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Molecular Design Institute

The Molecular Design Institute operates within the NYU Department of Chemistry at the nexus of key areas in physics and biology, serving as a springboard for interdisciplinary research with other NYU departments. The MDI complements the newly established Center for Soft Matter Research in the Department of Physics. These two initiatives offer a unique opportunity to examine self-assembly and hierarchical organization of complex materials across length scales ranging from the molecular to the colloidal, that is, from the nanoscale to the microscale. The existence of complementary center in the Physics and Chemistry will provide synergy, strengthening both departments in tandem. The MDI faculty, Professor Michael D. Ward, Professor Marcus Weck, Professor Bart Kahr, and Professor Adam Braunschweig, unite expertise in the design and synthesis of complex molecular and supramolecular architectures and materials. The MDI has procured facilities for cutting edge research. Since its ribbon cutting ceremony in May 2007, the MDI has hosted many guests from the United States and abroad.


  1. Agilent 1200 Series HPLC/GPC

    This instrument is set up to run as a Gel Permeation Chromatograph (GPC) using chloroform as an eluent for use in our lab. It is equipped with an auto sampler, a column oven, and a variable wavelength detector. In addition, this instrument is coupled to a Wyatt Technologies DAWN HELIOS multi-angle light scattering detector as well as a Wyatt Technologies OptilabRex refractive index detector.

  2. Asylum MFP-3D-SA Atomic Force Microscope

    The Asylum MFP Stand Alone Atomic Force Microscope provides a sensitive and precise AFM with the lowest noise performance that also includes a complete scientific software environment. The current setup allows for precision force and adhesion measurements examining biomineral and amino acid interactions.

  3. CEM Discover Microwave System

    The CEM Focused Microwave Synthesis System, Model Discover, allows the performance of reactions under controlled conditions. Microwave energy is applied to reaction vessels to accelerate reaction. Chemical reactions have the potential to be significantly enhanced due to the microwave absorption properties of some liquid and solid materials.

  4. Contact Angle Meter

    The contact angle meter is used to determine the contact angle of a solvent on a solid surface and thereby probe surface wettability.

  5. Dimension 3100 Atomic Force Microscope

    The dimension AFM is similar in operation to the multi-mode but differs in its configuration as the cantilever probe is attached to the piezo-electric scanner and rasters above the sample. The dimension 3100 is particularly valuable for collecting images of several samples without having to change many components or settings between imaging sessions.

  6. Dry Box

    Glove Box allows you to work in inert environment with oxygen and moisture sensitive compounds. Equipped with freezer, oxygen and water sensors and two chambers. Operates with touch sensitive LCD display and build in computer.

  7. Electrochemical Quartz Crystal Microbalance

    The CHI 400A is an electrochemical workstation with many functions, including: voltammetry, chronocoulometry, chronopotentiometry and QCM. The electronic functions can be used independently, or they can be combined with the QCM function to perform EQCM measurements.

  8. Gas Chromatograph

    The HP 6890 Series gas chromatograph system includes single Split/Splitless Injector, single Flame Ionization Detector, Electronic Pressure Control on detector and injector. The HP 6890 series GC features electronic pneumatics control of all gas pressures and flows. Onboard sensors automatically compensate for ambient temperature changes and barometric pressure differences to routinely achieve more accurate and reproducible results. By providing stable results, EPC reduces recalibration frequency and improves laboratory productivity.

  9. High Vacuum Coating System

    MED 020 allows coating methods, such as sputter coating, resistance evaporation, and electron beam evaporation. The current setup features resistance evaporation with precise thickness monitoring with a quartz crystal.

  10. Hydrogenerator

    The Parr hydrogenator allows for mechanical shaking of reactions under a hydrogen atmosphere of up to 60psi pressure. An attached thermocouple and heating jacket allow reactions to be performend at elevated temperatures.

  11. IR (Magna)

    IR (Magna) is one of the most commonly used instrument to characterize a material. It detects the wavelength at which materials absorb within the IR frequency range. The Magna instrument is equipped with two detectors: MCT/A (in the left compartment) and DTGS (in the right compartment) detectors. Both liquid and solid samples can be examined. It can also be operated in different modes such as transmission and reflectance modes.

  12. IR (Perkin-Elmer)

    The System 2000 FT-IR can be used either in transmission mode or ATR mode. Samples can be either solid or liquid. The ATR mode is especially useful for analysis of the surface of materials. It is also suitable for characterization of materials which are either too thick or too strong absorbing to be analyzed by transmission spectroscopy. For the bulk material or thick film, no sample preparation is required for ATR analysis.

  13. Langmuir-Blodgett Troughs

    Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) troughs are capable of the deposition of multi-molecular LB films onto solid substrates. Typically, these molecular layers consist of amphiphilic molecules such as fatty acids and lipids. Model 611M has a 2 mechanically coupled barriers compressing symmetrically towards the centre of the trough. The dipper and well are also at the centre of the trough. This configuration is ideal if both faces of the substrate are to be coated.

