Students in WPI’s Materials Science & Engineering program benefit from the cutting-edge research and learning taking place every day in our classrooms and state-of-the-art laboratories. The department uses diverse facilities to create and convey knowledge at the forefront of materials science, processing, and engineering.

  • Electrochemical Energy Laboratory focuses on new electrode materials and structures for next-generation lithium ion batteries and fundamental electrochemical processes.
  • Integrative Materials Design Center defines, disseminates, and implements a new design paradigm and supporting methodologies for failure prevention and increased performance, reliability, and recyclability.
  • Metal Processing Institute is dedicated to advancing the state of the art in near-net-shape manufacturing and materials recovery and recycling.
  • NanoEnergy Laboratory Research in the Nanoenergy Lab includes scalable synthesis and characterization of thin films and nanostructured materials for applications in solar energy conversion. Current projects focus on novel, nanostructured metal oxide and metal sulfide semiconductor thin films composed of earth-abundant, non-toxic elements for photoelectrochemical and photovoltaic energy conversion. Please contact Professor Pratap Rao for details.
  • Nanomaterials & Nanomanufacturing Laboratory focuses on nano and molecular sciences and technologies, interface phenomena at micro and nanoscales, and sustainable energy. Contact Professor Jianyu Liang with any questions about this lab.
  • Surface Metrology Laboratory advances the understanding of the formation, behavior, measurement, and analysis of surface roughness.
  • The Polymer Laboratory features equipment and instruments for the synthesis, processing, and testing of polymer and biomaterials. This laboratory in Washburn 250 contains facilities for the synthesis, processing, and testing of polymer and biomaterials. For more information contact Professor Satya Shivkumar. The polymer laboratory is furnished with equipment including foam processing apparatus, data acquisition systems, medical devices, sensors, polymer and synthesis modules, constant temperature shaker baths, centrifuges, Shore hardness testers, ASTM ball rebound testers, DSC and TGA and other polymer testing equipment.

Professor Apelian on Research Proposals

On February 11, 2015, Professor Diran Apelian presented on "The Power of Effective Communications." He discussed topics such as professionalism; ethical issues; and how to make effective presentations. These presentations are complimentary to the seminar series that the department offers; they will be focused on student needs in matters that deal with “life after graduate school”.



Other Facilities

Additional Materials Science & Engineering facilities include the 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 & 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 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.


Professor Richard Sisson is in charge of the operation of this lab, and any questions concerning the laboratories' operation and usage should be directed to him.

Contact Boquan Li, 508-831-6025, for any information about the following instruments:

JEOL 7000F Scanning Electron Microscope (Higgins Lab 047)

General: This Schottky emission gun SEM (1.2 nm resolution at 30kV) is equipped with a conventional Everhart-Thornley secondary detector, a retractable DEBEN-BSED-GEN5 backscatter detector, an Oxford Aztec EDS (energy-dispersive spectrometer) and EBSD (electron backscatter diffraction) system.

JEOL-100CXII Transmission Electron Microscope (Olin Hall 028)

General: This conventional TEM is equipped with a Gatan Orius 830 CCD camera, capable of electron diffraction and diffraction contrast imaging.

Panalytical Empyrean X-Ray Diffractometer (Washburn Shops 231)

General: This is a multi-functional x-ray diffractometer, capable of carrying out powder diffractions, stress analysis, texture analysis, x-ray reflectivity analysis, and small-angle x-ray scattering.

SPECTRO MAXX LMX04 Optical Emission Spectrometer (Washburn Shops 245)

General: This spectrometer is used for accurate chemical analysis of metals and alloys.


Other Equipment

  • 3 Buehler Ecomet 5 Two-Speed grinder-polishers (WB341)
  • 1 Buehler Ecomet IV grinder (WB341)
  • 2 Pace Nano 2000T grinder-polishers (WB341)
  • 3 Century polishers (WB341)
  • 1 EMS sputter coater (HL047)
  • 1 Buehler Simlimet 3000 mounting press (WB253)
  • 1 Buehler Electromet 4 electropolisher (WB341)
  • 1 Fishione M110 twin-jet electropolisher (WB245)
  • 1 Mark V 600 cut-off machine (WB253)
  • 1 Olympus inverted optical microscope (WB245)
  • 1 Nikon inverted microscope (WB245)
  • 1 MTS Nano Indenter (HL047)
  • 1 Clark CM-400AT microhardness tester (WB245) 
  • 1 Shimazu HMV-200 microhardness tester (WB336)
  • 3 Rockwell hardness testers (WB336)
  • 1 Buehler microhardness tester (WB336)
  • 3 Buehler Vibromet I polishers (WB341)