Common Instrumentation Centre

The Central Instrumentation Facility is an integrated sophistic analytical equipment centre established by VISTAS in 2017 to help the scientific community for their advanced research with nominal charges. Currently, the centre is housed with the state-of-the art field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM), X-ray diffractometer (XRD), BET surface area & pore volume analyzer and particle size analyzer.


To be a reliable equipment facility centre for the advanced research and experimentation, creating a vibrant inter-disciplinary atmosphere.


To help the academic and industrial communities in solving the challenging scientific and industrial tasks using the established non-profitable facilities.


  •     •   To serve the needs of the researchers within VISTAS, other academic institutions and industrial partners with utmost sincerity and dedication.
  •     •   Work in an ambience of transparency, with the commitment of maintaining the confidentiality of the work of the users/researchers.
  •     •   Periodical review of all measurements conducted, to impart actionable insights so as to value to the efforts of the researchers.

(a) Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (Quattro ESEM)

Ultra-high resolution scanning electron microscopy with unique environmental capability coupled with materials spectroscopy tools. The Quattro environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) represents the latest development in Thermo Fischer’s SEM technology, comprising of various analytical accessories including energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) with a unique environmental mode. While the Quattro’s field emission gun (FFG) ensures excellent resolution, the adjustment in the vacuum condition provide flexibility to accommodate the widest range of samples in their natural state. Thus the unique environmental mode (ESEM) allows scientists to study materials in a range of conditions, such as wet/humid, and/or reactive environments.

Picture of Quattro ESEM installed in VISTAS and the high resolution images of gold nanoparticles (b), pollen grains (c), ant specimen (d) and its specific part (e) taken from Quattro ESEM


  •     •   Ultra-high resolution imaging at low kV.
  •     •   Fully integrated electron backscattered detector for compositional information
  •     •   Low kV BSE imaging at short working distance: WD = 1mm
  •     •   Easy operation through Windows based Smart SEM control software
  •     •   Suitable for imaging of non-conductive specimen without sputter coating
  •     •   Environmental mode ensuring the imaging and analytics of the samples in its natural state.


  •     •   Metals and alloys, fractures, welds, polished sections, magnetic and superconducting materials
  •     •   Ceramics, semiconductors, biological samples
  •     •   Thickness measurements of films/coatings
  •     •   Soft materials, polymers, pharmaceuticals, filters, gels, tissues, plant materials
  •     •   Nanoparticles, porous materials, fibers, foam materials
  •     •   Fracture and failure analysis
  •     •   Elemental composition and defect analysis
  •     •   Correlation of surface appearance and morphology.

(b) X-ray diffraction (Rigaku Smart Lab)

Rigaku Smart Lab is the newest and most novel high-resolution X-ray diffractometer (XRD) with the new unique Smart Lab Studio II software, which provides the user with an intelligent user guidance expert system functionality that guides the operator through the intricacies of each experiment. Coupling a computer controlled alignment system with a fully automated optical system, and the user guidance functionality within the Smart Lab Studio II software, ensures the easy handling with high accuracy of results.

Picture of Rigaku Smart Lab X-ray diffractometer installed in VISTAS


  •     •   Highest flux X-ray source: PhotonMax
  •     •   HyPix-3000 high energy resolution 2D detector
  •     •   New CBO family, with fully automated beam switchable CBO-Auto and high-resolution micro area CBO-μ
  •     •   Various operando measurements with the new Smart Lab Studio II


  •     •   Powder and thin film samples
  •     •   Inorganic complexes
  •     •   Minerals, alloys, clays, semiconductors etc.
  •     •   Nanomaterials, polymer samples, metals etc
  •     •   Textile, corrosion and environmental samples.

(c) BET surface area and pore size analyzer (BELSORP)

The BELSORP-max is designed for wide range adsorption isotherm for surface area and pore size distribution analysis. Adsorption isotherms ranging from relative pressure as low as 1 x10-8 (N2 at 77K, Ar at 87K), using a 13.3Pa pressure transducer can be measured. Adsorption isotherms with high accuracy can be obtained as new method (ASFM) for free space measurement has been employed in this equipment.

