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Characterization Facility (CharFac)

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; elemental and chemical imaging including depth profiling; elemental, chemical and mass 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 Medical School. Well over 100 faculty research programs use our capabilities; these researchers originate from dozens of University of Minnesota departments under several colleges. We also work with some 60 industrial companies in a typical year, ranging from small start-ups to multinational corporations; these interactions include analytical service, training for independent use, and research collaboration. Finally, we are supported by the National Science Foundation as a key node in the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network to work with external academic institutions including research universities, 4-year colleges, technical colleges, and K-12 schools