This month's issue of R&D Magazine features the profiles of our annual Laboratory of the Year winners. This year's winners include the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), the Smithsonian Institute's Charles McC. Mathias Laboratory and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) National Virology Center: The Plowright Building.
The developers of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) describe...
Introducing the 2015 Laboratory of the Year winners.
On September 19, 2014, the Smithsonian Institution opened the doors of its greenest building to date: The Charles McC. Mathias Laboratory on the campus of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater, Md. Designed to be the first LEED-Platinum building for the institution, the Mathias Lab demonstrates a renewed commitment by the Smithsonian and the U.S. Congress to invest in crucial environmental research.
Can a high containment lab have windows? Can the traditional model of a high containment lab be turned inside out? Can a high containment facility offer better life quality? The answer to all these questions is yes. Home to three international reference labs for 10 exotic viral diseases of livestock, The Pirbright Institute focuses on virology and, specifically, animal health, including zoonotic diseases.
The need for improved performance of devices has led to the development of 3-D stacking of chips. Through-silicon via (TSV) has emerged as a viable and preferred technology for achieving such high-performance devices due to its short wiring length and reduced resistance and capacitance (RC) delay. It also offers the most design flexibility, lower manufacturing costs and allows for integration of heterogeneous chips.
Biobanks play an important role in enabling researchers to develop therapies for chronic diseases. Research institutions, hospitals and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have turned to biobanks as a key tool in the research of new treatments and the identification of disease biomarkers from the large cohorts of patients through the collection, storage, inventory, characterization and distribution of valuable samples.
Laboratories are notorious for their extraordinary energy consumption, often using six to 10 times the amount of energy of a normal office facility. As more and more attention is given to reduce lab energy use, it becomes increasingly more important to understand the energy drivers in labs to better target energy-conservation measures and improve occupant behaviors.
Electron microscopy is a multi-scale, multi-modal and multi-dimensional technique for imaging materials down to the atomic level. Developed in 1931 by German physicist Ernst Ruska and electrical engineer Max Knoll, the electron microscope (EM) has evolved from Ruska’s initial 400X capabilities to its current 10,000,000X performance.
Improving the efficiency of turbomachinery, including jet (turbine) fans used in tunnel ventilation systems, is essential in combating the volatile cost of fuel and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Energy-efficient equipment is also more attractive to worldwide transportation authorities.
Pharmaceutical companies, like other industries, face frequent and mounting requirements to resolve complex mixtures of active pharmaceutical ingredients into their unique components. Given the demands being placed on medicinal chemistry departments to deliver high-quality new drug candidates, the speed at which separations can be achieved is of utmost importance.
This month's issue of R&D Magazine features a cover story on biofuels. Recent growth in petroleum supplies and a slide in prices has cut into biofuel research funding. Our editors also provide features on lab utilities, vibration control design, image analysis, digital multimeters, spectroscopy and more.
Immediately following the passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, much research interest focused on the development of bio-based renewable energy sources (biofuels). EISA mandated increased production and use of biofuels for the long term. There also appeared to be substantial long-term government support for the implementation of a biofuel-based industry.
Compared to industrial and residential construction, labs are expensive as they are highly complex in nature. The end goal to constructing a functional lab is to provide valuable research results. At the heart of a lab is the research conducted and, as a result, lab owners can’t compromise research efforts by overlooking key aspects of the workspace—such as safety, comfort and sustainability.
Much equipment used in nanotech, physical and biological sciences can’t function properly if subjected to vibrations that exceed small threshold values. As a result, lab designers are faced with the challenge of developing designs where vibration disturbances are within acceptable limits to further science.
Image analysis is of growing importance in science, and trends are observed for different layers of image acquisition. Quantifiable and reproducible data is a prerequisite for scientific publications. And, today, it isn’t sufficient to just acquire aesthetically pleasing images with a microscope. To get powerful scientific results, scientists must get as much information as they can from an image.
At my home workstation, I have an old Fluke handheld digital multimeter (DMM) in its classic orange case, along with a very old analog voltage ohm-meter (VOM) in its similarly classic boxy black plastic case. Both of these instruments sit on a shelf below my laser printer and see constant temperatures and environments all year long.
Just a few years ago, many researchers working in alternative manufacturing methods believed the basic layering technologies integral to 3D printing limited the capability of this technique to build quality optical devices and lenses. But, as rapidly evolving as these techniques are, and as broad ranging as the applications it’s infiltrating, this limitation has been surmounted by a number of research groups around the world.
Gel permeation/size exclusion chromatography (GPC/SEC) is a vital analytical technique used to characterize synthetic and natural polymers, including biologically important macromolecules such as proteins and DNA. Evolving challenges tax the capabilities of traditional GPC/SEC and invite advances in the technology.
At the 66th annual Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon) this past March 7 – 13 in New Orleans, the spectroscopy- based new product introductions covered, quite literally, the entire analytical spectrum from the far-infrared to x-rays, along with Raman and mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) products.
This month's issue of R&D Magazine has a cover story on the promises and limitations of lab automation systems in R&D. New systems with new capabilities promise to upgrade R&D lab operations, but they won't solve the needs of all researchers. Our editors also include features on 3-D printing, sustainable lab design, super-resolution microscopy, PV technology and more.
Lab automation systems are used in R&D laboratories for a wide range of operational applications and purposes. According to a recent reader survey performed by the editors of R&D Magazine in late-2014, the top three applications include to improve the accuracy of lab operations (selected by 61% of the readers), to improve lab productivity (58%) and to ensure the reliability of the lab operations (48%).
In 2013, battle lines were drawn. Two stark competitors were looking to speed repairs and cut costs on parts for gas turbines. First to the drawing board was GE, who started using 3-D printing technology at its Global Research Center in Niskayuna, N.Y., to produce more than 85,000 fuel nozzles for its anticipated LEAP engine technology.
The design of laboratories for sustainable construction and operation has become a major driver in the A/E/C industry over the past 10 to 15 years. Most large academic, government and corporate laboratory clients are looking for sustainable design approaches at a minimum, and third-party certification, such as LEED, in many cases.
Traditional fluorescence microscopy has suffered from the resolution limits imposed by diffraction and the finite wavelength of light. Classical resolution is typically limited to about 200 nm in xy. Due to the nanoscale architecture of many biological structures, researchers developed super-resolution techniques, starting in the 1990s, to overcome this classical resolution limit in light microscopy.
Researchers working with photovoltaic (PV) technologies and production processes have made great strides over the past several years, such that PV systems are now considered a viable and cost-competitive energy alternative to traditional fossil fuel energy sources. The number of installations continues to increase, while panel and system costs continue to decline.
Multiphysics software has become the simulation tool for designing and optimizing new products. This software can quickly provide designers with multiple options for critical product designs across a range of environmental, physical and chemical operating conditions. Recently introduced multiphysics software enhancements also allow simplified use of these simulation tools across a broader range of users.
Reliable pH measurements are essential to a variety of processes and industries. From agriculture, to wastewater and plating, to food processing, measuring pH is a crucial step in determining the efficiency of a process or quality of a product. Vital steps in achieving accurate pH results include calibrating a pH meter and ensuring the electrode is working properly.
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