BET Surface
Picture of BET surface area and pore size analyzer installed in VISTAS


  •     •   Specific surface area, pore size distribution, vapor adsorption and chemisorption (OP) can be measured.
  •     •   Adsorption measurements from extremely low pressures (P/P0 = 10-4– 0.997).
  •     •   Upto 3 samples can be measured simulatenously
  •     •   Coolent level controller is no longer necessary and high reproducible data can be obtained.
  •     •   BELSim, which analyze the pore size distribution by NLDFT and GCMC simulation method can be incorporated into the powerful data analysis software, BELMaster.


  •     •   Specific surface area and pore size distribution of the activated carbon
  •     •   Surface area of catalyst such as mesoporous silica and layered clay minerals
  •     •   Surface area of pharmaceutical powders, ingredients, API’s and excipients
  •     •   Inner surface area of hardened cement paste
  •     •   Surface area of the nanoparticles and electrode materials

(d) Particle size analyzer (Nanotrac Wave II)

Nanotrac Wave II is the accurate particle size zeta potential analyzer ideal for characterizing materials across the widest concentration range. Data’s on particle size, zeta potential, molecular weight and concentration of colloidal systems can be obtained with high accuracy in Nanotrac Wave II as it employs Reference Beating method, which amplifies the signal back to the photodetector.The Nanotrac Wave II provides user with superior particle analysis capability by taking advantage of an enhanced optical signal, innovative probe technology, and advanced algorithms. Whether your material is ppm or near finished product, the Wave II obtains fast, sensitive, and precise measurements of materials ranging from sub-nanometer to several microns.

Picture of Nanotrac Wave II installed in VISTAS


  •     •   180o backscatter collection enables fast and precise measurement across the widest concentration range-from ppm to near solids (40 %).
  •     •   Measures particles in the size range of 0.3~10,000 nm.
  •     •   Measures Zeta potential (measurement range -200 to +200mV) closer to iso-electric point by eliminating the errors caused by electro-osmotic flow.
  •     •   Simultaneous measurement of size and concentration


  •     •   Nanoparticle dispersions
  •     •   Pharmaceuticals/biotechnology
  •     •   Food/Beverages
  •     •   Polymer and coating samples
  •     •   Ink and adhesives

Charge details for using the equipment at Central Instrumentation Laboratory (CIL), VISTAS

Instruments External
Per sample price (In Rupees)
Academic Industries
Powder XRD (Model SmartLab SE X-Ray; Make- Rigaku, Japan) 500 1000
FE-SEM (Model Quattro; Make- ThermoFisher Scientific, USA) 1500 3000
FE-SEM/EDS (Model Quattro; Make- ThermoFisher Scientific, USA) 2000 5000
DLS Analysis - Particle Size (Model Nanotrac Wave II; Make- Microtrac Inc, USA) 1000 2000
DLS Analysis - Particle Size/Zeta potential (Model Nanotrac Wave II; Make- Microtrac Inc, USA) 1500 3000
BET Analysis-Surface Area (Model BETSORP Max; Make- Microtrac BEL, Japan) 2000 4000
BET Analysis -Surface Area/Absorption isotherm (Model BETSORP Max; Make- Microtrac BEL, Japan) 2500 5000
HP-TLC (Qualitative Analysis)- 2000 2000
HP-TLC (Quantitative Analysis) 3000 3000
Instruments Internal charges
per sample
(In Rupees)
Powder XRD 400
FE-SEM 1200
DLS Analysis - Particle Size 800
DLS Analysis - Particle Size/Zeta potential 1000
BET Analysis-Surface Area 1000
BET Analysis -Surface Area/Absorption isotherm 1500
HP-TLC (Qualitative Analysis) 2000
HP-TLC (Quantitative Analysis) 3000

Terms and Condition:
  •    • Original and Photocopy of DD drawn in favor of “VISTAS, CHENNAI” payable at Chennai, should be submitted at the time of analysis along with sample and request form
  •    • Photocopy of the receipt for payment made by cash should be submitted at the time of analysis along with sample and request form

How to contact the Centre?

Dr. T. Somanathan
Central Instrumentation Laboratory (CIL)
Chennai - 600 117, Tamil Nadu, India
Mobile: 9789948853