Services and infrastructure


Operated by BIMat

Examples of services

The Institute for Biologically Inspired Materials (BIMat) excels in the characterization of synthetic and natural nanomaterials as well as material interfaces. We are happy to offer this know-how to external partners, including both companies and institutional partners. Examples of measurements and techniques that we can routinely offer are listed below. We can also after discussion agree on longer-term collaboration agreements for characterization and development of materials according to your wishes.

  • Particle size, morphology and distribution studies, including in organic and biological matrices, using transmission electron microscopy;
  • Particle / colloid size and charge determination using dynamic light scattering;
  • Nanoscale and microscale imaging using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and holography. Additional elemental analysis using EDX;
  • Biointerface and affinity measurements using acoustic and optic surface sensitive techniques (quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D), waveguide spectroscopy (DPI) and surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy (SPR));
  • Optical spectroscopy and quantitative absorbance and fluorometry measurements;
  • Cell and bacteria sample preparation for microscopy: fixation, thin-sectioning and cryo-preparation;
  • Contact angle and pendant drop (surface energy/tension) measurements.
  • For all methods our expertise in data interpretation and multi-modal analysis is additionally available.

Equipment / Infrastructure

The BIMat operates a wide range of infrastructure for its research. Most of the infrastructure is joint with the other institutes of the Department of Nanobiotechnology.

External partners can get access to the institute and department infrastructure after establishing an agreement. Own operation of DNBT-BIMat infrastructure can also be agreed on and take place after proper training. Access to equipment is always conditional on joint research or on payment of our low user fees. Contact the Institute head for detailed information on the conditions to get access to equipment.

A selection of the available equipment is listed below:

Confocal Laser Scanning and STED Microscopy

Several different ones through the VIBT Imaging Center, e.g. Leica SP8 and SP5.

Used for high-resolution (diffraction limited) and super-resolution fluorescence microscopy.

Contact angle

Krüss Easy Drop DSA20E.

Used to measure wettability of substrates using the contact angle approach.

Dual Polarisation Interferometry

Analight (Biolin). Waveguide spectroscopy biosensor.

Used to measure changes in refractive index and thickness of adsorbed molecular films in real time from aqueous samples.

Dynamic Light Scattering and Electrophoretic (zeta potential) measurements

Malvern Zetasizer Nano-ZS.

Measures colloidal particle sizes in the nano size range using DLS. Can also determine zeta potential of colloids through eectrophoretic measurements.


Gel electrophoresis.

Protein identification


Nanofilm E3 SW. Single-wavelength 632nm. Includes flow-cell.

Used to measure the optical thickness and refractive index of thin, transparent films.

Flow cytometer

Beckton Dickinson BD FACSCanto. Flow cytometry without sorting option.

Can measure scattering and fluorescence of colloids in droplets. Used to identify and count cells and bacteria.

Fluorescence microscope

Zeiss. Epi-fluorescence microscope.

Used for non-fluorescence and fluorescence microscopy on biological and non-biological samples.

Freeze-etch / Freeze-fracture

Leica BAF900. Can be combined with high pressure freezer unit HPM100 (also available).

Used for freeze-etching and freeze-fracturing of cryo-frozen samples. Both methods are available. High pressure freezing can be combined. Metal-carbon replicas are created for transmission electron imaging of the topography of the interface.

Glove box chemistry environment

Glovebox Systemtechnik.

Used for handling of chemical materials and chemical synthesis under controlled (oxygen-free) atmosphere.

Langmuir-Blodgett trough

KSV-NIMA. Home-built.

Used to measure surface tension of liquid-air interfaces using thin film balance, and to deposit molecular films assembled at the liquid-air interface to solid substrates at controlled speeds and surface tensions.



For freeze-drying of aquous organic samples.



To produce thin sections (50-150nm) of fixed samples for TEM analysis.

Organic and inorganic chemistry

Chemical work benches. Setups for polymer synthesis and inorganic nanoparticle synthesis.

Pendant drop

Krüss Easy Drop DSA20E.

Used to measure surface tensions of liquid-air and liquid-liquid interfaces.

Protein and polymer purification

Several setups, including FPLC, HPLC and GPC.

Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation monitoring

Q-Sense E4 including electrochemistry cell and potentiostat

For the study of thin films at solid interfaces. Probes the viscoelastic properties and hydrated mass of adsorbates.

Scanning Electron Microscope

FEI Inspect S50. Environmental SEM with cryo-stage. Tungsten gun. Includes EDX analysis.

Used to image nanoscale topography and/or composition of solid samples.

Spin coater

Used for coating planar substrates with thin (mainly micrometer range) films of polymers, e.g. photoresist.

Thermogravimetry analysis

Mettler Toledo. Includes Differential Scanning Calorimetry module. Multiple choice of gases (synthetic air, oxygen, nitrogen). Belongs to the VIBT Extremophile Center and is operated by BIMat.

For investigations of organic mass fraction and composition of small mass amounts.

Thin metal film coating

Leica. BalTec.

For coating of thin (nanometer range) metal films, primarily chrome and gold.

Total Internal Reflection Microscope

Leica. Fluorescence microscope.

Used for surface sensitive microcscopy using an evanescent field to excite fluorophores or scattering centers near a transparent substrate surface.

Transmission Electron Microscope

FEI Tecnai G2 20. 200kV. Tomography stage.

Used for hich resolution (sub-nm) imaging of thin films samples. Can be combined with replicas of freeze-etched and freeze-fractured samples.


Beckman-Coulter Avanti J-26 XP.

Used for separation of samples with different sedimentation rates.


Layerlab. Resonant impedance biosensor of insulating interfaces.

Measures real-time impedance of oxide interfaces upon biomolecule adsorption from aqueous samples.