Imaging and Analysis Center

The Princeton Materials Institute Imaging and Analysis Center (IAC) offers high-end, state-of-the-art instrumentation and expertise for characterization of both hard and soft materials (including biological specimens) to stimulate research and education at Princeton University and beyond. The Princeton Center for Complex Materials [Princeton's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (PCCM), funded by the National Science Foundation] is also an integral part of the IAC. With 25 years of continuous support from Princeton University, as well as the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Office of Naval Research, the State of New Jersey, etc., the IAC has become the largest central facility at Princeton and a world-leading center for advanced materials characterization.

A central mission of the IAC is the education, research, and training of students at Princeton University. The IAC also collaborates with researchers in industry and other academic institutes. Recent IAC users include over 250 students and researchers from 18 departments and centers on campus. Undergraduate students are provided with the opportunity to operate various electron microscopes during class and later utilize these instruments in research for their senior thesis. The research experience provided by the IAC has helped students win many national awards including the AFCEA National Grand Prize for Science, the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Fellowship, the Barry M. Goldwater National Scholarship, Fulbright Scholarship, National Science Foundation Fellowship, etc.

The awards winning class, MSE505 - Characterization of Materials, is conducted in the IAC for both graduate and undergraduate students. The IAC also supports more than ten regular courses annually. We offer a full range of short courses (required for instrument access), which involve direct experimental demonstrations and hands-on instruction ranging from basic sample preparation, to the operation of high-end electron microscopes. The IAC's short courses have drawn over 3,500 student enrollments. Over 700 industrial scientists from more than 100 companies have utilized instruments in the IAC. Our efforts have helped lead these industrial partners to many innovations and new product developments.

The IAC’s advanced instrumentation is open to all qualified users, whether from Princeton or outside, for an hourly fee which varies according to the category of user (for example, industrial users are charged a competitive rate in comparison to that billed for similar analysis conducted by commercial laboratories, while undergraduates are billed at only half the rate for graduate students and postdocs). The instruments, their capabilities, and the fee structure is described on the IAC’s public-access website, which also hosts a web-based instrument reservation system (equipment reservation calendar). The IAC’s instruments are connected to a computerized login system which tracks instrument safe use and ensures that authorized usage is properly charged.