Shared Facilities

Maintenance and operation
Existing facilities
Wind Tunnel Mechanical Testing Facility
Regional facilities
National Laboratory Facilities
Anticipated MRSEC acquisitions


Maintenance and operation

MRSEC students, postdocs, and faculty have access to a number of multi-user instrumentation facilities as well as equipment in individual P.I. laboratories. The multi-user facilities are operated and maintained by skilled technicians and staff scientists, who train new users, develop user communities, maintain and upgrade equipment, develop new characterization methods and applications, and develop user fee schedules to cover the cost of laboratory operations and equipment maintenance according to University and Federal guidelines. These facilities are available to NYU investigators as well as external academic scientists and the industrial sector. In most cases time can be reserved through the internet and data collection with certain equipment can be monitored remotely. Moreover, users of shared facilities will be encouraged to contribute up-to-date information, helpful tips, and useful protocols to facility sites in a "Wiki" format, based on the engine that drives Wikipedia. Wiki content includes details on equipment operation, sample preparation, useful links, on-line manuals, vendors for equipment and expendable supplies, and safety information. Overall, the facilities are operated under the premise that they naturally create an environment for stimulating collaborative interactions among individuals from numerous sectors.

Existing facilities

MRSEC investigators share access to the newly created CSMR and MDI laboratories (totaling 30,000 sq. ft.), which contain (i) a Malvern Mastersizer S and a Malvern Zetasizer Nano ZS for characterizing colloidal particles, (ii) rheometers for measuring complex fluids viscoelastic properties, (iii) optical micromanipulation capabilities provided by three state-of-the-art dynamic holographic optical trapping systems, including a turnkey BioRyx 200 System, (iv) fast-scan confocal, deconvolution, bright-field, dark-field, DIC and holographic contrast microscopes, (v) ultra-small-angle static and dynamic light scattering, as well as variable angle light scattering, (vi) UV-VIS and infrared spectrometers, including ATR and Seagull external multi-angle reflection accessories, (vii) microcalorimeters, (viii) five atomic force microscopes with three configured especially for single molecule force spectroscopy, (ix) optical microscopes with a temperature-controlled stages, (x) Langmuir-Blodgett troughs, (xi) a differential scanning calorimeter, (xiv) gel permeation chromatography, (xiii) gas chromatographs, including one for chiral separations, and (iv) the “electric bottle” microscope invented by Chaikin (see IRG 1). The MDI and CSMR labs combined also contain fume hoods, glove boxes, a clean room, solvent purification systems, automated colloid synthesis systems, an industrial-grade emulsifier, and a comprehensive cellular and molecular biophysics facility (under construction).

The Department of Chemistry Shared Instrumentation Facility houses (i) a Bruker Avance 400 and 500 MHz NMR spectrometers, (ii) a Varian 300 MHz NMR spectrometer, (iii) a Bruker Avance 400 MHz s olid-state NMR spectrometer, (iv) a Bruker APEX II single-crystal diffractometer, (v) a circular dichroism spectropolarimeter, (vi) MALDI-TOF, electrospray, and gas chromatography mass spectrometers, (vii) a FT-infrared spectrometer, (viii) a fluorimeter, (ix) a UV-VIS spectrophotometer, (x) a polarimeter, (xi) an isothermal titration calorimeter, and (xii) a tissue culture facility with capabilities for growing and maintaining mammalian cell lines. Peptide and DNA synthesizers are available in the PI laboratories.

Wind Tunnel Mechanical Testing Facility

Chaikin, Pine, and Thompson combine their capabilities to create a benchtop “wind tunnel” mechanical testing facility where the mechanical properties of colloidal, composite, and mineralized model systems can be measured and their scaling relationships elucidated, with the aim of developing design principles for optimizing structures. This facility enables real-time visualization of deformations as stresses are applied, fractures propagate, and materials yield. The wind tunnel facility builds on the suite of mechanical testing equipment located in the Biomaterials and Biomimetics Equipment Facility, which currently is operated as an open user facility with five full time staff researchers. The facility houses (i) a four electrodynamic mouth motion fatigue systems (Enduratec ELF-3300 – 2000 N, 2 biaxial and 2 unaxial); (ii) universal testing machine (Instron 5566 with 8000-N capability); (iii) an R-ratio uniaxial fatigue testing machine (Electro Dynamic 1,Test Resources); (iv) a universal tester (Romulus IV with hardness, shear, and break point modules); (v) a low-load uniaxial testing machine (Chatillon M3200 with micotensile fixtures), (vi) a wear tester (Sabri Oral Wear Simulation system); (vii) hardness tester (Buehler with Vickers and Knoop diamonds); and (viii) a profilometer (Mitotoyu). The Biomaterials and Biomimetics Equipment Facility also houses (i) two environmental scanning electron microscopes (Hitachi 3500N, Zeiss EV- 50), each with energy-dispersive spectroscopy (PGT IMIX) and backscatter electron imaging detectors for elemental composition and atomic density analyses; (ii) two sputter coaters (EMITECH, ISI); (iii) for X-ray imaging and x-ray diffraction, a microcomputer-aided tomography system (Skyscan 40), Faxitron x-ray machine for high-resolution planar images, and an X-ray diffraction system (Philips APD3520); (iv) for optical microscopy, a confocal microscope (Technical Instruments K2S-BIO), a portable confocal microscope (modified Technical Instruments K2S-BIO), two 3D microscopes (Edge R400 and H160 Real-Time), two fully automated compound microscopes (Leica-Leitz DMRX/E, Zeiss Photomicroscope I), both with contrast enhancements and fluorescence), a 3-D digitizer (Mitutoyo Video-Based), and state-of-the-art image analysis software, (v) for materials characterization, a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (Nicolet 550, with IR-Plan microscope), a Hg intrusion porosity measuring system (Micromeretics Autopor 9200), a specific surface and porosity measuring system (Micromeretics Flowsorb II 2300), a thermogravimetric system (Perkin-Elmer TGS2).

