Materials Research Institute

the pennsylvania state university

Materials Characterization Lab


The Materials Characterization Laboratory (MCL) is an interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers, a fully-staffed, open access, analytical research facility at Penn State's Materials Research Institute. MCL is charged with enabling research and educating the next generation of highly qualified researchers. MCL offers complete sample preparation, ananlysis, interpretation, report writing, and consultation to industry, and hands-on-training to both students and industry users.
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Nanofabrication Lab

The Nanofab

the Nanofab provides faculty, students, and industry researchers access to sophisticated instruments for micro-and nanofabrication. The Nanofab’s 10,000-square-foot state-of-the-art cleanroom is supported by 6,000 square feet of space for utilities in the subfab. The Penn State Nanofab offers expertise in “top-down” (e.g. deposition, etching) and “bottom up” (e.g. self- assembling films) nanofabrication.
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Research Expertise

New & Emerging Fields

Additive Manufacturing, Bio-inspired Engineering, Humanitarian & Cultural Materials Engineering, and more...
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Impact Research Areas

Nanoscale Electromagnetics, Energy Storage, Piezoelectric Thin/Thick Films, and more...
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Upcoming Events

The Millennium Café Weekly Collaboration

Please Join Us!
Every Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Exchanging ideas and challenges

March 10, 2015

No Cafe - Enjoy Your Spring Break!

Details & Past Cafés

Materials Research News & Press Releases

concentrating photovoltaic systemHigh efficiency concentrating solar cells move to the rooftop

February 5, 2014 - Ultra-high efficiency solar cells similar to those used in space may now be possible on your rooftop thanks to a new microscale solar concentration technology developed by an international team of researchers.

Customer Quotes

  • "The level of technical resources provided by the PSU Nanofab can help enable and extend the continued growth and global reach of our Pennsylvania-based company. We enthusiastically support the PSU Nanofab and will actively seek ways to strengthen our relationship with this valuable resources."

  • "As a small business resources are often limited, Nanofab worked with our engineers to produce micro featured gears for one of our medical devices. The bench top gear data was leveraged to support a successfully awarded Phase II NSF grant."

  • "Nanovus is successful at the Penn State Nanofab because the world class facility is well maintain by a professional dedicated staff. There are baseline recipes for all of the equipment and the staff actively provides technical support on the equipment and process flow. The Nanofab is complemented by the professionally staffed, full characterization suite in the same building. I have not found the the breadth or depth of abilities anywhere else."

  • "We have been using the fabrication facilities at Penn State to build and characterize our development devices for five years. The equipment is well maintained by a knowledgeable, capable, and helpful staff so its ready when we are. We've saved millions in capital and operational expenditures; more importantly, we saved precious time. Great job, keep it up!"

  • The Nanofab at Penn State was instrumental in getting a customer program started for us. The technical staff quickly developed a material that met our design criteria which has enabled us to launch a prototype run for a novel MEMS device. Moving forward with the project, I have been impressed with the level of customer service and how quickly I was able to get trained in the Nanofab as a commercial lab user. The engagement here was differentiating for us and the staff support has allowed us to maintain our milestone timeline. The Penn State Nanofab has been a great technology partner. We look forward to completing this project successfully and expect to work on new projects together in the future.

Researchers Spotlight

Zak Al Balushi

Materials Student Al Balushi Named Top Young Researcher

Zakaria’s results were recently published as the journal cover article in a special issue of Surface Science entitled “Graphene and Graphene Related Materials Growth on Surfaces.”

Focus on Materials

Focus on Materials Fall/Winter Edition

Fall 2014 Issue:

Focus on Materials is the research bulletin of the Materials Research Institute and the faculty, students, and industrial partners engaged in materials research at Penn State. In this publication, you will find the field of smart or active materials includes a wide range of materials that react to some kind of outside stimulus and respond in a useful way.

View Current & Past Issues


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