Materials Characterization Laboratory

The Materials Characterization Laboratory (MCL) is an analytical user facility, which serves the materials community at WPI, offering a range of analytical techniques and support services. MCL is part of the Materials Science and Engineering Program, directed by Professor Richard D Sisson, Jr. By using the lab, materials researchers can access major instruments in the area of electron microscopy (SEM, TEM), x-ray diffraction, optical microscopy (conventional and inverted), physical property determination (hardness and micro indentation hardness), and materials processing (specimen preparation, heat treatment, metal evaporation and sputtering). All of the instruments are available for hands-on use by students and faculty. Licensed users have 24-hour access to the instruments. Training is available by appointment throughout the year. The MCL is also open to researchers from other universities and local industries.


JSM-7000F Scanning Electron Microscope

General: The JSM-7000 is a high-performance field-emission gun scanning electron microscope with excellent Secondary Electron Imaging and Backscattered Electron Imaging resolution. The specimen chamber can accommodate a specimen of up to 100 mm in diameter. The SEM is equipped with Oxford energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy system, making it suitable for microstructural and chemical analysis of advanced materials.


  • 1pA to 200 nA Probe current
  • 1.2 nm Resolution at 30kV
  • 10X ~ 650,000x Magnification
  • 0.5 ~ 30kV Accelerating Voltage
  • Schottky-type, in-the-lens, thermal field emission gun
  • B to U Detectable Elements

Location: HL047

Contact: Boquan Li

Transmission Electron Microscope

General: The JEOL-100CXII is a conventional TEM, optimized for diffraction contrast imaging and electron diffraction studies. It operates at energy up to 100kV. A double tilt holder is available with +/-60 degrees of X tilt and +/-36 degrees of Y tilt. The TEM is used for microstructural and crystallographic studies of a wide variety of materials including metal alloys, polymers, nanostructured materials, and biomaterials.


  • Energy 100kV
  • Point resolution = 0.30nm
  • Information Limit > 0.14nm
  • Lens Type-Side entry Condenser/Objective

Location: OH 028

Contact: Boquan Li

Optical Microscope

General: A suite of optical microscopes are available for microstructural characterization needs, which include one Nikon EPIPHOT inverted microscope with a Nikon Digital Sight DS-U1 digital image collecting system, two aus JENA inverted microscopes, three Nikon conventional optical microscopes, one Leitz Metallux II conventical microscope, and one Unitron ME-1510 microscope.

Location: WB245, WB342

Contact: Boquan Li

Hardness Tester

General: Three Rockwell hardness testers, one Shimadzu HMV-2000 digital microindentation hardness tester, and a Buehler MMT-3 digital microindentation hardness tester are available for hardness evaulaton of materials from soft Al alloys to hard steel and ceramics.

Location: WB342

Contact: Boquan Li

Specimen Preparation

General: A full set of specimen preparation tools are available. These include cutting, slicing, mounting, grinding and polishing. The available machines including one Buehler 12"-wheel cut-off machine, two Mark V CS600 cutters, two Buehler Isomet 11-1180 low speed saws, two Buehler Simplimet II mounting presses, one Buehler EcometIV automatic grinder-polisher, two Buehler Metaserv 2000 grinder-polishers, three Ecomet 5 two-speed grinder-polishers, 3 Century E-plus grinder-polishers, three Buehler Vibromet I polishers, and one Buehler Electromet II polisher-etcher.

Location: WB253, 341

Contact: Boquan Li

Faculty Information

The faculty member in charge of the operation of this lab is Prof. Sisson, any questions concerning the laboratories' operation and usage should be directed to him.  >

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For more information

Prof. Richard D. Sisson, Jr.
Materials Science and Engineering
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609
Phone: +1-508-831-5335
Fax: +1-508-831-5178

Instrument Schedule

Contact: Boquan Li