Main Menu

shared facilities



The MRSEC currently enjoys effective partnerships with several distinct experimental facilities within the College of Science and Engineering, including the Characterization Facility (CharFac), the Minnesota Nano Center (MNC), the Polymer Characterization Facility, the Polymer Synthesis Facility, and the X-ray, Mass Spectrometry, and NMR labs located in Chemistry. These multi-user facilities are operated and maintained by skilled individuals, who train new users, foster user communities, maintain and upgrade equipment, and develop new characterization methods and applications. All these facilities are available to UMN investigators and external academic and industrial customers, via a tiered user fee structure. Students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, MRSEC summer participants, and external academic and industrial visitors have full "hands-on" access to the equipment after training and certification by the appropriate staff. These shared facilities create a natural environment for stimulating collaborative interactions among individuals from various sectors.


Characterization Facility

MN Nano Center

Polymer Characterization Facility

Polymer Synthesis Facility

Molecular Characterization Facilities

Materials Research Facilities Network


Characterization Facility

The Characterization Facility ("CharFac") is a multi-user, shared instrumentation facility for materials research spanning from nanotechnology to biology and medicine. Our analytical capabilities include microscopy via electron beams, force probes and visible light; elemental and chemical imaging including depth profiling; elemental, chemical and mass spectroscopy; atomic and molecular structure analysis via X-ray, ion or electron scattering; nanomechanical and nanotribological probes; and other tools for surface and thin-film metrology.

more info


Minnesota Nano Center (MNC)

With an annual budget of roughly $2M and 13 permanent staff members, the MNC operates a 7000 square foot facility, including 3000 square feet of Class 10 clean room. Under the direction of Steve Campbell, the lab contains all of the major pieces of processing equipment needed for top-down fabrication. This includes both dc and rf sputtering for the deposition of metals, metal oxides, and metal nitrides, four conventional tubes and two rapid thermal processing systems for growing oxides and annealing various thin films deposited on various substrates, one plasma and three low pressure thermal chemical vapor deposition systems for depositing undoped and doped polysilicon, silicon dioxide, PSG, BPSG, silicon nitride, low stress nitride, silicon oxynitride, and amorphous silicon, an atomic layer deposition system, three optical photolithography systems including an i-line stepper, three reactive ion etching systems for both fluorine and chlorine-based chemistries including through-wafer etching, a high density plasma etching tool, and an ion mill. Additional tools for nanotechnology applications include a direct write electron beam lithography system, a nano imprint tool, and a focussed ion beam system. The NFC not only maintains these systems, it also provides online scheduling, maintains safe operating procedures, and trains students in the operation of the equipment. MNC operates under a significant subsidy from the State of Minnesota and is a member of the NSF-supported National Nano Infrastructure Network (www.nnin.org). This allows academic users to operate the equipment while paying less than 50% of the actual cost.

more info


Polymer Characterization Facility

The Polymer Characterization Facility houses an extensive collection of rheometers (Rheometric Scientific RMS-800, ARES, SR-200, RFX, RME, RSA, TA Instruments AR-G2, Goettfert Capillary), lab-scale processing equipment (Rheomix 60 mixer, Prism 16 mm twin screw extruder, DACA mixer, Morgan Industries injection molder), and characterization instruments (Perkin Elmer Pyris DSC, Perkin Elmer DSC7, TA Instruments Q1000 DSC, Polymer Labs GPC-220 high temperature GPC; Coulter LS230 particle size analyzer).

more info


Polymer Synthesis Facility

This facility includes 18 vacuum/inert gas lines for controlled polymerizations on the 50 g scale, a scale-up reactor for 1 kg batch polymerizations, and eight high pressure reactors for catalytic hydrogenation or other polymer modification reactions. Used routinely by almost all IRG-1 graduate students and postdocs, these facilities are available for external users, for training, and for custom synthesis for academic and industrial collaborators.

more info


Molecular Characterization Facilities

The mass spectrometry facility houses four mass spectrometers (Bruker BioTOF II, Bruker Reflex III, Finnigan MAT95, VG 70SE). The NMR Lab maintains five Varian NMR Spectrometers (200, 500, and three 300 MHz) and one EPR. The X-ray Crystallographic Laboratory has two Bruker-AXS platform diffractometers with CCD area detectors and sealed-tube 3-KW X-ray generators.


Materials Research Facilities Network (MRFN)

The Materials Research Facilities Network is a nationwide partnership of NSF supported MRSEC centers designed to provide support to researchers in the broad area of Materials Research in academic, government and industrial laboratories around the world. The goal of the Facilities Network is to provide users with unprecedented access to instruments, techniques and collaborators in order to enhance their studies of the synthesis, characterization and theory of materials. Initial members of the MRSEC Facilities Network are the University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Massachusetts Amherst; University of Southern Mississippi; University of Minnesota; and the University of Wisconsin Madison.

more info






The University is funded through the National Science Foundation MRSEC Program, Award DMR-1420013


Contact Information

UMN MRSEC

435 Amundson Hall, 421 Washington Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55455

P: 612-626-0713 | F: 612-626-7805