Research Facilities

The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences has many state-of-the-art shared use research facilities that benefit faculty, research scientists, and students. These core facilities are physically housed in and administered by our departments, centers, and institutes or shared with other Penn State research groups.

EESL is a shared instrumentation multi-user facility that ties together several individual labs that provide world-class instrumentation and expertise in a broad array of analytical techniques covering materials in all phases. The instrumentation and techniques, while initially acquired to provide analyses in the area of energy/environment interactions, are in use in fields as varied as the geosciences, human physiology, agriculture and anthropology.

With a goal of providing shared resources to grow the campus energy/environmental research infrastructure, EESL will provide a single administrative structure to simplify your use of instrumentation that you might not otherwise be able to access or afford.

The current list of labs falling under the EESL umbrella is:

Laboratory for Isotopes and Metals in the Environment (LIME)
LIME has shared equipment such as Inductively Coupled Plasma - Atomic Emission Spectrometry (ICP-AES); Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS); Multiple Collector Inductively-Coupled Mass Spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS); and Elemental Analyzer- Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (EA-IRMS).

Center for Quantitative Imaging
The Center maintains state-of-the-art x-ray microcomputed tomography instrumentation, associated computational and visualization facilities, and significant technical expertise in a range of three-dimensional imaging and characterization areas. The Center's focus on 3D/4D monitoring of internal processes and characterization of 3D structure in natural and synthetic systems is reflected in the instrumentation available for research use.

Water Quality Lab
The Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center maintains a water quality laboratory equipped with a full range of analytical instruments for specific water analyses such as pH, alkalinity, acidity, specific conductance, sulfates, turbidity, chlorides, fluorides, and various forms of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, metals, and heavy metals. The laboratory follows strict quality assurance and quality control guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Satellite EESL (SEESL)
Ties together otherwise isolated instrumentation house in varied locations and Colleges at University Park including the techniques of Stopped Flow Spectrometry and Gas Chromatographic/Mass Spectrometric (GC/MS) analysis.

Deployable Energy and Environmental Sustainability Laboratory (DEESL)
EM Soil Profiler; DTS; FTIR; ERI; Isotope Analyzer; LiCOR Gas Analyzer; Particle Analyzer

Penn State Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS) Radiocarbon Facility
The Compact Carbon AMS from National Electrostatics Corporation provides high precision dating of carbon-containing material with ages stretching back 50,000 years.

Within the EMS Energy Institute, there are specialized laboratories designed specifically for each of their research areas. The Institute houses many analytical and computational facilities, and laboratory reactors for clean fuels and catalysis research as well as a wide array of instrumentation for chemical composition, optical microscopy, physical property, spectroscopy and chromatography, and thermal property studies. Several pilot- and laboratory-scale stationary combustion and gasification systems also exist at the Institute. In addition, the Institute maintains more than 5,000 square feet of space and many standard samples for Penn State’s Coal Sample Bank and the Argonne Premium Coal Sample Bank.

The EMS Energy Institute maintains lab space in five buildings. Their labs house a variety of specialized instrumentation, pilot- and industrial-scale systems, and X-ray CT imaging equipment. To view descriptions, photos, and schematics visit the individual facility pages below:

The Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science has labs to study air precipitation and chemistry and cloud and aerosol experimentation among others. Explore their facilities such as the Penn State lightning cluster mapper; a mobile research trailer used for satellite validation, air quality monitoring, and investigations of pollution transport and deposition; and a network of field sites in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan called ChEAS.

Visit website

The Materials Research Institute is housed in the Millennium Science Complex. More than just a collection of laboratories and instruments, the MSC embodies a new style of research, in which experts from many disciplines coordinate their technologies and knowledge in ways that produce exponential advances. 

Building Fast Facts

  • 275,600 gross sq. ft.
  • 60,000 sq. ft. of green roof on five terraces
  • 6,300 sq. ft. quiet lab
  • 9,500 sq. ft. nano-clean room (Class 1000 / 100)
  • 66 fume hoods
  • 30 bio-safety cabinets
  • Housing materials faculty and their research groups from the colleges of Engineering, Science, and Earth and Mineral Sciences

Vist the MRI Facilites and Centers webpage to learn more.

The research conducted within the BEST Center includes: New material (anode, cathode, separator, and electrolyte) and cell development; Cell, pack, and system modeling and design, and experimental performance and cycle life experimental testing; and Reduced order modeling, SOC and SOH estimation, Smart battery management systems, and hybrid vehicles. The labs listed below are associated with the BEST Center.

  • Electrochemical Laboratory
  • Materials Chemistry and Polymer Synthesis Lab
  • Energy Nanostructure Laboratory
  • Electrochemical Engine Center
  • Battery Manufacturing Lab
  • Mechatronics Research Lab
  • Battery Testing Lab

Visit the BEST Facilities web page to learn more about each labs specific equipment.

The Penn State User Research Facilities are a collection of core research facilities from Materials Research Institute, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, and Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment.  These core facilities are home to a number of state-of-the-art research instrumentation and labs and can be accessed by the research community at Penn State and worldwide.  The facilities can perform research for you or you can become personally trained, in some cases, to perform your own research. 

Visit RIMS Facilities website to learn more.