Structure/Property Characterization Services

The Structural/Property Characterization laboratories are located on the 3rd floor of dental school building and provide a wide range of analytical techniques for research and training in life science and biomaterials/bioengineering fields.

Outside users can arrange to use our imaging and evaluation services, including FTIR, RAMAN Microspectroscopy, AFM/Nanoindentation.  For information on these services and our pricing structure, please contact Jessica Moniz at 816-235-2315 or



Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy and Chemical Imaging Laboratory

The Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy and Chemical Imaging Laboratory is equipped with an FTIR system to detect and image the vibrational characteristics of chemical functional groups for biological tissues and biomaterials. FTIR has the capability to provide information such as mineral/matrix ratio, protein secondary structure, collagen crosslinking and orientation, mineral crystallinity and composition in mineralized tissue research. FTIR uses an infrared radiation beam to identify the chemical structure of a molecule by measuring the absorbance of light at different frequencies. When combined with a microscope, chemical changes can be imaged as a function of position. Attenuated total reflectance (ATR) spectroscopy can be used to measure the chemical changes on the surfaces of samples. Curing of materials can be monitored with time-varying FTIR and the chemical changes due to chemical reaction can be quantified.

Raman Micro-Spectroscopy Laboratory

The Raman Micro-Spectroscopy Laboratory is equipped with high resolution Raman units that provide information on molecular bonds in biological tissues and biomaterials. Raman spectroscopy, as an FTIR complementary instrument, is a fast, relatively simple and non-destructive technique that provides information on the chemical/molecular structure of different materials. Unlike infrared spectroscopy, no sample preparation is required, nor is there interference due to water content in the sample. Raman spectroscopy is based on the inelastic scattering of photons (light) by phonons (crystal vibrations).

Atomic Force Microscopy and Nanoindentation Laboratory

The Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Nanoindentation Laboratory is focused on nanoscale characterization of materials and structures. It features high resolution scanning probe techniques for atomic- and nano-scale characterization to image the topography of surfaces at the sub-100 micron scale. Nanoindenting is performed in conjunction with AFM. The area for testing is located by AFM imaging, and indentations imaged by AFM after testing. The depth of the indentation is measured from the AFM image to evaluate hardness. A force-displacement curve obtained during indentation also provides indications of the sample material’s mechanical and physical properties such as elastic modulus and hardness

Mechanical Testing Laboratory

The mechanical testing laboratory provides structural, physical and mechanical assessment of materials and products. Tests are carried out under environmentally controlled conditions to ensure that the materials and products meet specification and are fit for their intended purpose. Biological tissues and biomaterials can be evaluated to measure properties such as tensile, compressive or flexural strength; hardness; micro-hardness; and modulus of elasticity.

For more information on mechanical testing, please contact Jessica Moniz at 816-235-2315 or