College of Science and Engineering Characterization Facility

Upcoming Events

Making the Best of a Bad Situation: A Characterization Seminar Series

The analytical facilities at Penn State MCL, the University of Illinois, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Minnesota are collaborating on a free seminar series on characterization. One hour Zoom lectures will be held 3 times per week starting March 30th. The initial lectures will provide broad overviews of various analytical techniques. Future lectures will address more specific measurements, applications and materials.

First seminar is on Monday, register at the earliest

News and Information

CharFac COVID-19 Closure Update

Attention All Users

Dear Characterization Facility Users,

As directed by University of Minnesota officials late on 3/16/20 regarding university operations at-large, the CharFac facility has ceased all onsite user operations and remains closed until further notice, effective immediately.

The staff remains electronically accessible as always. 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.

If you have concerns about the continuation of your work in our facility, in terms of the specific exceptions enunciated by President Gabel, please contact the Technical Director Greg Haugstad at

As you know, the University of Minnesota is coping with COVID-19 and continuing to modify policies and protocols to limit the transmission of the disease. Closures, policies and protocols are subject to change as the situation remains in flux, including recommendations or requirements from central University or College offices and government officials.

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.

Greg Haugstad, PhD

Technical Director

Characterization Facility

College of Science & Engineering

Covid-19 Update

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, CharFac is closed to usage until further instructions. Contact in case of any urgent/impending issues.

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