Supporting high-performing aerospace research and development

CEMAS helps researchers and professionals in the aerospace industry develop new products, understand their existing products, and solve challenges. Working with our industry partners, we're challenging the current characterization limits to drive aerospace innovation.

Electron microscopy plays a significant role in characterizing and evaluating materials to produce high-quality materials. CEMAS collaborates with industrial partners to leverage quantitative data to improve manufacturing processes and propel innovation, while guiding process development and providing an invaluable opportunity to capture mission critical insights through imaging and analysis for advancement of high-performance materials designed to perform in extreme environments.

CEMAS houses one of the largest concentrations of electron microscopy instruments in any North American institution. We offer a full-service, expertly designed environment for industry partners to execute their entire microscopy analysis programs – from extensive sample preparation to image processing tools complemented by staff support.

Our custom-designed remote capabilities also allow industrial researchers an opportunity to observe our instruments in full resolution from any high-speed internet enabled device and collaborate with CEMAS’s expert staff in real time to ensure accurate and efficient data collection. Samples can be shipped to CEMAS, reducing the need for travel and providing significant cost savings.

Are you interested in working together? Let’s connect.

person working at microscope

Aerospace Materials Characterization 

CEMAS’s entire equipment suite of x-ray and analytical electron microscopes can be used to accelerate aerospace characterization depending on what questions need answers and what your most pressing challenges are, including, but not limited to:

  • Developing new structural materials that meet the demands of today’s challenges
  • Characterizing gas atomized powders and base materials for additive manufacturing and 3D printed components
  • Supporting the discovery of new materials with reproducible data
  • Solving materials and method development challenges to improve processes and investigate product defects
  • Identifying defects and helping establish improved protocols for creating higher performing materials


microscope imaging of aerospace part, gray rough surface
Classical SEM fractography can be applied to identify defects and crack initiation sites.
microscope imaging of aerospace part, gray rough surface
FIB prepared region to produce cross-sectional samples below the crack initiation site that will be explored further to reveal dislocation and  oxide formation and penetration in the crack initiation region.
microscope imaging of aerospace part, gray rough surface
Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) image revealing the microstructure and oxide formation below the crack initiation site. 

How CEMAS Can Accelerate Aerospace Research

CEMAS characterization capabilities provide aerospace engineers and researchers the opportunity to “see” structural materials better than ever before and provide researchers high-fidelity, quantitative data. An example of how electron microscopy can be applied to high temperature structural materials used for turbine engines components is show below. Our staff and instruments are capable of exploring failed components from turbine engines to identify damage and defects to discover how or why a part has failed. Electron microscopy images provide directly observable evidence to help industrial partners make decisions to help a product perform better. These techniques are not only beneficial for failed components but are beneficial for characterizing new alloy design and structural components, as well as manufactured and processed components from castings and forgings or more modern methods such as additively manufactured, or 3D printed components. 

CEMAS provides industrial partners the opportunity to access our entire suite of analytical electron microscopes, a resource of capital equipment exceeding $40 million, as independent users or through staff assisted data collection. 

CEMAS’s team of technical staff further supports the physical infrastructure. We work directly with our external counterparts to identify problems and develop problem-specific characterization workflows to explore possible solutions.

CEMAS expert level staff is composed almost entirely of Ph.D. level scientists that span engineering, physics and life science backgrounds and are here to work with industrial collaborators to answer your questions. Our suite of analytical electron microscopes and x-ray systems provide a way to characterize your materials from the milli-meter level through the micro-meter level and, even down to the pico-meter level. The data produced at CEMAS has the potential to provide companies insight to answer critical aerospace questions related to their structural materials, such as strengthening, embrittlement, creep, fracture and fatigue, as well as much more.  

See More with CEMAS

Not only does CEMAS enable academic and industrial partners to "see more" than ever before, but the infrastructure also allows results to be achieved more quickly. Multiple factors contribute to CEMAS’s efficiency, perhaps most critical is the fact that all instruments meet or exceed the manufacturer specifications for resolution and performance, sometimes by a factor of 2-3 times. Also, CEMAS is fortunate to house some of the most technologically advanced analytical electron microscopy equipment commercially available.  EBSD data collection is a time-consuming process. For example, large area scans can range from 8-48hrs with older generation technology. CEMAS is equipped with some of the fastest EBSD systems, capable of achieving up to 5000 frames/second on suitable samples.  The EBSD map to the right could easily take 12 hours to acquire in other facilities, but with CEMAS systems, this EBSD map was acquired in ~1hr. This provides a game-changing approach to how crystallographic information is collected and phase identification can be performed, opening new pathways for large amounts of information that can be used in predictive models and decision making processes, as well as providing significant cost benefits. Ultimately, we can provide researchers and companies a more cost-effective route to gather critical information to help them make the most informed decision for their engineering problems. 

ebsd map key

Industry Partners


intertial aerospace logo
Inertial Aerospace
boeing logo
Federal mogul
Federal-Mogul Powertrain
GE Aviation logo
GE Aviation
Glenn Research Center
Parker logo
Parker Hannifin

Ready to get started?

We're looking forward to learning more about your needs and exploring collaborative opportunities. Click here to begin the process of becoming a CEMAS user. If questions come up or you'd like additional information, please email