Equipment availability View equipment availability

The CMU Materials Characterization Facility is open to researchers across Carnegie Mellon’s campus, as well as external users from corporate, government, and university affiliates. More than 220 individual researchers take advantage of the facility each year. Contracts are available for external partners interested in using our lab directly as well as those who seek remote fee-for-service work. Once a member, all researchers may benefit from:

  • Staff support and training
  • Networking opportunities with students, postdocs, faculty, and staff
  • Access to state-of-the-art instrumentation

Internal access

Up-close view of MCF equipment

The Materials Characterization Facility is open 24 hours to researchers and isstaffed Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. In order to gain access, researchers should:

  1. Contact Betsy Clark to discuss your project. In your email, please include:
    • The nature of your required analysis and the necessary steps to prepare specific samples for that analysis. Be sure to consider the necessary resolution, sensitivity, spatial area, the need for specific location analysis, etc. We suggest accessing scientific literature for example articles that perform the same sort of analysis that you are preparing for and then use that available information to develop your initial plan.
    • What specific instrument you anticipate you will want to use.
    • Any prior experience you may have had. If you have no prior experience, try to sit behind a colleague and watch them use the instrument for a session or two.
  2. MCF staff will arrange a day and time to begin training in the facility. Instrument handbooks are available here. Please read the instrument handbook before you arrive to your training. We also recommend bringing a printed copy with you to take notes during your training sessions.
  3. Depending on the instrument, proficiency could be attained within 1 - 5 training sessions. Proficiency is determined by MCF staff. Upon this determination, the user is “certified” to use the instrument on their own.

External researcher access

The Materials Characterization Facility welcomes external users from corporate, government, and university affiliates. In order to gain access researchers must contact Marc DeGraef or Betsy Clark for rates and fees and additional information.

Internal rates and fees

Electron microscopy

Equipment Rate ($/hour)
FEI Quanta 200 FEG SEM $65
FEI Quanta 600 FEG SEM $65
FEI Plasma Dual Beam FIB $90
FEI Nova Nanolab 600 Dual Beam FIB $60
FEI Tecnai F20 TEM/STEM $60
Thermofisher Themis TEM/STEM $90


Equipment Rate ($/hour)
Panalytical X’Pert Pro MPD X-Ray Diffractometer $35
Panalytical X’Pert Pro MRD X-Ray Diffractometer $35
Malvern Panalytical Empyrean X-Ray Diffractometer $40
Xenocs Xeuss 3.0 SAXS/WAXS Coming Oct ’22
3D Computed Tomography Coming Aug ’22

Scanning probe microscopy

Equipment Rate ($/hour)
NT-MDT Solver NEXT SPM $35
NT-MDT NTegra SMP $35
NT- MDT Spectra AFM/Raman $35

Optical microscopy

Equipment Rate ($/monthly)
Optical Microscopy Lab $25

Sample prep lab

Equipment Rate ($/monthly)
Sample Prep Lab $25