Virginia Tech® home


Instrument Scheduling 

If you have completed the steps for lab access, you may reserve instrument time here

Note on liquid nitrogen and specialty gases:
You will need to supply your own tanks for these gases. To have gas tanks shipped to the MCL, use this information: 

420 Kelly Hall
325 Stanger St
Blacksburg, VA 24061
United States 

Location code: 123533
Building code: T493

Plan your tests to use most or all of the tank you ordered. The MCL is a shared facility with limited space, and while it will not be possible to reserve tanks for individual users, you will be alerted when your tank has arrived and have access to it before other users.  

Once you are notified that your liquid nitrogen has arrived, reserve instrument time via the online reservation system. Please use your tank as soon as possible, and then promptly request its removal by the vendor to make the space available for other users. 


Thermogravimetric analysis

TA Instruments TGA 5500

  • IR furnace enables fast heating and cooling
  • < 0.1 µg resolution
  • Autosampler for high productivity
  • Blending gas delivery module allows flexibility in mixing inert and reactive gases
  • Temperature range: Ambient - 1200 °C

Thermal conductivity

Thermal Conductivity Fox 50

thermal conductivity Fox 50
  • Accurate, easy-to-use instrument for measuring thermal conductivity according to ASTM C518 and ISO 8301. 
  • Temperature range: -10 °C  ̊C to 110 °C 
  • Thermal conductivity range: 0.1 to 10W/(mK) (0.633 to 60.3BTU in/hr ft2 °F)
  • Thermal resistance range: 0.003 to 0.05 m2K/W
  • Sample dimensions: Diameter 50 - 62 mm, Maximum Thickness 25 mm

Differential Scanning Calorimetry

DSC Q2500

TA Instruments DSC Q2500

  • Materials characterization (Glass transition, Curing, Heat capacity, QC).
  • Temperature range [-120 ̊C to 400 ̊C]
  • High resolution (1.3 MP vivid color) digital Microscope camera with a magnification of 50-65X for image and video capture during phase transitions
  • Reliable linear autosampler with programmable tray positions for 24/7 operation, and automated calibration

Dynamic Mechanical Analysis

TA Instruments DMA Q850

  • Available deformation modes: Dual/single cantilever, 3-point bend, shear sandwich, compression, and film/fiber tension.
  •  Liquid nitrogen gas cooling accessory
  • Temperature range: -145 - 1000 °C

Thermomechanical Analysis

TA Instruments TMA Q400

  • Deformation modes: Expansion, Penetration, Tension
  • CTE Measurements
  • Temperature range: -90 - 1000°C

Wide Angle X-Ray Diffraction

Bruker XRD D8

Bruker XRD D8
  • TWIN / TWIN optics, excellent peak-to-background ratio enhances sensitivity for minor phases.
  • Bragg-Brentano for powders and parallel-beam geometry for coatings and thin films (amorphous, polycrystalline and epitaxial) under ambient conditions.
  • DIFFRAC.SUITE software for Identification and quantification of crystalline and amorphous phases, indexing, ab-initio crystal structure determination, and crystal structure refinement.
  • Grazing incidence diffraction.
  • X-ray reflectometry.

Small Angle X-Ray Diffraction (SAX)

Bruker N8 Horizon

  • 2-dimensional VÅNTEC-500TM detector detects even the weakest SAXS signals.
  • Excellent peak-to-background ratio enhances sensitivity from 0 to 5°

Bruker N8 Horizon


Xeuss 3.0

Xeuss 3.0 SAXS
  • Characterize the nanostructure of soft-matter and nanomaterials using transmission or grazing incidence mode.
  • Particle size distribution (few nanometers to > 350 nm in diameter).
  • Size and shape analysis of surfactants or proteins in solutions.
  • Organization and orientation of nanomaterials at atomic/nanoscale, in bulk phases or at surfaces.
  • Phase segregation studies .


Bruker S6 JAGUAR

Bruker S6 JAGUAR
  • Wavelength Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (WDXRF) for elemental analysis
  • Analytical flexibility for the entire element range (F - U)
  • 400 W HighSense™ Power: 50% shorter measurement times with better analytical precision compared to EXDRF
  • HighSense XE Detection: Full power at 30 kV for light elements and 50 KV for heavy elements

Physical Properties Measurement

Quantum Design PPMS VersaLab

Versa Lab PPMS
  • Portable, cryogen-free cryocooler-based material characterization platform.
  • Material characterization up to 3 Tesla.
  • Vibrating sample magnetometer enables magnetic moment measurements as a function of temperature or magnetic field.
  • Integrated VSM oven option with extended Temperature range: 50 - 1000 K.
  • Integrated electron transport (ETO) for conductivity/resistance measurements using 2- and 4-probe configurations.

Electrochemical analysis

Solartron Modulab XM ECS Potentiostat

Solarton Modulab
  • Single-channel potentiostat for advanced electrochemical measurements.
  • Option for photoelectrochemical measurements.

Electrochemical analysis

Autolab Potentiostat

Solartron Analytical
  • Specially designed for electrochemical impedance spectroscopy.
  • Compliance voltage of 30 V, a bandwidth of 1 MHz.
  • Electrode connections (2, 3 and 4), Potential range (+/- 10 V), Max current +/- 2 A, Current ranges 1 A to 10 nA.

Solartron analytical 1252A Potentiostat

Solartron Analytical
  • Eight-channel potentiostat for concurrent measurements of electrochemical and photoelectrochemical properties.

Ultraviolet/Visible/Near-infrared spectroscopy

Hitachi U4100 UV-VIS-NIR

Hitachi U4100
  • Integrated spheres for characterization of liquid and solid samples.
  • High-sensitivity integrating sphere produces low-noise measurements.
  • Range: 175 nm to 2600 nm.