The merger of NYU and Polytechnic expands the facilities available to MRSEC investigators, providing access to various optical and fluorescence microscopes, variable temperature spectrofluorimeters, liposome extruders, gamma radiation counters, stations for handling radionuclides, dynamic light scattering, a Malvern Zetasizer ZS90, two CH Instruments 660C potentiostats, a CH Instruments 760C potentiostat, temperature-controlled rotating disk electrode apparatus, CH Instruments 440A electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance, Cary 50 UV-Vis spectrometer with standard and Peltier temperature-controlled cuvette holders, Beckman Coulter SYS Gold Bioessential 125/168 HPLC, Perkin Elmer Spectrum 100 infrared spectrometer with grazing incidence and ATR attachments, JASCO J-815 circular dichroism spectropolarimeter, UVISEL spectroscopic ellipsometer, MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer (Bruker Omniflex), NMR spectrometer (Bruker Ultrashield 300), Digital Instruments Multimode SPM Atomic Force Microscope with an EV scanner and Nanoscope IIIa controller, an Olympus 1X70 Fluorescence Microscope, and a Hitachi Scientific Instruments Scanning Electron Microscope with EDAX Phoenix X-ray detector, a Phillips wide angle X-ray (WAX) Diffractometer, a SEC-MALLS-viscometer Waters HPLC systems with fraction collectors, an HPLC-FTIR, a Nicolet AVATAR FTIR, HP5890 II GC with Flame ionization detection (FID), a GC-MS, a Dynamic Light Scattering Coulter N4 Plus Submicron Particle Sizer, a Waters LC-MS with ZQ 2000 on-line Mass Detector, a Speed vac and lyophilizer, a Thermogravimetric Analysis Instrument, a Capillary Rheometer, an Instron 4465 tensile tester and a Bruker Daltonics Omniflex MALDI-TOF. The facilities also include a Spectramax microplate reader, a Chemidoc gel and plate visualization system, an Amersham UMAX-UTA-III transmission scanner and Imagemaster, a Biorad RT-quantitative PCR, a Gel Drier, a Perkin Elmer LS 50B Luminescence spectrophotometer, a sonicator, TA Instruments Modulated and Perkin-Elmer Differential Scanning Calorimeter and densitometry instrumentation.

Regional facilities

The MRSEC also benefits from its partnership in the New York Structural Biology Center, which houses state-of-the-art high-field NMR spectrometers and cryo-TEM microscopes, the latter particularly germane to the MRSEC research program. The NYSBC is equipped with (i) a JEOL 3200FSC cryoelectron microscope, (ii) a JEOL 2100F cryoelectron microscope, (iii) a Tecnai G2 F20 cryoelectron microscope, and (iv) a JEOL 1230 electron microscope. The TEM facility is directed by Dr. David Stokes (NYU Skirball Institute) and is operated by expert staff members. The facility provides training and hands-on access to registered research investigators. The MRSEC also benefits from its proximity with nanofabrication facilities at IBM, and the scattering capabilities at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

National Laboratory Facilities

Through its connection with CINT at Sandia (see the Industrial Partnerships Page), the NYU MRSEC has the opportunity to capitalize on state-of-the-art capabilities housed in approximately 100,000 sq ft of clean room space, a state-of-the-art CMOS microelectronics foundry, e-beam writing, a focused ion beam, ion implanters, and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. The CINT Core Facility offers capabilities of particular utility to the research program in this proposal, including low vibration sites for sensitive characterization, chemical/biological synthesis labs, and a fully equipped clean room for device integration. CINT also provides access to nanomaterials and microfabrication facilities through the existing Integrated Materials Research Laboratory (IMRL) at Sandia, and the CINT Gateway to Los Alamos provides additional support in biosciences and nanomaterials. CINT also provides a conduit to neutron scattering at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE), and high magnetic field techniques at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL). In addition, several MRSEC investigators are members of the Brookhaven user community as well as the Stanford Synchrotron Research Laboratory (SSRL) user group.

Anticipated MRSEC acquisitions

MRSEC funds in Year 1 will be used to acquire a 3-D printer for fabricating solid objects (e.g. photonic quasicrystals) and a mask aligner. A confocal microscope will be purchased in Year 2. The Executive Committee will determine acquisitions in successive years.