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.
Learn more about MCL capabilities...

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.
Learn more about Nanofab capabilities...

MRI Announcements

NSF awards $15 million to Penn State Center for Nanoscale Science

The Center for Nanoscale Science has been awarded a six-year, $15 million grant to continue research on materials at the nanoscale.

Read more

Upcoming Events

The Millennium Café Weekly Collaboration

Please Join Us!
Every Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Exchanging ideas and challenges

January 27, 2015

Solutions and Innovations for Data Collection
Larissa Witmer & Erin Locke | Penn State Survey Research Center

Exploring Structural Biology in Between the Nanoscopic and Macroscopic Length Scales: Probing Cellulose in Plant Cell Walls Using Sum-Frequency-Generation (SFG) Vibration Spectroscopy
Chris Lee | Kim Group

Details & Past Cafés

Materials Research News & Press Releases

Illustration of a Coulomb glassMathematical approach provides a new step in resolving the mystery of glass

January 16, 2015 - An interdisciplinary team of mathematicians and physicists has developed a new quantitative approach to understanding the mysterious properties of the materials called glasses. The study is described in a paper in the Nature Publishing Group journal Scientific Reports.

fine structure of fine steelThe fine structure of fine steels

December 2, 2014 - With two thousand years of experience in steelmaking, it would seem all there is to know about steel would already be known. But for Allison Beese, McFarlane Assistant Professor in Materials Science and Engineering, the secret world of steel is still unfolding.

Customer Testimonials

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.
Matt Apanius

Customer Testimonials

As a small business resources are often limited, MCL 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.
Maureen L. Mulvihill, PhD, President & CEO, Actuated Medical Inc (Bellefonte, PA)

Researchers Spotlight

Susan Trolier-McKinstry

Susan Trolier-McKinstry has been named the IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society Distinguished Lecturer.

Trolier-McKinstry’s research focuses on thin films for dielectric and piezoelectric applications. She is a Fellow of IEEE and the American Ceramic Society, a member of the World Academy of Ceramics, and a member of the inaugural class of the National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellows.

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


View Current & Past Newsletters