The Materials Characterization Facility (MCF) is a core research facility of the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (ND Energy). This facility provides world-class, state-of-the-art equipment and instrumentation with major capabilities in the following areas to support scientific advancements and new or improved sustainable energy technologies and systems. The MCF welcomes users from Notre Dame and other academia and industrial institutions.

  • 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 132 Nieuwland Science 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.

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


The following workshops are free and open to all researchers. For more information, contact Dr. Ian Lightcap.

April 7: ASAP 2020 Physi/chemisorption - 9:00 am - 11:30 am Lecture
Instrument work and sample measurement beginning at 1:00pm 
251 Nieuwland Science Hall

May 19: AFM - 9:30 am - 11:30 am Lecture
Instrument work and sample measurement beginning at 1:00 pm 
251 Nieuwland Science Hall

Date (TBA): FTIR Microscope - 10:00 am - 11:30 am Lecture
Instrument work and sample measurement beginning at 1:00 pm
251 Nieuwland Science Hall

  • Previous MCF Workshops were (1) High Resolution XRD, (2) X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, (3) DSC, TGA, & TGA/Mass Spectrometer, (4) Electrochemistry and (5) Raman Spectroscopy. If you have suggestions for other workshops, please contact Dr. Ian Lightcap.  For a complete listing of workshops, click here.


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)
  • Atomic Force Microscope (AFM Park XE7)
  • 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)
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy Microscope (Spotlight 200 Perkin Elmer)
  • UV-VIS-NIR Absorbance (Jasco)
  • Raman (Point and Mapping) (Jasco / Bruker)
  • Solar Simulators (2 Xe lamps - 150W ozone free, and 300W)

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)
  • High Resolution X-Ray Diffraction
  • Calorimeter
  • In-Situ Raman