Materials Research Science and Engineering Center
The P-nDSC: A Combinatorial Approach to Thermal Analysis of Materials

Heat capacity is a critical parameter in materials design and characterization. It is typically measured in large-scale samples. However, as materials become more complex and quantities become smaller, new methodologies are required to test them. Vlassak has developed a new tool, the Parallel nano-Differential Scanning Calorimeter (P-nDSC) that measures minute quantities of many different samples simultaneously. The device promises to revolutionize the development of material systems, providing the raw data for materials innovation and design. The P-nDSC will accomplish by means of an array of micromachined calorimetric cells. Each cell is one-half of a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC), with nJ/K sensitivity. This is a significant improvement in sensitivity when compared to typical DSC systems. The array design will greatly expedite the analysis of minute quantities of materials and makes it possible to use the system for combinatorial analysis of materials.