College of Science and Engineering Characterization Facility

Upcoming Events

IPRIME Virtual Program Reviews in August

In place of usual Annual Meeting, IPRIME will present a serives of Virtual Program Reviews.

Aug. 4-6, 2020

View the full schedule.

News and Information

CharFac Operations Update

As of the week of May 25 CharFac is operating as follows:

  • Full access of labs by the scientific staff (lab managers) including analytical services whether simple/routine or for more substantial, collaborative work, as well as instrument and lab maintenance;
  • Hands-on access for trained, significantly experienced users, by one of three initial routes:
    1. Those UMN researchers from CSE who are submitting the standard web form for re-accessing campus labs should include a request for CharFac access in appropriate field of the web form.
    2. If the previous web form for a UMN user has already been submitted but without requesting CharFac access, or in general if the requester is from another UMN college (not CSE), then please submit again (same attachments) but route to haugs001 as dept approver (which then goes to the CSE Research Associate Dean for final approval and notification of CharFac).
    3. If a non-UMN user, please request access by emailing
  • If a requesting user (in routes 1-3) has active billing information in their CharFac account, an email from CharFac will detail final steps to regain access (i.e., hygiene/safety sign-off). Please be sure to check your billing info status.
  • As always contact the lab managers for more specific information on the system(s) sought. Moreover, all web-based scheduling will be performed by the staff, not the users.
  • Some very brief in-person assistance may be possible under appropriate physical distancing, but lengthier assistance sessions may need to be provided remotely where possible.

As of the week of July 6, user training is now possible on select instruments. Please contact the pertinent lab manager if interested in training.

Continuing during reduced operations, if you have questions about processing or interpreting your data, or describing our systems for a paper, dossier or thesis, please email us. We can also arrange a phone call or a Zoom or Skype session to help with data processing software.

University guidance on research laboratory operations:

Univeristy of Minnesota Laboratories: Preparing for the Impact of COVID-19

Please bookmark and consult University's main COVID-19 page:

Public Health Alerts

Finally, please be aware of CDC recommendations for personal protection and community spread reduction:

CDC: How to Protect Yourself

With the ever-evolving situation, we will continue to push updates out to you as we receive them through email and our web page. Thank you for your understanding and patience as we all do our part to support our entire community.

New equipment

Two New AFMs at CharFac

We are excited to announce the installation of two new atomic force microscopy instruments.

  1. Bruker Dimension Icon:The first large-sample/motorized stage system in CharFac's 30-year history. In addition to a vacuum chuck that can secure many samples at digitally defined locations, the Icon features a low noise, fully closed-loop XYZ scanner with a 12-micron Z range. Importantly this scanner removes the artifacts of nonlinearity and cross coupling generated by its piezoelements.
  2. An "AFM-IR" system, The Bruker/Anasys NanoIR3: This system uses infrared laser light focused around the tip-sample interface, along with photo absorption-induced sample response (e.g., expansion) sensed at the tip-sample interface, to provide IR absorption images down to ~10 nm spatial resolution. Mapped chemical information can be collected in a hyperspectral way (spectrum per measurement site) or more quickly/densely by imaging a particular absorption line.

We anticipate users from multiple colleges within the university as well as external clients and collaborators from industry and academia.

More Information about them here: 2newAFMs.pdf.

Please contact: with questions.

Two new XRD instruments

The following two major XRD instruments have been installed in the CharFac's Shepherd Labs basement facility. Please contact the Drs. Javier G. Barriocanal or Seema Thakral to discuss instrument capabilities. (Click on Staff link for contact information)

Rigaku Smartlab XE

Photo of Rigaku Smartlab XE

A high resolution six-circle diffractometer ideal for the study of thin-films, single crystal and powder samples that would require angular resolutions as small as 0.005℃. Special features

  • Numerous options to select among pre-sample and post sample optics, sample stages and detector modes
  • Suitable for applications such as XRR / HRXRD / RSM / In-plane XRD / PF / HRPD / µ-XRD
  • Cu sealed X-ray tube and a HyPix-3000 two dimensional detector. The detector has a maximum count rate of at least 108 cps/mm2 and a 15% energy resolution to reject spurious signals, reducing the overall background of the measurements and increasing the outstanding dynamic range of detection.
  • Non-ambient stages to conduct in operando measurements from -180 C to 1100 ℃ in various environments.

Rigaku Smartlab SE

Photo of Rigaku Smartlab SE

The instrument is configured as a powder diffractometer with Bragg-Brentano optics, copper X-ray sealed tube, computer controlled variable divergence slit and the D/teX Ultra one-dimensional detector. It will house the third non-ambient sample stage: the Oxford Cryosystems PheniX cryostat. This closed loop He cryostat allows a temperature range of measurement from 12 K to 290 K without consumables and is perfect for crystallographic studies of organics, inorganics, drugs, minerals and other materials at very low temperatures.



Main Office

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

Phone:  (612) 626-7594
Fax:  (612) 625-5368