Brown University School of Engineering

Relocating the Lab

Professor Nitin Padture is shown in January during construction (inset) and then again six months later in his new laboratory space in the materials cluster on the third floor.Professor Nitin Padture is shown in January during construction (inset) and then again six months later in his new laboratory space in the materials cluster on the third floor.Intentional versatility will be the hallmark of the laboratories in engineering’s new building.

Working meticulously to streamline the deliverables for his lab so that little to no time is lost on the move, Professor Nitin Padture’s Advanced Ceramics and Nanomaterials Laboratory will be moving into the new Engineering Research Center over the two weeks that surround Thanksgiving. The Padture Group has experience in moving a research lab, joining the Brown faculty from Ohio State five years ago. But this time, it will be different. “When I came to Brown, I designed the renovation of the lab, from a space that had not previously been used as such. It worked well at first, but when my research evolved - when I began working with solar cells, for instance - we had to re-modify the space. It wasn’t optimum for what we needed,” he said.

In order to maximize existing and future equipment processes, labs in the new research center were built as structural vibration isolation systems, and include electromagnetic shielding systems. Electromagnetic shielding is the practice of surrounding electronics and cables with conductive or magnetic materials to guard against incoming or outgoing emissions of electromagnetic frequencies, most commonly to prevent interference from affecting sensitive electronics, like the ones that will be used in the newly outfitted labs.

“As the research direction changes, the biggest advantage of the new space will be its versatility. The benches and cabinets are on casters, allowing us to move things around. All of the building is very high-tech, designed not only for each piece of equipment we’re bringing in, but also with future equipment in mind,” he said.

Minor hurdles may still arise, but Padture is confident he will make the transition as smooth as possible, maximizing uptime at both ends of the process. “There are always some delays, no matter how much planning goes beforehand,” he said. “But we know it will be well worth it.”