User facilities

Your research, our facilities

Many of our most advanced facilities are available to outside users for a fee. These include labs for nanofabrication, space research, hydrodynamics, radiation effects in materials and material characterization as well as a radio telescope and wind tunnels.

Chemical Engineering Clean Room

This class 1000 clean room is equipped to deposit and pattern a variety of thin films on 4″ wafers and to create SU-8 molds for casting PDMS devices.

See also: Lurie Nanofabrication Facility

Key Equipment:

  • E-beam evaporator (gold/chromium/oxide/titanium)
  • Mask aligner
  • Photoresist and SU-8 spinners
  • Gold and aluminum wire bonders
  • Parylene coater
  • Surface profilometer
  • Acid, base, solvent and photoresist fume hoods
  • Oxygen/argon plasma reactive ion etcher
  • Heated hydraulic press

High Temperature Corrosion Laboratory

Like the Irradiated Materials Testing Laboratory, the High Temperature Corrosion Laboratory provides the experimental capabilities to determine how well materials hold up in power reactor environments, with a particular focus on mechanical stress and corrosion. It is equipped with six autoclaves.

Key Capabilities:

  • Supercritical water up to 30 MPa at 600ºC or 34 MPa at 550ºC
  • Steam up to 14 MPa at 400ºC
  • Single- and multiple-specimen constant extension rate experiments
  • Creep experiments
  • Water chemistry control

Contact: Gary Was, (734) 763-4675, [email protected]

Ion Beam Laboratory

The Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory (MIBL) offers a wide range of possibilities for modifying the surfaces of materials and for conducting ion beam analysis of surface compositions. University research at MIBL is chiefly concerned with mimicking the damage observed in nuclear reactor components over years of operation.

Key Instruments:

  • 3 MV tandem accelerator
  • 1.7 MV tandem accelerator
  • 400 kV ion implanter
  • Multi-beam chamber for dual and triple beam irradiations
  • Ion beam assisted deposition system
  • High vacuum, temperature controlled sample chambers

Contact: Zhijie (George) Jiao, 734-615-7761, 734-936-0166, [email protected]

Irradiated Material Testing Complex

The materials that make up nuclear reactors must withstand exposure to radiation, heat, pressure and flowing water. The Irradiated Material Testing Complex makes it possible to test the behavior of neutron irradiated samples under stress in these harsh conditions. The lab features five autoclaves and is next door to two hot cells for safely transferring radioactive materials in and out of the autoclaves and for conducting tests of highly radioactive samples.

Key Capabilities:

  • Multiple-specimen constant extension rate experiments
  • Single-specimen crack growth rate experiments
  • Water chemistry control to mimic pressurized water reactor or boiling water reactor core conditions
  • Max pressure of up to 30 MPa at 600ºC for testing in supercritical water
  • Mobile enclosure for testing in the hot cell
  • Scanning electron microscope for timely analysis

Contact: Connor Shamberger, (734) 936-8815, [email protected]

J.D. Hanawat X-Ray MicroAnalysis Laboratory

The J.D. Hanawat X-Ray MicroAnalysis Laboratory (XMAL) provides state-of-the-art nanostructural characterization capabilities to members of the University of Michigan materials community and is located in the H.H. Dow building.

Key Equipment:

  • Bede D1 High Resolution X-Ray Diffractometer
  • Rigaku Rotating Anode X-Ray Diffractometer
  • Bruker D8 Discover with GADDS (General Area Detector Diffraction System)

Contact: Ying Qi, (734) 764-3303, [email protected]

Lurie Nanofabrication Facility

The Lurie Nanofabrication Facility (LNF) offers a wide range of capabilities and professional staff expertise for the fabrication and characterization of materials, devices, and systems including silicon devices and integrated circuits; MEMS and microsystems; micro- and nanofluidic systems; III-V compound semiconductor devices; organic materials and devices; and advanced coatings, patterning and nanofabrication technologies.

The LNF is available for use by research groups from universities, government and industry, and provides expertise to help and advise researchers with their projects. The LNF includes 11,000 sq. ft. of Class 10/100/1000 cleanroom and 2,500 sq.ft. of quasi class 10,000 laboratory with a BioSafety Level 2 space.

Key Capabilities:

  • Optical and electron-beam lithography, direct write and printing
  • Dry and wet etching, DRIE
  • Bulk Si micromachining, surface micromachining
  • Wafer bonding
  • Thin-film deposition
  • Chemical vapor deposition
  • Oxidation/doping/diffusion
  • Lapping/polishing, mechanical processes
  • Wet processes, cleaning, electroplating
  • AFM, SEM, surface profilometry

Contact: Dr. Sandrine Martin, (734) 277-2365, [email protected].

Video About LNF

Marine Hydrodynamics Laboratory

The Marine Hydrodynamics Laboratory is a suite of labs and facilities that engage in classic naval architecture experiments including investigations such as calm water resistance, seakeeping and propulsion experimentation. In addition, fundamental fluid dynamics research is conducted using the most advanced techniques such as PIV, LDV, PTV and x-ray diagnostics.

