Laboratories + Core Facilities

Shared research laboratories and facilities are an integral part of research and education at Penn Engineering. From nanotechnology to fluid mechanics to robotics to entrepreneurship, dedicated space exists for all forms of research in which our students and faculty engage. Featured labs and facilities include:

Undergraduate Instructional Laboratories

The objective of each of the undergraduate instructional laboratories is to give our students hands-on access to the tools and resources they need to create and experiment with ideas and inventions to better enhance their educational experiences. Not only do students access these labs for classroom and senior design projects, they are the resources for students to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations.

Additional Facilities:

Nanoscale Characterization Facility

The Singh Center’s Nanoscale Characterization Facility (NCF) is a full-service center equipped with a wide range of state-of-the-art instrumentation for materials analysis. Nanoscale characterization of polymers, ceramics, composites, metals, electronics, and thin films is conducted using scanning, transmission, and scanning-transmission electron microscopes, atomic force microscopes, and ion scattering techniques. A wide range of specimen preparation equipment is used, including cryo-ultramicrotomy, jet electrolytic polishing, mechanical dimpling, ion beam thinning, tripod polishing, vacuum evaporation, sputter-coating and replication. Both analog and digital output are produced and in-house hardware and software are available for a wide range of image and spectrum processing tasks and for the calculation/simulation of electron-beam specimen interactions and microscope performance. The NCF is setup to accommodate both academic and corporate users.

Quattrone Nanofabrication Facility

The Singh Center’s Quattrone Nanofabrication Facility provides core nanofabrication capabilities. Their mission is to enable research and development in a number of areas. As embodied in the Penn Compact, QNF focuses on increased access as well as integrating knowledge by engaging the Greater Philadelphia Region and far beyond. Their core endeavors are to support teaching, research, service and commercialization at the micro- and nanoscale.

Scanning and Local Probe Facility

The Singh Center’s Scanning and Local Probe Facility is a unique lab that serves as an incubator for new probes of nanostructure behavior and associated instrumentation development. It is equipped with a suite of nine advanced scanning probe systems, opto-electronic/transport tools, and optical probes operating in fluid, ambient, or vacuum environments. The Facility is currently used by approximately 100 investigators from within Penn, industry labs, and educational programs.

Several atomic force microscopes, an electrical probe station, a scanning tunneling microscope, and an interfacial force microscope are available for imaging and characterization. The facility includes two Asylum MFP-3D AFMs: one with an inverted optical microscope and total internal reflection fluorescence with four laser frequencies, the other capable of electrical measurements up to the GHz range, and equipped with a drift-reducing environmental chamber. Two other AFMs support larger samples and scan areas in ambient, fluid, or purged-gas environments. The facility’s most recent addition is a dual-stage AFM with integrated confocal Raman spectroscopy and near-field scanning optical microscopy.

SIG Center for Computer Graphics

The SIG Center for Computer Graphics is the result of a gift from The Susquehanna International Group, LLP, better known as SIG. This gift, combined with other generous donations, has resulted in facilities supporting the CG@Penn programs. The center contains the H. Stone Animation Studio, which hosts a large capture area (25 ft by 11 ft). This center provides a state-of-the-art Vicon Motion Capture system and laboratory for projects such as 3D motion picture special effects, computer graphics and animation, simulation and modeling of large-scale human crowds, and research into the interrelationships of human movement, language and communication.

Soft Lithography Lab

The Singh Center’s Soft Lithography Lab is fully outfitted for the fabrication of PDMS devices for microfluidics and microcontact printing. A complete complement of tools is located in the lab, including an ABM mask aligner and Anatech barrel asher. The lab also provides photoresist, PDMS, and all necessary supplies and tools for connecting devices to the real world. To support users, the staff provides complementary mask design consultation, hands-on workshops, and tool training.

Weiss Tech House

The Weiss Tech House is a student-run hub of technological innovation that encourages and supports students in the creation, development and commercialization of innovative technologies. Students with a broad range of technological interests and skill can explore, collaborate, and access resources like the Garage Lab, reservable meeting space, funding, educational workshops and a network of industry mentors as they learn how to turn their innovative ideas into realities. More than $20,000 in funds and in-kind services is awarded to students each year from our in-house, mini-venture capital Innovation Fund and PennVention student invention competition.