Lab Facilities

UCSB Shared Instrumentation Network: Directory of shared instrumentation and laboratory facilities on the UCSB campus, designed to assist campus researchers and research partners. Created in collaboration with the UCSB Office of Research and campus Sustainability Office, with support from the Materials Research Laboratory.

Research Facilities, Laboratories, and Technology

Computational Facilities

The College of Engineering maintains computing facilities open to all students within the college. These facilities include to state-of-the-art workstations. Individual research groups also maintain significant PC and workstation facilities.

Process Dynamics and Control Laboratories 

A pH neutralization process serves as a challenging demonstration unit for advanced process control and monitoring strategies. A batch polymerization reactor is available for novel modeling and control research. Stirred-tank heating systems and an interacting four tank liquid storage system illustrate key concepts in process control courses. All of the experimental equipment is controlled by industrial computer control systems.

Mass Transfer and Separation Processes Laboratory

This facility contains well-instrumented equipment for studying mass transfer and separation processes. Some specialized research apparatuses that have been constructed for this laboratory include: a laminar-liquid jet absorber used for gas/liquid chemical kinetics measurements; a wetted-sphere gas absorber used for diffusion coefficient measurements and gas/liquid chemical kinetics measurements; a modified Zipperclave' reactor used for gas solubility measurements at pressures up to 200 bar; a stirred-cell absorber used for experimentally testing mass transfer models; a supported-liquid membrane apparatus used for testing diffusion/reaction models of facilitated transport; a diaphragm cell apparatus for liquid phase diffusion coefficient measurements. Data acquisition software and hardware are used where appropriate. Current research projects focus on acid gas treating using alkanolamines and advanced oxidation kinetics studies for refractory organics in water.

Multiphase Systems Laboratory

This laboratory includes facilities for major thermal hydraulic research for advanced reactor development. There are also facilities for studying transient thermal hydraulics, wave phenomena, and two-phase flow related to safety in the power and process industries. The laboratory recently acquired a state-of-the-art laser Doppler anemometer to measure three-dimensional velocity fields.

Materials Research Facilities

The department shares with the Department of Materials extensive laboratory facilities for materials research. These include a microscopy and microanalytical facility with transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopies, as well as dynamic secondary ion mass spectroscopy and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Laboratories for metallography, x-ray diffraction, mechanical testing, materials processing and polymer characterization are also available. The latter includes state-of-the-art facilities for molecular, rheological, and rheooptical characterization of polymer melts, solutions, and gels. The rheological characterization equipment includes two Arcs Rheometrics Mechanical Spectrometers (one for fluids and the other for polymer melts), a constant stress rheometer, and various capillary viscometers. The rheooptical measurements are carried out on a Phase Modulated Flow Birefringence device. Static and dynamic light scattering is performed on a Brookhaven Laser Light Scattering Gonimeter. In addition, there is a wide range of facilities available for polymer synthesis and characterization which is shared with other laboratories. These include: Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC); Gel Permeation Chromatography (GC); Infrared Spectroscopy (IR and FTIR); and optical microscopy at elevated temperatures.

Catalysis and surface chemistry laboratories

These laboratories contain eight sophisticated ultra high vacuum machines with the following experimental capabilities: atomic and molecular beam scattering, high-resolution electron energy loss spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared reflection-absorption spectroscopy, quadrupole mass spectrometry, low-energy electron diffraction, Auger electron spectroscopy, X-ray and UV-photoelectron spectroscopies, contact potential difference measurements, and scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopies. Medium and high vacuum lines are available for handling high surface area catalysts and air-sensitive organometallics. Synthetic equipment includes glove boxes, solvent purification system and Schlenk lines. Characterization involves FTIR, UV-vis, GC and GC-MS.

Interfacial Sciences Laboratories

These two laboratories in chemical engineering contain state-of-the-art equipment necessary for detailed measurements of the forces and structures at fluid-fluid and fluid-solid interfaces. The instruments include four versions of the surface forces apparatus designed to measure the interactions between surfaces such as biomembranes, polymers, and crystalline solids across liquids such as water or oils. The newest variations of the instruments can be used to measure dynamic forces important to lubrication and friction at the molecular scale, and do in situ x-ray imaging. These labs also include high vacuum freeze-fracture devices used to prepare liquid samples for the lab's transmission electron microscope. This lab is one of the few in any chemical engineering department that contains both the scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopes which can provide atomic resolution images of surfaces. The lab also includes an optical microscope with Nomarski optics, a high speed ultracentrifuge, two Langmuir-Blodgett troughs for creating ordered monolayer assemblies, and highspeed cameras.