Key Capabilities:

  • Physical modeling basin
  • Gravity-capillary wind wave facility
  • High-speed flow tunnel
  • Skin friction flow facility
  • Drop test, blast mitigation laboratory
  • Student water tunnel
  • Machine & welding shops
  • Electronics shop
  • Model shop

Contact: Kevin Maki, (734) 764-9432, [email protected]


The off-roadway test facility called Mcity contains urban and suburban environments to simulate a broad range of complex situations that vehicles encounter. It enables researchers to test both connected and automated vehicles. 

Key Attributes:

  • 1000’ north/south straight
  • Various road surfaces (concrete, asphalt, brick, dirt)
  • Variety of curve radii, ramps
  • Two-, three- and four-lane roads
  • Roundabout and “tunnels”
  • Sculpted dirt and grassy areas
  • Stationary and mechanized bicycles
  • Variety of signage and traffic control devices
  • Fixed, variable street lighting
  • Cross walks, lane delineators, curb cuts, bike lanes and grade crossings
  • Hydrants, sidewalks, etc.
  • “Buildings” (fixed and movable)

Contact: Jim Lollar, (734) 647-0855, [email protected]

Michigan Center for Materials Characterization

The Michigan Center for Materials Characterization [(MC)²] is a university-wide user facility for the microstructural and microchemical characterization of materials, and is located in the North Campus Research Complex. 

Key Equipment:

  • Transmission and scanning transmission electron microscopes, including JEOL 3100R05, JEOL 2100F, JEOL 2010F, JEOL 3011
  • Scanning Electron Microscopes and Focused Ion Beam Workstations, including FEI Helios NanoLab 650, FEI Nova NanoLab 200, FEI XL30
  • Atom probe tomography microscope: Cameca 4000X HR
  • X-ray photoelectron spectrometer: Kratos Axis Ultra X-ray photoelectron spectrometer
  • Nanoindenter: Hysitron TriboIndenter

Contact: Bobby Kerns, (734) 647-6845, [email protected]

Observatory and Dish

The Peach Mountain Observatory features a 26-foot parabolic radio antenna, once used for astronomy but now turned to communicating with the small satellites built by the Michigan Exploration Laboratory (MXL). The team intends to upgrade the dish so that it can follow satellites across the sky, which will cost at least $750,000. They are currently fundraising.

MXL would like to upgrade the facility in general, improving the buildings, computing infrastructure, networking and machine shop. This will cost another $750,000.

Members of the Space Physics and Research Laboratory use the observatory to track winds high in the atmosphere for predicting space weather.

Contact: James Cutler, (734) 615-7238, [email protected]; Damen Provost, (734) 647-9945, [email protected]

Space Physics Research Laboratory

Faculty and engineers have built more than 30 space instruments; instrumented numerous sounding rockets, balloons and aircraft; and developed ground-based instruments in the Space Physics Research Laboratory (SPRL). The lab encompasses a 63,000 sq. ft physical plant and eight remote observatory sites in Michigan, Canada, Greenland, Chile and Antarctica. For more than six decades, this lab is one of a handful of university centers able to conceive, design, construct, test, operate and analyze data from space flight instruments — a truly “end-to-end” operation.

Key Capabilities:

  • Systems engineering and program management expertise in complex integrated systems operating in harsh environments
  • Extensive experience in design of low-voltage and high-voltage power supplies, custom magnetics, embedded systems, custom and programmable circuit devices and sensor design
  • Expertise in RF engineering, thermal engineering, motor and servo control and flight software
  • Drafting and mechanical design, computer graphics and instrument/machine shop facilities
  • Electronics assembly clean room — class 10,000
  • Electronics test and microprocessor development equipment
  • Surface-mount technology equipment
  • Screen room for EMI/EMC testing
  • Thermal-vacuum test chambers
  • Vibration test facility
  • Clean assembly areas
  • Spaceflight operations center

Contact: (734) 936-7775, [email protected]

Vacuum Chamber

The Large Vacuum Test Facility of the Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory (PEPL) at U-M is used to run experimental plasma thrusters and electrothermal engines in a space-like vacuum. The devices under development could help humans get to Mars and beyond. The vacuum chamber is the largest of its kind at any university in the nation.

Key Features:

  • 9 x 6 x 6 meter cylindrical stainless steel-clad tank
  • Moderate vacuum of 30-100 mTorr
  • High vacuum of 10-7 Torr

Contact: Alec D. Gallimore, (734) 764-4199, [email protected]

Wind Tunnels

There are 10 wind tunnels that are available for a variety of experiments and lab courses on topics such as fluid dynamics, combustion and propulsion. These tunnels are run by the Gas Dynamics Laboratories, part of U-M Department of Aerospace Engineering.

Key Equipment:

  • Subsonic low turbulence 5 ft x 7 ft wind tunnel
  • Variable mach number supersonic wind tunnel
  • Edward A. Stalker 2 ft x 2 ft subsonic wind tunnel
  • Subsonic 2 ft x 2 ft Instructional tunnel
  • Subsonic 6 inch wind tunnels for student classroom laboratories

Contact: Chris Chartier, (734) 764-6206, [email protected]


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