National Science Foundation
Cooling Technologies Research Center
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Institution Capabilities and Facilities


Gatewood wing of Mechanical Engineering Building picture

Purdue University has a pre-eminent program in Mechanical Engineering, supported by strong programs in Electrical, Chemical, Aeronautics and Materials Engineering.  Built on a long tradition of excellence, the School of Mechanical Engineering has become synonymous with accomplishment and leadership in engineering education and engineering research. About 55 faculty are dedicated to educating over 1100 undergraduate and graduate students, and to maintaining and developing world-class research programs. The School offers a comprehensive program in mechanical engineering and is organized into the following nine areas: Combustion, Energy Utilization/Thermodynamics; Design; Fluid Mechanics; Heat Transfer; Mechanics; Systems, Measurement & Control; Manufacturing & Materials Processing; Noise & Vibration Control; Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration.

The School's extensive facilities include two major satellite research laboratories, the Ray W. Herrick Laboratories and the Zucrow Laboratories (formerly the Thermal Sciences and Propulsion Center), and over 30 additional instructional and research laboratories.  In addition, the School is supported by a comprehensive computing environment, libraries and technical services.  The curriculum provides a solid foundation in basic engineering principles while at the same time expanding student reasoning, communication and problem-solving skills. 

The recently completed $34.5 million state-of-the-art Roger B. Gatewood Wing addition to the Mechanical Engineering building is the very first Purdue building constructed to LEED certification standards. The Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standard is set by the U.S. Green Building Council to verify that a building, like the new Gatewood Wing, was designed and built to increase energy savings, improve water efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions, improve indoor environmental quality and be thoughtful of the stewardship of resources and their impact of use. The innovative addition adds 41,000 assignable square feet to the Mechanical Engineering Building.

The Cooling Technologies Research Center is well poised to be the leader in the field of cooling technologies.  Many of its attributes make it unique in the country, including its strong focus on experimental work complemented by computational analysis; its diversity of member companies allowing for cross-fertilization of ideas between different product lines; its strong and continual interaction with industry members; and its large range of experimental facilities available within and outside the School.  The Center also has access to an excellent graduate student applicant pool.


Birck Nanotechnology Building picture Excellent, state-of-the-art facilities and laboratories are available for the conduct of projects for the Center. As exemplified by the newly constructed Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University is investing strongly in new facilities that will help in further growth of the Center. Facilities for fabrication and materials characterization of micro- and nano-scale devices and circuits and novel nano-scale materials are housed in the Birck Nanotechnology Center (BNC). The BNC is a $58 million, 187,000-square-foot facility which opened in August 2005 and provides some of the best laboratories in the world for nanotechnology research. The heart of the building is a 25,000 sq. ft. Class 10-100-1000 nanofabrication cleanroom, housing equipment for semiconductor and novel device processing. The laboratory space external to the cleanroom, including special low-vibration rooms for metrology research, with control over ambient temperature better than 0.1°C. Laboratories for Nanoscale Thermo-Fluids, Electronics Cooling and Micro/Nanoscale Thermomechanical Characterization are available within the BNC or other facilities on campus. Recent BNC additions include: a Hitachi S-4800 FESEM; a multi-station excimer laser processing and deposition facility; the Facility for In-situ X-ray Scattering from Nanomaterials and Catalysts; a DualBeam Focused Ion Beam/Scanning Electron Microscope (FIB-SEM); and a Kratos Imaging XPS system. The BNC also houses a unique $2.5M Transmission Electron Microscope/Scanning TEM (E-TEM/STEM), with a resolution of 0.6Å in TEM / 1.2Å in STEM and an environmental cell for study of the interaction of samples with gaseous and liquid environments at high spatial and temporal resolutions. The BNC includes laboratories for crystal growth, molecular electronics, MEMS/NEMS (including thermal characterization), surface analysis, electrical characterization, and RF systems.

