About the Lab

The Materials Characterization Lab (MCL) is a research space devoted to materials testing. We maintain 15+ characterization instruments and tools which are available for use by researchers, industry, and inquiring minds from all backgrounds. For researchers wanting to characterize large numbers of samples, we offer machine training which covers sample preparation, best practices, and some basic analysis methods for any of the instruments maintained by the lab. For those without a scientific background or who have few samples to run, we also offer sample drop-off and can assist in experiment design and result interpretation. Our staff of undergraduate engineers-in-training is trained on each machine and will return reliable results about 2 weeks after submission. (Return time depends on machine availability and the complexity of the sample set.)

The MCL is part of the Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) Department at the University of Utah. We are located in room 1325 in the Meldrum Civil Engineering Building (MCE, Building Number 0061). Users can schedule time using the HSC Cores online scheduling system after establishing a billing account and passing mandatory training. For more information, visit account setup or contact us.

Our Mission

To provide a world-class education, assist University of Utah investigators with cutting-edge research, and contribute to Utah's industrial and start-up communities, as well as the growth of the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

Our Experience

The MCL has an extensive history of successful collaborations with academia, government, and industry clients ranging from start-ups to multinational corporations in aerospace, automotive, coatings, geochemical, medical, semiconductor, and other markets.

MSE faculty and staff serve as resources with the following areas of specialization: biofuel cells, ceramics, composites, computational electronic materials and polymers, electronic materials and assemblies, explosive sensing, hydrogels, nanomaterials, nanotechnology, and more.


The MCL is a primary teaching facility for students in the Materials Science & Engineering Department where we facilitate lab sessions and experiments. In addition to providing support for required curriculum classes in the MSE department, the MCL provides internship opportunities for MSE students to help them reach expert-level understanding of the tools and techniques of basic materials characterization. This means that most of the students who graduate from the MSE department have a working knowledge of characterization tools found in industry.