Our Lab

Surrounded by the rolling hills of Klosterneuburg and just a short drive into the center of Vienna, our lab at ISTA is perfectly positioned!

TQM Lab floorplan

Our lab is situated on the 3rd floor of Lab Building West with three windows overlooking the cantina patio. Our lab consists of two small 10 m2 measurement labs and a 65 m2 main lab. One of the measurement labs is used for fine sample prep work, and the other houses the pumps and compressors for the Teslatrons. The benefit of moving into a brand new physics building allowed us to carefully tailor the infrastructure, including electricity, gas flow, chilled water, etc., for our needs. Everything needed to run each system is hanging from the ceiling directly above each cryostat. The lab is prepared for the operation of four Teslatrons (14, 12 and two 8 teslas) and we’re looking forward to maximizing its potential!


Oxford Instruments Teslatron PT magnet


Almost all of our experiments are done in a magnetic field, which is created by passing current through a superconducting coil. We currently have two cryogen-free magnet systems purchased from Oxford Instruments, known as the TeslatronPT; one with a maximum field of 12 tesla and the other of 14 tesla. Within each cryostat, a 4He variable temperature insert (VTI) allows us to carefully control temperature between 300 K and 1.5 K. 

Heliox-VT by Oxford Instruments

The Heliox-VT — a 3He insert — fits inside of the VTI and allows us to reach a base temperature of 300 mK for up to 40 hours. Because the same cryostat design is used for both magnets, the Heliox-VT and all other measurement probes, can easily be swapped between the 12 T and 14 T magnets. During measurement, samples can either be in exchange gas or in vacuum depending upon the needs of the experiment.    

Helios G4 dual beam system PFIB

Plasma Focused Ion Beam

To be able to prepare unique experiments on quantum materials, our group relies on the combined use of a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and focused ion beam (FIB). The Helios G4 dualbeam system offers efficient material ablation over large areas with high-resolution imaging. This allows us to customize the shape and size of materials, design micron-sized electrical contacts, and alter the cantilevers or substrates for a variety of reasons. The system is also equipped with energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) detectors for compositional and structural analysis of the materials, respectively. EBSD is mainly used to identify the crystallographic axes on small single crystals, and an in-situ nanomanipulator enables precise alignment of these axes with respect to the direction of current flow or the externally applied magnetic field, for example. 

Kim Modic PFIB

leica microscope and sample
leica microscope


In the lab, we have three all-purpose optical microscopes; the Olympus SZX7 and SZX16 and the Leica M205 C with camera/video capabilities. The Olympus microscopes are in the main lab, both positioned on the long bench in front of the windows. These are the go-to microscopes for soldering or other bench work. The SZX16 provides magnification 115x with a working distance of 81mm, and the SZX7 sacrifices magnification for more working distance. Both Olympus microscopes are mounted on double-armed boom stands so that they can be moved around and tilted, which is perfect for mounting and wiring samples in hard-to-access places, like the side of a probe. The Leica microscope is in the smaller side lab and it is used for our finest work. It has 240x magnification and a working distance of 61.5mm. The high magnification, good optics, and multiple lighting options make it ideal for viewing our smallest samples, while providing just enough space to work with your hands. A 50/50 beamsplitter allows one person to view through the eyepieces, while others can watch on a nearby monitor. The high-quality digital camera captures fine details in high resolution for publication-quality images!

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