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About The Characterization Facility


Main Office

Phone:  (612) 626-7594
Fax:  (612) 625-5368
Email:  
12 Shepherd Labs
100 Union St. S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Mission, objectives, and strategies

Facility Specialists

Our Background

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The Characterization Facility ("CharFac") is a multi-user, shared instrumentation facility for materials research spanning from nanotechnology to biology and medicine.  Our analytical capabilities include microscopy via electron beams, force probes and visible light, including cryogenic methods; elemental and chemical imaging including depth profiling; elemental and chemical spectroscopy; atomic and molecular structure analysis via X-ray, ion or electron scattering; nanomechanical and nanotribological probes; and other tools for surface and thin-film metrology.

CharFac resides administratively under the College of Science and Engineering with additional support from the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Medical School, the School of Dentistry, the College of Pharmacy and the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS). Approximately 140 faculty research programs use our capabilities; these researchers originate from about 40 University of Minnesota departments and units under eight colleges. The CharFac also works with some 50 industrial companies in a typical year, ranging from small start-ups to multinational corporations, and a couple dozen external academic institutions. These interactions include analytical services, training for independent use, and research collaboration. Finally, the CharFac has received financial support for equipment from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) via their Major Research Instrumentation grant programs, and from the University's NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC). Relatedly, the CharFac is a key node in the Materials Research Facilities Network (MRFN), which provides financial support for facilities usage by researchers from any US higher education institution.


The Characterization Facility is located on the East Bank campus of the University of Minnesota in the basements of Shepherd Labs and Nils Hasselmo Hall, and in Moos Tower.


Shepherd Labs

Shepherd Labs photo
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Nils Hasselmo Hall

Nils Hasselmo Hall photo
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Moos Tower

Moos Tower photo
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Shepherd Labs Basement Map

Shepherd Labs basement layout