Research Facilities & Support

Research Facilities & Support

Group of researchers in front of computerThe UW–Madison Department of Chemistry boasts excellent shared research facilities and support services within the chemistry building. Ph.D. staff scientists provide introductory and advanced-level coursework, one-on-one instruction, and collegial and collaborative research interactions for all of the shared research instruments. Expert technologists and craft workers uniquely customize the instruments and keep them operating at state-of-the-art performance. Additional research instrumentation is available in more than 120 core facilities across campus, providing enormous depth in support of any student’s research activities.

Chemistry graduate students have ample opportunity to receive specialized training in the use of shared research instrumentation during the course of their program and may be able to gain specialized instrumentation experience working as teaching assistants in a shared research instrumentation facility.

The Glass Shop at the Department of Chemistry provides glassblowing services for chemistry faculty, students, and staff. The Glass Shop is well-equipped to meet your scientific and research needs.



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High Performance Computing Center

The Chemistry HPC Center is a supercomputer facility that hosts on-premises high performance computer cluster systems for use by members of the department. CPU-based and GPU-based systems are available for research use, as well as a dedicated CPU-based system for classroom and instructional needs. There are many specialized software packages available to perform a wide range of chemical calculations and different types of modeling. Computational chemist, Dr. Desiree Bates, and HPC systems administrator, Paul McGuire, are available to facilitate your use of these specialized resources.

Molecular Structure Laboratory

Directed by Dr. Ilia Guzei and supported by technologist Dr. Robert Shanks, the Molecular Structure Laboratory is home to two single-crystal X-ray diffractometers, a Bruker Smart Quazar and a Bruker D8 Venture, a Bruker D8 Advance powder X-ray diffractometer and two modern microscopes. The laboratory routinely handles stable as well as air-, moisture-, and temperature-sensitive crystals and determines absolute configuration of crystals of chiral compounds. The instruments are operated by the laboratory personnel and trained students. The results of single-crystal structural characterizations are securely shared with the users in the internal database and may be used for publication without further modification.

Paul Bender Chemistry Instrument Center

At the Paul Bender Chemistry Instrument Center, staff will provide training in coursework or on request for all the instruments in their specialty, assisting students in gaining the research skills needed to gather and analyze publication-quality data. Upon completion of this training, students are granted full, around-the clock access to most of the shared instruments. Some instruments are for walk-up use, while others require an advance reservation. Research facility staff members are always available to help when specific issues arise with data interpretation and to assist as needed in the design and implementation of new or specialized experiments.

Electron Paramagneticp Resonance; SQUID Magnetometry; Mössbauer Spectroscopy

Dr. Heike Hofstetter directs the EPR Facility, with support from technologist Dr. Robert Shanks. A Bruker EleXsys E500 EPR spectrometer has state-of-the-art X-band sensitivity, with sample temperatures ranging from 4 to 400K. Dr. Cathy Clewett oversees the new SQUID (Superconducting QUantum Interference Device) magnetometer, which enables measurements of small quantities of paramagnetic ions and is a primary technique for the characterization of magnetic materials. Hofstetter and Clewett oversee a Mössbauer spectrometer that is unique in characterizing iron complexes, including changes in oxidation state, the effect of different ligands, and the magnetic environment of the sample.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility

Dr. Charlie Fry, Dr. Heike Hofstetter and Dr. Cathy Clewett support a broad range of chemical research with 7 NMR spectrometers. Two Bruker 400 MHz spectrometers, a Bruker 500 MHz spectrometer and a Varian 300 MHz spectrometer provide high-throughput capability for research and undergraduate lab support with over 100,000 samples run per year. A Bruker 360 MHz spectrometer has unique high-pressure and rapid-mixing capabilities; another Bruker 500 MHz provides capabilities for characterizing solid-state samples; the Bruker 600 MHz spectrometer provides support for biochemical and light-assisted research. Facility staff work hard to maintain our excellence in research training and learning, with multinuclear and variable temperature capabilities, for expanding unique chemistry-oriented capabilities, and in providing high-throughput data that greatly enhances research and undergraduate education. Eleven additional NMR spectrometers are located in Biochemistry and in Pharmacy, with field strengths up to 900 MHz. All of these spectrometers are located in core facilities providing open-access support to chemistry researchers.

Mass Spectrometry Laboratory

Directed by Dr. Martha Vestling and supported by technologist Dr. Robert Shanks, this facility has six instruments. These instruments allow a wide range of samples to be characterized using electrospray ionization (ESI), matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI), electron impact (EI), or ASAP-MS™ to convert compounds to ions.

  • Thermo Q Exactive Plus
  • Bruker Impact II
  • Bruker Microflex LRF
  • Bruker Ultraflex III
  • Shimadzu GCMS-QP2010S
  • Waters Acquity LCMS


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Library Services

Library Services
The Science & Engineering Libraries provide students excellent access to top journals and resources. Chemistry Librarian Ariel Andrea is located in the department and provides training in scientific literature review, electronic lab notebook technology, citation management, and other research skills. Also, the chemistry building addition and renovation project, scheduled for completion in this year, will include an Information Commons that will provide space for workshops, group work, and access to electronic resources.

Chemistry Research Shops

Chemistry Research Shops
Chemistry Research Shops support researchers in the department through the design and construction of custom instrumentation and accessories for research. Shops support a strong tradition of research in instrumentation and reactor design. The shops offer both professional services and makerspace areas where tools and parts are available to all department members.

  • The Electronics Shop provides electrical and software design and construction services for research. Shop staff consult with researchers to design unique and cost-effective instruments and reactors. Specialties include low-level measurement, temperature and pressure control, photochemical and electrochemical reactors, and instrument control software.
  • The Glass Shop repairs broken research glassware, consults with researchers on new designs for research, and creates custom pieces meeting the researcher’s vision and specifications. The department boasts one of the few master scientific glassblowers at a U.S. university, Tracy Drier.
  • The Machine Shop provides consultation on the design of instruments for research, as well as precision machining and repair services. Expert instrument makers staff the shop and assist students in design and construction. Specialties include vacuum systems and specialty materials for chemical compatibility.

Facility & Shop Videos