Ultra-low Vibration Labs in St Andrews

The Ultra-low vibration (ULV) labs in St Andrews are the most advanced of its kind in the UK and one of just a handful worldwide. The facility achieves vibration levels which are about two order of magnitude better than the best industry standard. They will allow for atomic scale characterization of the electronic states and magnetic structure in quantum materials. Since opening of the facility in May last year, three bespoke scanning tunnelling microscopes, which were developed by the research group of Dr Wahl, have been installed. The microscopes are operating at very low temperatures down to 7mK and in magnetic fields up to 14T, providing an energy resolution up to 10μeV. For characterization of the materials, a metal tip of a scanning tunnelling microscope is brought within a few atomic radii of a surface and held there with a stability on the order of picometers. It is this stability, which is required over extended periods of time, which necessitates the complex vibration isolation. The research carried out in the facility will aim at understanding unconventional superconductivity in quantum materials. In particular, the group of Dr Peter Wahl has, using these instruments, recently succeeded in imaging the magnetic structure of quantum materials at the atomic scale.

Low vib labReal space imaging