The Materials Characterization Facility (MCF) is a core research facility of the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (ND Energy). Funded by the Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI), which is part of ND Energy, this facility provides world-class, state-of-the-art equipment and instrumentation to support scientific advancements and new or improved sustainable energy technologies and systems. Major capabilities are:

  • General Materials Characterization - Modern instrumentation and expertise for solid, liquid, and gas characterization by spectroscopic, thermal, X-ray, BET, and spectrometric analytical methods. These capabilities are available in 132 Nieuwland Science Hall.
  • Photovoltaic and Electrocatalyst Characterization - Two catalyst and photovoltaic testing stations include solar simulators, automated gas sampling loops for in-line GC evolved gas detection, and a potentiostat with eletrochemical impedance and rotating disc electrode capabilities. These capabilities are available in 116 Stinson-Remick Hall.
  • Crystallographic Characterization - Powder and single crystal x-ray diffractometers are available for a wide range of structural characterization. These capabilities are available in 303 Stinson-Remick Hall.

The MCF welcomes users from the University of Notre Dame and external academia and industrial institutions.

Please contact Ian Lightcap at or 574-631-1493.

MCF Workshops – All are held in 251 Nieuwland Science Hall, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

  • High Resolution X-Ray Diffraction – Grazing Incidence Diffraction, X-ray Reflectivity, and Reciprocal Space Mapping. 
    Friday, December 4, 2015
    RSVP by 12/1
  • X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy - XPS from A to Peaks.
    Friday, January 29, 2016
    RSVP by 1/26
  • DSC, TGA, & TGA/ Mass Spectrometer - Thermal Analysis and Practical Applications.
    Friday, February 26, 2016
    RSVP by 2/23
  • Electrochemistry - Fundamentals, Rotating Disc Electrode, and Electrochemical Impedance.
    Friday, March 25, 2016
    RSVP by 3/22
  • Raman Spectroscopy - Practical tips for sample preparation and maximizing signal to noise.
    Friday, April 29, 2016
    RSVP by 4/26

All are welcome to attend, but space is limited. If you have suggestions for other workshops, please contact Dr. Ian Lightcap.


ND Energy is pleased to offer Instrumentation Grants to help fund the use of one or more instruments in the Materials Characterization Facility for researchers conducting energy-related research who may have no other sources of funding available to them. For more information and to submit a proposal for consideration, pleave visit the ND Energy Website.



  • Microwave Reactor
  • Thermal Evaporator   

Surface and Thermal Analysis

  • Adsorption (BET/Chemi- and Physi-sorption) (Micromeritics)
  • Differential Scanning Calorimeter (Setaram)
  • TGA/DSC-Mass Spectrometer (Mettler Toledo / Pfeiffer)
  • Profilometer (Bruker)
  • X-Ray Photo-electron Spectrometer (XPS)


  • FTIR Spectrometer equipped with ATR and Diffuse reflectance accessory (Jasco)
  • UV-VIS-NIR Absorbance (Jasco)
  • Raman (Point and Mapping) (Jasco / Bruker)

Photocatalyst and Electro-chemical Testing Stations

  • Solar Simulator
  • In-Line Gas Chromatography
  • Potentiostat with Rotating Disk
  • Gas Chromatography-Mas Spectrometer


  • Powder X-Ray Diffraction (Bruker)
  • Single Crystal X-Ray Diffraction (Bruker)
  • Calorimeter
  • In-Situ Raman