FT-IR Spectrometer

Varian 670-IR with mid-IR integrated sphere

varian FT-IR spectrometer
  • For measuring reflectivity and collecting spectra of solids, analyzing light scattering and/or highly absorbing samples.
  • Full spectral range, from UV (50,000 cm-1) to far-IR (10 cm-1)
  • Mid-band MCT Detector (5000–650 cm-1).
  • Spectral resolution less than 0.07 cm-1.

Gel permeation/size exclusion chromatography

Agilent PL-GPC 220

Agilient PL-GPC 220
  • Accommodates a variety of polymer, solvent, and temperature combinations.
  • Full automation and advanced detection capabilities.
  • Temperature range: Ambient - 220 °C.

Size exclusion chromatography

ACQUITY Advanced Polymer Chromatography System

ACQUITY Advanced Polymer Chromatography System
  • High-resolution separations in short run times.
  • Multimodal detector module: refractive index, UV photodiode array, and light scattering.

3D Surface profilometer

Keyence VK-X3000

Keyence VK-X3000
  • Magnification up to 28,800×
  • Automatic focusing of any materials
  • Instant, non-contact surface scanning
  • Easy surface differentiation, roughness analysis, and accurate nano-level measurements

Atomic force microscopy

Bruker Dimension Icon AFM

Bruker Dimension Icon AFM
  • Nanoscale imaging and characterization with a tip-scanning AFM platform.
  • Temperature-compensating position sensors reduce noise to the angstrom (X-Y axes) and sub-angstrom (Z axis) scales.
  • Operating Modes: Contact, Tapping, Nanomechanical, Fast Force Mapping

Oxford Jupiter XR AFM

Oxford Jupiter AFM
  • Operating Modes: Contact, Tapping, Nanomechanical, Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy (KPFM), Force Mapping, Conductive AFM (CAFM), Fast Force Mapping, Scanning Capacitance Microscopy (SCM), Piezoforce Microscopy, Lateral Force Microscopy, AM-FM Viscoelastic Mapping Mode, Magnetic Force Microscopy.
  • Operational conditions: Temp stage (-30 - 300 °C), liquid sample holder.
  • Atomic resolution up to 0.45 nm.
  • Sample size up to 200 mm.

Optical microscopy

Nikon Eclipse LV100

Nikon Eclipse LV100
  • Compact polarizing microscope
  • Quintuple nosepiece with objectives up to 100x

Raman imaging

XploRA PLUS Raman microscope

XploRA Plus Raman
  • Fully confocal Raman images
  • Rapid imaging with excellent detection and sensitivity

Tension/compression testing

Instron 5944 Universal Testing System

Instron 3340
  • Single-column system.
  • Pneumatic side action grips and compression grips for tensile, static, and tension-tension cyclic tests for a wide range of materials.
  • Ideal for tension and/or compression studies of materials where tests are less than 5 kN (1,100 lbf) load capacity.


Discover HR-30 with UV option

  • Rheological data under the widest range of measurement conditions (stress-controlled, strain-controlled, or both) with gap position resolution of 0.02 µm.
  • Peltier Plate option (-40 °C to 200 °C).
  • Environmental Test Chamber (ETC) (up to 600 °C).
  • UV curing accessories.

Nanomechanical testing

Micro Materials NanoTest Vantage

Micro Materials NanoTest Vantage
  • Nanomechanical and nanotribological tests including nanoindentation (quasi-static and dynamic), nano-impact and fatigue, nano-scratch and wear, and nano-fretting.
  • Allows testing in a variety of environments including reduced oxygen/purged conditions, under controlled humidity, and in fluid.
  • Temperature range: Ambient - 850 °C.

Note: For reservation, and training contact Mac McCord ( Instrument is located in 123 Norris Hall.

Surface area and porosity measurements

Micromeritics 3 Flex

Micrometrics 3
  • Surface characterization analyzer that provides high-resolution adsorption, desorption, and isotherms data.
  • Mesopore and micropore analyses of materials such as metal oxides, composites, carbon, catalysts, zeolites.

High vacuum physisorption/chemisorption analyzers

Anton Paar Autosorb iQ C-XR

Anton Paar Autosorb iQ C-XR

  • Extended range physisorption (2 stations) and chemisorption (1 station, Max. furnace temperature: 1100 °C) analyzer
  • Capable of determining specific surface areas below 0.01 m2/g, active areas, pore volumes, and pore size distributions down to 0.35 nm
  • Integrated and highly precise sample preparation
  • p/p0 Range (XR using nitrogen/argon): 10-8 to 0.999

Optical Tensiometer

Biolin Scientific Theta Flow

Biolin Scientific Theta Flow
  • Contact Angle, Surface tension and Interfacial tension measurements
  • Camera autofocus with automatic surface mapping
  • 5 MP image quality enhancement with DropletPlus technology and environmental sensors

Tube Furnace

CM 1600 Series Rapid Temp Lab Furnace

Tube Furnace
  • Rapid heating and cooling
  • Uniform temperature control.
  • Temperature range: Ambient - 1600 °C.

Box Furnace

Thermo Scientific Lindberg Blue M box furnace

Box Furnace
  • Temperature range: 100 - 1200 °C

Temperature and Humidity Chamber

Espec BTL-433 Temperature & Humidity Chamber

Temperature and Humidity Chamber
  • Humidity range: 10 - 95% relative humidity
  • Temperature range: -20 - 180 °C.

Mechanical Press

Carver 4126 25-12-2H Manual Heated Press

Mechanical Press
  • 25 tons of clamping force

3D Printing