Materials Characterization

To Set Up a User Account:

Account Setup

To Place an Order:

Place an Order

The Materials Characterization Lab is a user research facility in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of Utah. The lab offers researchers access to a wide range of analytical instrumentation and services.

For more information about rates and capabilities, please visit

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)


  • Secondary electron resolution: 3.5nm to 50nm (sample dependent)
  • Backscatter electron resolution: 5.5nm to 100nm (sample dependent)
  • Magnification: 15 to 100,000x
  • Filament: Tungsten filament
  • Accelerating voltage: 0.3 to 30 kV

Panalytical X’Pert X-Ray Diffractometer (XRD)


  • Angles between 10-135 degrees 2theta
  • Suitable for inorganic materials
  • Powders and solid materials at ambient temperatures
  • Particle sizing on nanomaterials
  • Pattern analysis using a ICSD database with 100,000+ material catalog
  • Rietveld analysis

Tabletop Instron (5969)


  • Maximum Capacity: 50kN (5,000 kg, 11,250 lb)
  • Test Speed Range: 0.001 to 600 mm/min (0.00004 to 24 in/min)
  • 50 kN Wedge Action Grips
  • Strain Gauge Extensometer, 1 in gauge length
  • Bluehill 3 Testing Software

Bruker D2 Phaser XRD


  • 2theta angles form 1-150 degrees
  • Rotating Sample Stage (phi rotation)
  • State of the art Lynxeye Detector
  • Phase Identification with EVA Software
  • COD Database
  • Suitable for powder materials

Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTIR) with Attentuated Total Reflectance (ATR)


  • Mid-IR Source
  • KBr Beam-Splitter
  • DTGS (Deuterated Tri-Glycine Sulfate) Detector
  • Approximate Range: 7,500-400 (cm^-1)
  • Diamond ATR Crystal Accessory



  • Approximate Range: 175-3300 nm
  • UV/Vis Resolution: <= 0.05 nm
  • NIR Resolution: <= 0.20 nm
  • Integrating Sphere – 150 mm PbS Module Accessory
    • Reflectance Range: 200-2500 nm
    • Transmittance: 190-2500 nm
  • Universal Reflectance Accessory (URA)
    • Automated Angular Range 8 degrees – 65 degrees in 0.5″ steps
    • Range: 175-3300 nm

Gold Sputterer


  • Fast DC Sputtering of gold or palladium



  • Material thermal expansion testing
  • Temperature: RT – 1,200 degrees C
  • Atmospheres: Air, Ar, N2

Optical Microscopes

LECO Polisher


  • Six Sample Holder

Detailed information for setting up an account and placing an order:


To set up a user account: click on the red “Account Setup” button at the top of the overview page. This will take you to links with a form to fill out. There will be different forms if you are an on-campus user or an off-campus user. When you fill out the form completely, the last line on the page that says “(complete form to submit)” will turn from red to green and then you will be able to submit it (This includes filling out the Acknowledge Legal Responsibility part near the bottom of the form).


Once you submit a work authorization form, your PI will get an email message with a hyperlink used to approve or deny the work authorization. The link expires after 72 hours. If the authorization is not approved or denied within 72 hours, a new link will need to be created. After approval, the Cores administration will process the authorization and send you an email with username and password information.


To place an order, log in under the HSC Resources Login tab at the top of the cores website. Once you have logged in, you will see a page with several different University of Utah Services. The MCL is found in blue near the center of the page, called “Materials Characterization.” Upon selecting the MCL, you can schedule the needed equipment (on the left side of the page) or view recent news regarding the instrumentation (on the right side of the page). Please contact us if you have any questions or if you have not been trained on the machine you need.

Spring Semester Hours of Operation

Monday through Friday 9 AM to 5 PM MST

Saturday and Sunday Closed


Kimberly Watts, Director

Angela Nelson, Administrative Officer


University of Utah

Meldrum Civil Engineering Building (MCE) Room 1325

110 Central Campus Drive

Salt Lake City, UT 84112