Welcome to the Imaging and Chemical Analysis Laboratory 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. Laboratory instrumentation is dedicated to the characterization of materials through high resolution imaging and spectroscopy. ICAL promotes interdisciplinary collaboration between the research, educational and industrial fields.

Current Instrumentation

Major ICAL Activities


As a shared user facility, ICAL serves over 20 departments and centers, over 24 Montana companies, and over 16 Non-MSU academic institutions, government labs and commercial companies.


ICAL interacts with over 200 students a year in such activities as class demonstrations and teaching, short courses, individual research projects, K-12 outreach and related activities.

In-House Research

ICAL has had continued federal grant and matching fund activity exceeding 3 million dollars in the last five years.

ICAL In-House Research Interests

  • Nanoscale imaging
  • Microbial adhesion
  • Force spectroscopy
  • Nano elasticity
  • Bioprobe development
  • Surface functionalization
  • Laser activated atom migration
  • Nano lithography