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Housed in ICTAS CRC, the Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Lab is an Instrumentation Facility for Researchers


Technology is at a unique point in history.
Engineering systems are now the same size as basic units of life. Sensors and probes operate at the cellular level, and materials are manipulated at even smaller dimensions – down to individual atoms.

The NCFL was created to provide researchers with the tools to work in converging disciplines at these dimensions. Established in 2007, it is an initiative of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science at Virginia Tech. The facility is equipped with more than $10 million in highly specialized equipment, more than half of which was made possible through funding provided by Commonwealth Research Initiative. It seeks to help researchers investigate novel phenomena and build transforming technologies that solve critical challenges.

The NCFL provides:

  • Access to advanced equipment for electron microscopy, optical microscopy, and several spectroscopic techniques
  • Training for students and researchers in the use of the lab’s instrumentation
  • Short courses and characterization services for industry

We are facilitating research in:

  • Targeted delivery of nano-medicine
  • Fuel cells
  • Nanoscale engineering and the environment
  • Self-assembled nanostructures
  • Nano-metrology and nano-manufacturing
  • Paleobiology


You are required to have a valid PO before being able to use the instruments. You WILL NOT be able to log in and use the instruments without one. Please plan ahead.


  • NCFL TEM Usage and Training Notice
    (August 21, 2022)

All previously scheduled NCFL TEM training sessions will need to be cancelled immediately due to an unexpected staffing shortage. New sessions will not be scheduled at this time. In the meantime, if you require TEM training or sample analysis, please contact and we will work with you to devise alternative plans for obtaining TEM training and sample analysis in a timely manner. NanoEarth-related TEM sample analysis can still be coordinated through the NanoEarth Application and Usage Process. Thank you for your patience and please know that we’re doing all we can to resolve this situation as soon as possible.