Shared Facilities

A series of state of the art centralized facilities for Materials Research are located within the department and across campus. The following equipment and technologies are available for use in Materials Science Research.

Singh Center for Nanotechnology

The Singh Center is centered around four major research facilities, all featuring state-of-the-art equipment for nanoscale characterization, measurement, and fabrication: the Quattrone Nanofabrication Facility, the Nanoscale Characterization Facility, the Scanning and Local Probe Facility, and the Material Property Measurement Facility.

Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM):

The Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter, the LRSM, is the center for materials research at the University of Pennsylvania. It was established in 1960 as one of the first Materials Research Laboratories to be funded by the forerunner of DARPA. In 1972 funding was taken over by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Materials Research, NSF-DMR under the aegis of the MRL program. In 1996, the core of the materials research program at the LRSM was supported as a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, MRSEC, funded by an NSF-DMR.

MSE Departmental Laboratory

The MSE Departmental Laboratory is equipped with a variety of research-grade equipment providing a broad range of materials processing and characterization capabilities.  In addition to supporting the teaching needs of the department, the lab also serves as a shared resource to the university for interdisciplinary materials research.  Users may reserve instrument time through the lab’s shared resource calendar website.  For additional information or to request access to the lab, contact the Lab Manager, Steve Szewczyk.

The MSE Departmental Laboratory houses the following major equipment:

X-Ray Diffraction

  • Rigaku MiniFlex 6G theta-2theta vertical goniometer benchtop powder diffraction system
  • Siemens D5000 theta-theta vertical goniometer powder diffraction system with optional high and low temperature stages, controlled humidity, automatic sample changer, and grazing incidence optics.
  • ICCD PDF-2 database and Panalytical X’Pert High Score Plus software are available for data analysis

Thermal Analysis and Mechanical Testing

  • TA Instruments Q2000 differential scanning calorimeter with liquid nitrogen cooling system
  • TA Instruments Q600 simultaneous thermogravimetric analyzer/differential scanning calorimeter with optionally coupled Pfeiffer Thermostar Mass Spectrometer
  • TA Instruments Q400EM thermomechanical analyzer
  • TA Instruments RSAIII dynamic mechanical analyzer with liquid nitrogen cooling system
  • Instron model 4206 150 kN electromechanical universal testing machine with fixtures for tension, compression, and bending.  Simultaneous sampling analog to digital data acquisition hardware.  Custom LabVIEW software incorporates signals from the testing machine with local strain measurements from one or more of the following: two strain gauge extensometers, an MTS LX1500 laser extensometer, bridge completion and signal conditioning hardware for 120Ω strain gauges, and an image capture system for live digital image correlation.

Metallographic Preparation

  • South Bay Technology Model 650 low speed diamond wheel saw
  • Struers LaboPress-3 hot compression specimen mounting press
  • Two Struers RotoPol-22/RotoForce-4 systems for semi-automatic grinding and polishing.  One system is set up with a RotoCom/Multidoser unit for automatic polishing with diamond suspensions.
  • Allied MultiPrep-8 precision polishing system
  • Struers Tenupol-3 electrolytic polishing system
  • Syntron LP01C vibratory polishing machine

Spectroscopy and Particle Size Analysis

  • Varian Cary 5000 UV-VIS-NIR Spectrophotometer for measuring optical transmission or absorption of spectra of wavelengths from 175nm to 3300nm through the sample. Specimen holders for both solid and liquid samples are available.
  • Ocean Optics USB-4000 fiber optic coupled VIS-NIR spectrometer.  Various light sources and optomechanical components are available to configure this spectrometer for the measurement of fluorescence spectra, variable angle specular reflectance spectra, integrated diffuse reflectance, and colorimetric data.
  • Malvern nano-s dynamic light scattering particle size analyzer

Electrical Testing and Measurement

  • Six electrical test benches, each with modern Tektronix computer-programmable instrumentation (dual PWS4323 DC power supplies, DMM4020 and DMM4050 digital multimeters, an AFG2021 arbitrary function generator, and a TDS1001C-EDU  oscilloscope) and a PC workstation with National Instruments high-speed multifunction data acquisition hardware (NI PCIe-6351 or PCI-6251 with BNC-2120 connector block).
  • Keithley 2400 general purpose source-meter with kelvin probes, a Signatone micromanipulator 2-point probe station, and a Jandel 4-point probe.

Materials Processing

  • Analytical balances, a spin coater, a thermal evaporator, an electrospinning station, sonicators, a centrifuge, a vortexer, powder mills, uniaxial, heated platen, and cold isostatic hydraulic presses, aluminaware and glassware, a glove box, fume hoods, vacuum pumps, ovens, hot plates, etc.

High Temperature Processing

  • Eight muffle furnaces with various chamber sizes, three general purpose 1200°C tube furnaces, a vertical 1600°C tube furnace, a 1450°C tube furnace, a salt bath, and a fluidized bed.


  • JEOL JCM-7000 NeoScope benchtop scanning electron microscope equipped with a large chamber, high and low vacuum modes, secondary and backscatter electron detectors, a tilt-rotation holder, and a camera-assisted stage navigation system. This instrument is reserved for teaching and outreach use only.
  • Three Olympus BH-2 optical microscopes with infinity corrected plan achromatic objectives and one SZ-60 stereo-zoom microscope. Capabilities include brightfield, darkfield, and polarized illumination, differential interference contrast, and epifluorescence. Various c-mount digital cameras are available for displaying on a large format display and capturing images at high-speed, high-resolution, or high-sensitivity. One BH-2 is configured as a teaching microscope with ten viewing stations.
  • Macrophotography stand with Canon 90D digital SLR

Additional Campus Resources:

Chemistry Department: