energy of 3.5 mJ.

Later, the pulse frequency can be tunable in the range of 200nm-2000nm via parametric interactions series in non-linear crystals (the amplitude of the obtained pulses depends on the spectral region) 


Micromachining with ultrashort pulses

Allowing to reach a resolution up to 3μm (aprox.)


Zeta Potential and Particle Size Analyzer

Particle size:
– Measurement range: 0.3nm – 10.0μm
– Measurement principle: Dynamic Light Scattering
– Minimum sample volume: 12µL
– Accuracy: Better than +/-2% on NIST traceable latex standards
– Precision / Repeatability: Better than +/-2% on NIST traceable latex standards
– Sensitivity: 0.1mg/mL (Lysozyme)
Zeta potential:
– Measurement range: 3.8nm – 100μm
– Measurement principle: Electrophoretic Light Scattering
– Minimum sample volume: 150µL (20µL using diffusion barrier method)
– Accuracy: 0.12µm.cm/V.s for aqueous systems using NIST SRM1980 standard reference material
– Sensitivity: 10mg/mL (BSA).


Magnetoelastic Resonance Measuring System

Automated experimental system for measuring magnetoelastic resonance for frequencies over MHz range 

Permanent magnets based Halbach-type magnetic quadrupole

Permanent magnets based Halbach-type magnetic quadrupole

Permanent magnets based Halbach-type magnetic quadrupole (right) to be used as particle beam focalizer inside LINACs (linear particle accelerators) together with Hall probe and three-axis support mechanical harms (left) to be used for mapping the magnetic field generated inside the quadrupole and determination of both this magnetic field magnitude distribution and gradient, as well as true values ​​of null magnetic field along the longitudinal axis of the magnetic quadrupole.


BCMaterials is one of the most important users in the Basque Country of some sophisticated techniques required in materials research, available in large European and extra-European scientific facilities, with which excellent relations and large experience are maintained.

BCMaterials researchers are currently using resources at ILL, ESRF, APS, ISIS, ALBA, ELETTRA… in methods like:

  • Polarized Neutron Diffraction
  • Neutron reflectometry
  • Muon Spin Relaxation (µ-RS)
  • X-Ray absorption (EXAFS, XANES)
  • X-ray Magnetic Circular Dichroism (XMCD)
  • Spin echo neutron spectrometry

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