NMR Spectroscopy Facilities

State-of-the-art facilities in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy are available in the Central Facilities of the UCSB Materials Research Laboratory and California NanoSystems Institute to support a wide range of materials and engineering investigations at a molecular level.  Facilities include narrow-bore 18.8 Tesla (800 MHz 1H, see below), wide-bore 11.7 Tesla (500 MHz), and wide-bore 7 Tesla (300 MHz) NMR spectrometers that are configured for both solution- and solid-state samples. 14 Tesla (600 MHz) and 11.7 Tesla (500 MHz) NMR spectrometers are available for high-resolution solution-state measurements.  An X-Band (9 GHz) electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectrometer operating at 0.35 T provides variable temperature capabilities to ca. 10 K on paramagnetic samples.

Bruker Spectrometer

Bruker AVANCE-800 NMR spectrometer and 18.8 Tesla ultra-shielded superconducting magnet in the Central Facilities of the UCSB California NanoSystems Institute. The very high magnetic field strength enables high resolution solution-state NMR studies of proteins and Biomacromolecules, as well as solid-state studies of semiconductor and catalyst materials that would otherwise be infeasible at lower conventional magnetic fields. 
Extensive instrumentation and experimental support exists for the performance of non-routine experiments, including: (i) broadband double-, triple-, and quadruple-resonance NMR techniques under variable temperature conditions and fast (35-40 kHz) and ultra-fast (up to 70 kHz) magic-angle spinning (MAS), including 2D 29Si{1H}, 27Al{1H}, 13C{1H}, and 1H{1H} correlation spectroscopy, rotational-echo double resonance (REDOR, TEDOR), rotor-synchronized experiments, and conventional cross-polarization MAS, for selective filtering of interactions in structural studies of complicated solid materials; (ii) multiple-quantum magic-angle spinning (MQ-MAS) for solid-state studies of quadrupolar nuclei; (iii) homo- and heteronuclear 29Si{29Si} and 27Al{29Si} J-coupling studies of zeolite and mesostructured materials; (iv) multidimensional exchange 13C and 2H NMR for studying dynamical molecular processes in materials; (v) pulsed-field gradient (PFG) 1H NMR diffusion measurements, including combined with 2D HSQC methods, of species in heterogeneous solutions; and (vi) 19F/1H/13C triple-resonance capabilities for studies of fluorinated solids under conditions of high magic-angle-spinning speeds (35 kHz).

Fluid Mechanics Laboratory

This laboratory combines a series of unique experimental systems for investigation of viscous and viscoelastic flow phenomena involving polymer liquids, suspensions, and other microstructured fluids. These include birefringence, dichroism, and light scattering systems for polymeric liquids; a computer-controlled four-roll mill for studies of drop breakup, coalescence, and particle dynamics; laser doppler velocimetry applied to suspensions and multiphase liquids, and rheological and rheooptical (polarization microscopy) facilities for investigation of liquid crystalline polymers.

Imaging Science Laboratory

This laboratory features facilities for studying basic problems in materials and biological systems using a variety of imaging methods. Capabilities include scanning tunneling electron microscopy (STM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Image processing workstations and software systems are interfaced to each device.

Light Scattering Laboratory

This laboratory is equipped with light scattering equipment for characterization of complex fluids such as emulsions, colloidal suspensions, surfactant solutions, and polymer solutions. Included are commercial and custom-designed gonimeters for measurements of the static structure factors at equilibrium and under a variety of shear flows. Dynamic light scattering is performed with a fast Brookhaven BI-9000 correlator. Both static and dynamic light scattering capabilities are integrated with controlled stress and controlled strain-rate rheometers for simultaneous light scattering and rheological measurements.

Biomaterials and Bioengineering Laboratory

This laboratory includes facilities for synthesis and testing of novel biomaterials for applications in drug delivery, biosensors, and tissue engineering. Equipment is available for synthesis of polymeric micro and nanoparticles for drug delivery, synthesis of self-assembled biomaterials, and engineering of biomaterial surfaces. The laboratory also includes facilities to measure cell-biomaterial interactions and transport of molecules as well as particles in biological tissues. Various analytical tools for measuring transport including scintillation counter, HPLC, spectrophotometers, and fluorescence microscopy are available. Facilities for mammalian cell culture and in vivo transport measurements are available. Equipment for functional characterization of biological molecules, cells, and tissues is also available.