The Microscopy and Characterization Suite (MaCS) provides the organization and infrastructure to make various materials characterization tools available for research, academia, and regional companies.

The Microscopy and Characterization Suite (MaCS) is a state-of-the-art materials characterization laboratory that provides cross-cutting capabilities that support the Center for Advanced Energy Studies’ (CAES) mission in multiple initiative areas.  MaCS is largely made possible through its partnership with the Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF).

MaCS is complementary to the Boise State Center for Materials Characterization (BSCMC) that was established by the Idaho State Board of Education in August 2006 to provide a state-of-the-art characterization facility in order to attract more students into science and engineering careers, to improve science and engineering education at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and to foster leading research and interaction with local industry.

Collectively, MaCS and BSCMC provide the organization and infrastructure to make various materials characterization tools available for research, academia, and regional companies.

Staff and Contacts

Dr. Yaqiao Wu

Dr. Yaqiao Wu

MaCS Director & Instrument Lead, AML Lead

CAES Office: (208) 533-8112

Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP), Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM)

Affiliated with:
Boise State University

*MaCS lab contact

Jeremy Burgener

Jeremy Burgener

MaCS Business and Operations manager

Affiliated with:
Boise State University

*MaCS lab contact

Megha Dubey

Megha Dubey

MaCS Lab Instrument Lead

Office: (208) 533-8169

995 MK Simpson Boulevard
Idaho Falls, ID 83401

Affiliated with:
Boise State University

Quick Facts

  • MaCS has the capabilities to characterize a wide range of materials, including metals, semiconductors, ceramics, coal and minerals in bulk or powder forms, as well as some organic cellular materials.
  • It can provide 2-D/3-D morphology, chemical information, and mechanical testing data from micron to atomic scale.
  • Research includes analysis of nuclear fuels and materials, geological samples, feedstocks for biofuels, stainless steel alloys, ceramics and more.
  • Lab Layout (click on image to enlarge):
    MaCS 1.png?fit=scale&fm=png&h=194&ixlib=php 1.2 Microscopy and Characterization Suite


Working in MaCS

MaCS Operating Envelope

Nonradioactive Samples

  • Equipment: All imaging instruments and sample prep equipment may be used in MaCS for nonradioactive materials.
  • All imaging and sample prep activities shall be performed in accordance with CAES Operating Procedures.

Radioactive Samples

Materials: Radioactive material requests are evaluated as they are made, with consideration given to 1) whether the cumulative CAES inventory limit will be exceeded and 2) changing the CAES operating envelope for radiological materials.

The current rad operating envelope includes depleted uranium, solid activated ceramics, and fixed radiation sources. Depleted uranium may be in solid forms. Fixed radiation sources include activated metals: solid, non-dispersible, smearably clean (i.e., considered to be free of removable radioactive contamination) samples of activated metal and solid ceramic materials that are prepared to minimize sample mass and have a gamma dose rate of less than 70 millirem per hour at 30 centimeters are generally acceptable for analysis and testing in CAES.

  • Sample Receipt: Every effort should be made to send samples as clean as possible (i.e. minimize the removable contamination). The shipper must follow all applicable DOT shipping requirements, and inner containers including sample holders will be less than 7 dpm/100 cm2 alpha and 70 dpm/100 cm2 beta/gamma. If the measured activity levels of materials are not consistent with the types and levels specified in the shipping manifest and approved RPR13, if the sample containers are at all compromised, or the number of, or labeling of samples no not match the information provided by the researcher/shipper, the materials will be immediately returned to the shipper.
  • Sample Preparation: Minor sample “touch-up” is the only sample prep activity allowed for radioactive samples. Touch-up shall be performed in accordance with CAES Operating Procedures, with each activity planned and approved on a project-by-project basis. Some nuclides may prove to be unacceptable for sample preparation until Phase 2. This reinforces the need to fully vet sample prep activities in the service request step of the process.
  • Equipment: All imaging equipment may be used for radiological sample analysis.


EquipmentAcademic / Government Rate Non-radiological samplesAcademic / Government Rate Radiological samplesExternal Industry Rate
Nanoindenter AFM$100$130$150
$Sample Preparation (Per Samples)$50$100$100
*Instrument lead rate$87$87$120

How to Request Services

Request servivces flowechart.png?fm=png&ixlib=php 1.2 Microscopy and Characterization Suite

Click to enlarge

Brief Overview of MaCS Protocols and Training Requirements

All training is completed using the CAES Training Access Management System (TAMS).

Complete the following:

  1. CAES Facility Orientation
  2. Core Lab Training
  3. MaCS Specific Lab Training
    • The Lab Lead walk through will be conducted before you begin working in MaCS by the Lab Lead or Alternate Designee.

The MaCS lab is a radiological laboratory, therefore radiological and non radiological MaCS workers must complete Idaho State University (ISU) radiological training located in the CAES Training Access Management Systems (TAMS).

Guidelines and Agreement for MaCS Usage

Service Requests, Tracking System and Calendar



MaCS Virtual Tour

MaCS Virtual Tour

Virtual Tour

Fact Sheet | MaCS

Fact Sheet | MaCS


CAES Lab Research FAQs

CAES Lab Research FAQs

Lab Research FAQs

Equipment Standard Operating Procedure

Equipment Standard Operating Procedure

ESOP Template

Readiness Verification

Readiness Verification

Readiness Verification Checklist

CAES-030 Project Plan

CAES-030 Project Plan

CAES-030 Project Plan Template

Publications, Papers, and Proceedings

Effects of Sintering Aides on Hydrothermal Corrosion Behavior of Si3N4 Ball Bearings

Presented at the 11th Annual Boise State University Undergraduate Research Conference

Bateman, A., B. J. Jaques, and D. P. Butt - April 21, 2014

Ferritic Oxide Dispersion Strengthen Alloys by Spark Plasma Sintering

J. Nucl. Mater

Allahar, K. N., J. Burns, B. Jaques, Y. Q. Wu, I. Charit, J. Cole, and D. P. Butt - Accepted 2014

Initial Kinetics of Oxide Dispersion Strengthened Alloys Consolidated by Spark Plasma Sintering

143rd Annual TMS 2014 Conference

Allahar, K. N., J. Burns, Y. Q. Wu, B. J. Jaques, D. P. Butt, I. Charit, and J. Cole - February 16–20, 2014

Microstructural Stability of a Self-Ion Irradiated Lanthana-Bearing Nanostructured Ferritic Steel

J. Nucl. Mater., 465, 191-204

S. Pasebani, I. Charit, J. Burns, S. Alsagabi, D. P. Butt, J. I. Cole, L. Price, and L. Shao - 2015