National Innovation Summit and Showcase

Materials Characterization Methods: Overview, Insights and Applications

Nanoscale Materials Characterization pictures

Sunday, May 13, 2018, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA

Technology Focus

The workshop will provide an overview of materials characterization methods used to probe a wide variety of properties with an emphasis on real-world applications in industries including biomedical, pharmaceutical, chemicals, personal care, semiconductor, coatings, and energy. Covers both basic and deeper understandings of commonly available techniques, and correspondingly both basic and more insightful applications. 

Workshop Outline

We explore capabilities to measure material properties such as morphology, elemental information, chemical information, and mechanical/electrical properties. Techniques covered include: XPS, SEM, TEM, XRD, Raman/IR, nanoindentation, AFM. For each technique, an overview of each method will be presented explaining basics of operation as well as some finer points and more advanced understandings; this is followed by applications to various industries. The purpose is to provide attendees with a basic landscape of what capabilities are possible and how to astutely use these methods to solve practical real-world problems; and in the process, how to avoid certain misconceptions. Overall the course will compare and contrast differences in capabilities, sample preparation required, and information provided from these methods.

Workshop Instructors

Dalia Yablon


SurfaceChar LLC

Dalia Yablon holds an A.B. in Chemistry from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Columbia University. She spent 11 years at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering’s Corporate Strategic Research, its flagship research center in Annandale NJ. At ExxonMobil, she served as Program Leader in various sectors of the energy business and developed a state of the art scanning probe microscopy laboratory for nanoscale characterization of surfaces and interfaces. She has worked in a number of cross-sector areas including polymers, tribology, lubrication, corrosion and unconventional gas resources with a specific focus on developing new nanomechanical characterization methods. In 2013, Dalia founded a scientific consulting company in the greater Boston area, SurfaceChar, a surfaces and interfaces characterization and measurement consulting service with a focus on scanning probe microscopy/atomic force microscopy.

Greg Haugstad

Technical Staff Member & Director, Characterization Facility (CharFac)

University of Minnesota

Greg Haugstad is a condensed matter physicist with degrees from Gustavus Adolphus College and University of Minnesota. He is technical staff member and director of the Characterization Facility (CharFac) at the University of Minnesota. The CharFac serves nanotechnology-intensive companies as well as academics by providing contract services, analytical methods development and training. 

Greg is a frequent speaker in sessions emphasizing nanoscale characterization. He has collaborated with industry on open research related to inkjet printing and micro/nano-spray coatings; adhesion/release media; personal care films; biomedical device surface modification; polymer-drug nanoparticles and coatings; ultrafiltration media; and nanocomposites. He further engages in contract work with a broad range of clients. Since 2001 he has served on the graduate faculty at UMinn, with a materials characterization emphasis. His teaching has included graduate courses in imaging, spectrometry and nanomechanics; undergraduate characterization labs; nanocharacterization capstone courses for 2-year students; training classes for the CharFac; and national-reach short courses. Related to this educational emphasis, he has written a methods monograph on AFM (Wiley)


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