The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Device Characterization facility

Device Characterization Laboratory


COVID-19 Status

Partial Closure 3

  1. Accepting projects on a case by case basis, both internal and external
  2. Not open to users
  3. Contact core director for review/determination

Located on the 4th floor in the Life Science Laboratories the Device Characterization facility provides gold-standard verification of wearable and point-of-care devices and other medical devices. This lab offers a full suite of mechanical testing capabilities to fully characterize materials, manufacturing processes, and their fabricated devices.

We offer training to users to conduct experimentation for use on a fee for service basis to both internal and external researchers, academic or industry based. Following an initial consultation, covering experimental parameters training and access is arranged through the director.

  • 3D Systems Capture

    The Capture 3D scanner allows rapid characterization of the surface geometry and shape of an object. The scanner allows rapid creation of a digital model of a physical object. Industrial uses include fields as varied as quality control, orthotics, and prosthetics. Though not as accurate as a coordinate measuring machine, the 3D scanner requires no physical contact.

  • KLA Tencor Alpha D-500

    The Alpha D-500 stylus profiler allows high resolution characterization of 2D surfaces. The measurements can be used to ascertain step height, roughness, bow, and shape of a piece, as well as measurement of stress. The device also allows high resolution visualization of surface features. Such measures are used in a variety of fields, including materials research and medical devices.

  • Nikon Altera 7.5.5 Coordinate Measuring Machine

    The Nikon Altera 7.5.5 allows high precision characterization of device geometry in critical to function locations. Using a 5-axis measuring system and a number of probe options, the system measures with volumetric accuracy on the order of 1.8 microns, allowing a designer to confirm part dimensions to tight tolerances.

  • Edibon EBVR

    The Brinell, Vickers and Rockwell Hardness Testing Unit (EBVR) consists of a hardness testing machine that determines the three main types of hardness (Brinell, Vickers and Rockwell).

    It can be adapted to determine hardness of ferrous materials (steel, casting pieces, etc.), nonferrous materials (aluminum and copper alloys, etc.), test pieces and alloys.

  • Instron ElectroPuls 10000

    The ElectroPuls 10000 can test material properties under large linear and torsion loads and at high strain. Using the system a material or device’s material and fatigue responses can be tested to determine its performance and validate its manufacturing process.

  • Stress Photonics GFP 1500 Full Field Strain Measurement System

    The GFP 1500 allows location specific characterization of stress and strain, allowing a designer to finely adjust their design to withstand loads and validate engineering models. The part is painted with a photo elastic coating, and then illuminated with circularly polarized light. The light becomes elliptically polarized proportional to maximum shear strain at the object surface.

(click image to view)


  1. Prices are for trained users and do not include support staff, consumables, or materials.
  2. Printing-as-a-service is available on the P110 at $0.10/cm3 and on the Connex 350 at $14/hr, including materials.
  3. Support for untrained users and for additional help is $50/hr for technician, $117/hr for engineering or design.
  4. Shared rates shown are “per simultaneous user”, so a lab could have multiple trained users and pay one shared fee, as long as only one piece of equipment is used at a time.
  5. All rates are for academic research for UMass (all) or the Five Colleges. Personal and industry use rates are 50% higher (e.g. $300 → $450).
  6. “Dedicated” means the machine is available for your exclusive use for that period of time. This includes setup, operation, and clean up.
  7. “Shared” means that the machine is available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no guarantee that shared equipment will be available at any specific time, and priority will be given to those who schedule dedicated access.
  8. Training Requirements:
  • All: EH&S Lab Safety Training, Fire Safety Training, machine specific training (from ADDFab)
  • Laser Cutter: Laser Safety Training
  • Metal Printers and EOS P110: Respirator fit and training
  • Metal Printers: Class C and D fire extinguisher training

Training for new users consists of:

  • lab safety training,
  • operation of the instrument and associated software,
  • use of data analysis software,
  • exporting or presenting data,
  • clean up and shutdown of the instrumentation.

Once the training is complete, researchers may schedule their experiments through the director of Device Characterization (David Follette) or online through CORUM at

Device Characterization Lab: Instron Electropuls E10000 for fatigue testing in tension, compression, and torsion, up to 10kN/100Nm, Nikon Altera 7.5.5 Coordinate Measuring Machine for touch-probe measurements in a 70x50x50cm area to <3 micron precision, KLA Tencor Alpha D-500 stylus profiler for measuring surface roughness, Edibon EBVR Brinell, Vickers, and Rockwell Hardness testing, Stress Photonics GFP 1500 Full Field Strain Measurement System to visualize stress in parts during testing, and a 3D Systems Capture structured light 3D scanner for creating digital models from actual parts.

  • Training is available for every tool in the lab.

Updated January 1, 2021