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Who We Are

Welcome to the Imaging and Chemical Analysis Laboratory (ICAL) at Montana State University, Department of Physics!

ICAL is a user-oriented facility that supports basic and applied research and education in all science and engineering disciplines at MSU. The laboratory provides access to state-of-the-art equipment, professional expertise, and individual training to government and academic institutions and the private sector. The laboratory instrumentation in ICAL is dedicated to the characterization of materials via high-resolution imaging and spectroscopy. ICAL promotes interdisciplinary collaboration between the research, educational and industrial fields.



Bleeding Sulfur

Photo of a Bleeding Sulfur

ICAL In-House Research Interests

  • Nanoscale imaging

  • Microbial adhesion

  • Force spectroscopy

  • Nano elasticity

  • Bioprobe development

  • Surface functionalization

  • Laser activated atom migration

  • Nano lithography

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Research Highlights

As mentioned before, ICAL offers its equipment and training to a variety of users in education or industry fields. In-house researchers in particular have relied on ICAL to help conduct a variety of research topics, many of them funded by the NSF. From studying geothermal lakes in Yellowstone to examining eggshells from the Cretaceous Period, ICAL can provide the services you need regardless of what field of science or topic. Below are just a sample of what can and has been done in the past four years.

Sulfur Cycling in Deep Thermal Vents of Yellowstone LakeOrientation of Laboratory-Prepared Snow MicrostructuresIdentifying Structural Changes of Metal Carbides Transitioning to Carbide-Derived Carbons Using Auger Scanning SpectroscopySeta of Cicindelidia haemorrhagica-Tiger BeetleInvestigating Surface Interactions between Volatile Chromium Species and CeramicsThe Search for Graphitic BC3Novel P-C Materials for Energy Storage

Click on an image to view as a slideshow.