Research Facilities - Department of Physics - Colorado School of Mines

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Research Facilities

A widely used facility for both teaching and research is the Physics Department's Machine Shop. Under the direction of Randy Bachman, the machine shop has been thoroughly modernized and now includes a variety of state-of-the-art CNC machines available to both students and faculty upon completion of training.

Mines' ultrafast science research lab is a new state-of-the-art facility with over 3,700 square feet of research space. The laboratory features a broad array of laser systems, from high repetition rate oscillators to three kHz repetition rate ultrafast Ti:sapphire amplifiers. The high-power amplifier can produce compressed pulses 10mJ in energy and 20fs in duration. The system also has adaptive pulse shaping and a deformable mirror for beam phase control/manipulation. With the available harmonic conversion and parametric amplification of these laser sources, ultrafast light is available across the spectrum-from 200 nm to 10 µm. A complete array of diagnostics is available, including imaging spectrometers, Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor, high speed detectors, spectrally resolved autocorrelators for complete pulse characterization (FROG), GHz oscilloscopes, waveform generators, lock-in amplifiers (up to 200 MHz), etc. We have three home-built multi-photon microscope systems with complete scanning and imaging capability.

The Mesoscopic Physics Laboratory pursues research in traditional mesoscopic topics such as waves in random media and quantum chaos, as well as a variety of applications in materials characterization using both laser ultrasound and electromagnetic waves from 70 GHz to several THz. For laser ultrasound we use high-power Q-switched IR lasers as sources and a scanning laser Doppler vibrometer as a particle wave sensor. Our workhorse system for millimeter and submillimeter work is an ABMillimetre sub-millimeter wave vector network analyzer. This has been augmented with a home-made high-finesse open-cavity resonator that allows us to measure the complex permittivity of thin films as well as carrier concentration. We also use an all-fiber femtosecond laser to do pump-probe phase-coherent time domain THz measurements.

The Renewable Energy Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (REMRSEC) maintains four different laboratories in three different buildings on campus. The Processing Lab, located in MH425, contains a variety of different equipment for thin film deposition, annealing, wafer Si device fabrication, photolithography, electronic characterization, and optical characterization. The Chemical Vapor Deposition Lab, located in HH302, houses a plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition cluster tool used to deposit amorphous or nanocrystalline silicon and a Si nanoparticle reactor. The Synthesis Lab, located in HH323, contains numerous fume hoods for wet chemistry and polymer membrane synthesis, two dry glove boxes, a dynamic vapor sorption measurement system, and several other apparatus supporting work in the lab. The Characterization Lab, located in GRL231 (a lab shared with the John Scales research group) provides optical and electronic characterization facilities including Electron Spin Resonance, Thermal Deflection Spectroscopy, photoluminescence, FTIR, and optical absorption & reflection measurements.

CdTe Photovoltaics Lab: Mines has contributed to thin film CdTe photovoltaic technology development for over 15 years. This work has helped CdTe to become the lowest cost technology for making photovoltaic power plants. Our CdTe Photovoltaics Lab, located in Meyer Hall 430, contains all of the equipment required to make efficient CdTe solar cells starting from a bare glass substrate. Materials and processes include sputtered Cd2SnO4 transparent conducting oxide, evaporated CdS, vapor transport deposited CdTe, evaporated ZnTe, evaporated Ni or Au, and annealing in tube furnaces. Our lab reliably produces CdTe solar cells with efficiency over 10%, and our best cells have reached efficiencies in the low-to-mid teens.

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