Established in fall 2000, the Penn State MRSEC Central Facilities Laboratory (CFL) is housed in Davey Laboratory, which is located on Penn State University Park Central Campus within a 10 minute walk of the academic departments of the Center participants. It is comprised of several laboratories that contain instruments for advanced electrical and optical characterization, wet and dry sample preparation, and computation. In addition, the MRSEC has also contributed resources to purchase instruments that are located in established user facilities located at Penn State University. Together these user facilities provide investigators with access to the specialized fabrication, characterization, and computational equipment required for researchers in the MRSEC IRGs. Integration of these instruments into user facilities rather than individual investigator laboratories has enabled the greatest access of the equipment to all MRSEC members who are actively engaged in experimental research, and have provided a mechanism for training courses and workshops related to equipment use and maintenance. Moreover, they also provide natural meeting places for participants from across campus to share technical expertise, which enhances interdisciplinary exchange.
The MRSEC Central Facilities Laboratory primarily serves the research needs of the two IRGs. The CFL is a node of the Materials Characterization Laboratory, a user facility operated by the Materials Research Institute (MRI) at Penn State. Other user facilities that connect to MRSEC through MRI are the Penn State Nanofabrication Laboratory and the Materials Computation Center (MCC). The directors of MRI, MCL, the Nanofab, and the MSC are active participants in the MRSEC. Both the MRSEC Central Facility Laboratory and the MCL are part of the Materials Research Facility Network (MRFN).