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shared facilities

MRSEC researchers enjoy ready access to a number of multiuser instrumentation facilities at the University of Minnesota, as well as to selected equipment in individual laboratories within the College of Science and Engineering, including:

These facilities are available to UMN investigators and external academic and industrial customers. The CSE Characterization Facility, the Minnesota Nano Center, and the Polymer Characterization Facility offer a tiered user fee structure. Users from the UMN, other academic institutions, and IPRIME Visiting Scientists are charged at University rates. Students, postdocs, 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 numerous sectors. Many of the professional staff are internationally recognized experts in their fields and formally collaborate with MRSEC investigators and individuals from other institutions.

Titan STEM/TEM microscope in laboratory

Scientists working at the Characterization Facility

Characterization Facility

12 Shepherd Labs
100 Union St. S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455

phone: 612-626-7594


The Characterization Facility ("CharFac") is a multi-user, shared instrumentation facility for materials research spanning from nanotechnology to biology and medicine.

This facility provides access to:

Scientist observing sample at the Minnesota Nano Center

Minnesota Nano Center

140 Physics & Nanotechnology Building
115 Union St. SE
Minneapolis, MN, 55455

phone: 612-624-8005


The Minnesota Nano Center (MNC) supports the fabrication, synthesis, and characterization of nanoscale devices and materials for both academic and industrial users. The lab offers all of the major pieces of processing equipment needed for top-down fabrication.

The Nano Center also offers laboratories for synthesizing and analyzing nanomaterials and for exploring biological applications of nanotechnology; tools include dynamic light scattering, optical particle tracking, cell culture equipment, fluorescence/confocal microscopy, and a state-of-the-art analytical ultracentrifuge

This facility provides access to:

View down the server stacks at the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute

Minnesota Supercomputing Institute

559 Walter Library
117 Pleasant St. SE
Minneapolis, MN, 55455

phone: 612-624-0528


The Minnesota Supercomputing Institute has the software, hardware, and experts to provide the support you need for your research no matter what the research area.

MSI Facilities Overview (Short):

Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) is the University of Minnesota's principle center for computational research. MSI also operates several data centers on campus. Its main data center is located in the basement of Walter Library (room B40) on the University Twin Cities campus. It has an IT raised floor surface of approximately 3700 sq.ft. and slightly over 1 MW of available power. The Institute HPC systems are comprised of over 40,000 X86 64-bit compute cores and 145 TB of RAM, which can support over 1.6 PFLOPS of peak performance. HPC nodes are equipped with between 64 GB and 2 Tb of RAM to support applications that require small and large amounts of memory, 32 nodes have Solid State Drives (SSDs) to support applications with demanding input and output (I/O) requirements, and 57 nodes include various configurations of the NVidia general purpose GPU accelerators (K40 and V100), from 2- to 8-way.

In addition to the supercomputing systems, MSI also supports on premise cloud platforms for specialized data use agreements, prototyping, and customizable software environments, interfaces and systems for advanced scientific visualization, and interactive computing. MSI manages two large storage systems: a high performance parallel files system (6.5 PB), and a CEPH/S3 tier 2 object storage system (4.0 PB). MSI hosts a SpectraLogic T950 tape library with expansion capabilities for over 30 PB of online storage, which is used to backup high value files. The data center is connected to the 100 Gbps campus research network via multiple 40 GbE connections. The University maintains 100 Gbps connections to our regional optical network, which in turn is connected to Internet2 and beyond. MSI provides the infrastructure and expertise to the greater Minnesota University system. In addition to the diverse systems, more than half of the MSI staff are available to provide expert consulting in areas such as research informatics, software development, and algorithm optimization.

Photo of lab equipment at the Polymer Characterization Facility

The Polymer Characterization and Processing Facility

Amundson Hall
421 Washington Ave SE
Minneapolis MN 55455

For more information: contact us


The Polymer Characterization and Processing Facility is available to University researchers and industrial clients. Assistance or collaboration is available for testing, training, and interpretation of results.

This facility provides access to:

Photo of samples at the Molecular Characterization Facilities

Molecular Characterization Facilities
(LeClaire-Dow Instrumentation Facility)

193 Kolthoff Hall
225 Pleasant St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

The Molecular Characerization Facilities house the:

These laboratories annually support hundreds of researchers in the Department of Chemistry, across the university, and from other institutions and industries.

These facilities provide access to:

Mass Spectrometry Laboratory

Seven mass spectrometers:

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Laboratory

Five NMR spectrometers:

X-Ray Crystallographic Laboratory

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.

To inquire about possible MRFN financial support to supplement user fees for equipment and services at the University of Minnesota, email:

National Science Foundation

Funded by the National Science Foundation through the University of Minnesota MRSEC under Award Number DMR-2011401

Contact Information


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

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