  14. MBraun Labmaster 130 Glove Box

    Our glove box allows us to work in dry, oxygen free environments. It is outfitted with both a small and large antechamber. Inside the glove box are access to a freezer, an external vacuum line, as well as solvents that are coupled to the solvent delivery system.

  15. MDI Cleanroom

    The cleanroom provides an environment that minimizes contaminants, which may adversely affect the manufacture of a product. It is a facility in which the concentration of airborne particulates and other contaminants are controlled to remain below specific threshold limits. Once the environment has been thoroughly cleaned to eliminate contaminants, maintenance of the facility to keep it in compliance with the threshold limit of contamination becomes a matter of process control.

  16. Multi-Mode Atomic Force Microscope

    The multi-mode AFM mates the motion of a piezo-electric scanner with the subtle deflection movements of a microscopic cantilever to produce images through the rastering of a sample under a probe (the cantilever). This instrument allows the capability for capturing digitally constructed images of many kinds of surfaces through several imaging modes in both air and fluids.

  17. Optical Microscopes

    In addition to the basic capability of visual magnification, the optical microscope comes with many other equipments such as CCD camera (for real-time imaging), cross-polarizers, and hot-stages. The optical microscope operates interchangibly in two modes: transmission and reflectance modes.

  18. PerkinElmer Pyris1 Differential Scanning Calorimetry

    The differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) instrument is used to observe the behavior of your sample with changing temperature and most commonly employed to determine important material physical properties such as melting temperature, sublimation temperature, and glass transition temperature. The Pyris 1 DSC (using aluminium pan) can operate from -20 C to 500 C with a scan rate of 0.1 to 200 C/min. For accurate analysis, 2 mg of samples are needed.

  19. PerkinElmer Pyris1 Thermogravimetric Analyzer

    The thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA) is a useful instrument to determine how the mass of a sample changes with temperature. As such, it is an excellent tool to find out how thermally stable your sample is. While most experiments are done under nitrogen atmosphere, the user can also switch to oxygen atmosphere, in which case, the experimenter could determine the rate of oxidation of his/her sample. The Pyris 1 TGA can operate from ambient temperature to 1030 C with a scan rate of 0.1 to 200 C/min. For accurate analysis, 2 mg of samples are needed.

  20. Polymer-Pen Lithography with XE Series AFM

    Polymer Pen Lithography (PPL) is a low-cost, high-throughput direct patterning method to generate micro- and nanoarrays of chemicals on an underlying substrate. By simply changing contact pressure and the time of delivery, dots of various diameters can be produced. The unique AFM platform of Park Systems’ XE Technology with decoupled XY and Z scanners enable a very flat and linear XY scan over a large area, less than 2 nm out-of-plane motions over 100 µm x 100 µm and less than 10 nm out-of-plane motions over 400 µm x 400 µm.

  21. Shimadzu Analytical/Preparative HPLC/GPC

    This instrument is set up to run as a Gel Permeation Chromatograph (GPC) or HPLC in our lab. It is equipped with two LC-8A Preparative Liquid Chromatograph pumps for binary or isocratic solvent systems. Sample elution is detected using both a dual channel variable wavelength detector as well as a refractive index detector. Furthermore, this instrument is also equipped with a fraction collector.

  22. Shimadzu GC-17A Gas Chromatograph

    This gas chromatograph is outfitted with an autosampler, and a flame ionization detector (FID). Since this instrument is primarily used for the resolution of enantiomers, it is equipped with a Chiraldex g-TA column.

  23. Shimadzu HPLC/GPC

    This instrument is set up to run as a Gel Permeation Chromatograph (GPC) using dichloromethane as an eluent for use in our lab. It is equipped with an auto-sampler and both a dual channel variable wavelength detector as well as a refractive index detector.

  24. UV-Vis

    The Lambda 950 is a versatile spectrometers operating in the ultraviolet visible (UV/VIS) spectral ranges. Additionally, the Lambda 950 operates in the near infrared region. The spectrometer features a double-beam, double monochromator, ratio recording optical system. This instrument is usable in a wide range of applications as indicated by its performance specifications.

  25. Vacuum Pumps

    Each hood is equipped with two Welch vacuum oil pumps connected to the manifold with liquid nitrogen trap.

  26. Water Purification System

    Direct Q produces (1) Type I ultrapure water (Resistivity 18.2 MΩ·cm at 25 °C and Total Organic Carbon < 10 ppb) and (2) Type III reverse osmosis water.

  27. X-Ray Diffractometer

    The fourth improved generation of Bruker’s original line of sealed tube chemical crystallography systems. A very accessible 3-circle gonimeter especially designed for CCD systems combined with the APEX II – the most sensitive and fastest CCD detector - creates the finest instrumentation for structure determination. Bruker’s new intuitive APEX software makes this diffractometer easy to use for the novice crystallographer but provides all the tools for the expert user. This system will help you to collect best data and does not leave any question unanswered.