Electronics Cooling Laboratory

This Laboratory contains an array of experimental test equipment that enables researchers to develop cutting edge cooling technologies. The laboratory is equipped with several facilities for investigation of jet impingement, microchannel flows, pool boiling, phase change, thermal contact resistance, and heat pipes. A pair of high speed cameras allows for in situ visualization of microscale flow phenomena. A pair of IR cameras permits high-resolution infrared surface imaging, and combined with a TWIN Opto Parametric Oscillator (OPO) controlled infrared laser, allow infrared micro-particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements in silicon microchannels without optical access. A Nikon Eclipse Ti-U inverted microscope allows laser illumination of a microchannel in an epifluorescent configuration for flow regime diagnostics.

Electronics Cooling Laboratory picture

Thermal Systems Research Facilities at Herrick Laboratories

In the Thermal Systems Research Facilities co-directed by Dr. Eckhard Groll, experimental facilities and instrumentation are available for testing HVAC&R components and systems. Equipment for data acquisition, reduction and computation, and display round out the functionality of the lab. Some of the more significant facilities are: Psychometric Chambers, Psychometric Wind Tunnel, Compressor Testing, High Pressure, Tube-in-Tube Heat Transfer Test Facility, and Bench Testing facilities.

Herrick Laboratories pictures

Acoustics and Noise Control Facilities at Herrick Laboratories

The Herrick Acoustical Laboratory is used to test the sound producing characteristics of machines and other devices. Experimental facilities include: an anechoic chamber, an audiometric room, a hemi-anechoic chamber, and a reverberation room. Research activities include the study of the wave propagation, voice production, vibration, human perception of sounds, control and abatement of environmental noise.

Acoustics and Noise Control Facilities picture

Hierarchical Design and Characterization Laboratory

This lab includes equipment for the use of integrating design and systems of microelectronic systems. Facilities include: an AFM/Nanoindenter, a digital image correlation system, an Instron microtester and chamber, a RTC setup with chiller and controllers, a Nikon optical microscope, a Linkam chamber and controller, a Thermotron oven, a Moire interferometric system, and a six-axis tensile tester.

Hierarchical Design and Characterization Laboratory picture

Laboratory of Plasmon-Assisted Nanomanufacturing

The lab focuses on the fundamental of micro- and nano-scale science and engineering, aiming on making breakthroughs of novel alternative approaches to keep current trend of continuous size scaling down for emerging nanotechnology by circumventing fundamental physic limits such as optical diffraction and superparamagnetic effect, with emphasis on the applications of lithography, imaging and metrology for manufacturing; data storage, communication and computation for information technology; and nanoscale energy conversion, transfer and storage for new alternative energy.

Dynamic Systems and Stability Lab picture

Nanoscale Energy Transport and Conversion Laboratory

The Nanoscale Energy Transport and Conversion Laboratory is led by Dr. Xiulin Ruan and focuses on theoretical, computational, and experimental investigation of nanoscale heat conduction and nano-photonics. Computational facilities include a 216-core computer cluster with computational codes developed for ab initio molecular dynamics, classical lattice dynamics and molecular dynamics, and electromagnetics. Optical characterization equipment includes a UV-Vis-NIR spectrometer and scatterometer system and solar simulator for solar cell efficiency measurements.

Nanoscale Energy Transport and Conversion Laboratory picture

Quantum Matter and Devices Lab

Dr. Yong P. Chen heads the The Quantum Matter & Devices (QMD) Lab which exploits quantum physics to manipulate electrons, photons and atoms in quantum materials and artificial quantum systems, with the aim to uncover novel quantum phenomena & new states of matter and to explore innovative applications in quantum information processing or nanotechnology (such as nanoelectronics and nanosensors). Facilities and equipment include a Variable Temperature Insert (VTI) measurement system, a Lakeshore variable temperature probe station, a thermal evaporator for metal deposition, and various electronic instruments.

Quantum Matter and Devices Lab picture

MTEC Laboratory

Research in the MTEC Lab integrates metrology and analysis of underlying transport mechanisms with design and development of nanostructured materials. Nanostructuring leads to unique material properties and combinations of properties not naturally available in bulk materials. Nanostructured materials offer the possibility of thermal conductivity extremes. Electron-crystal, phonon-glass materials are of interest for thermoelectric applications, while thermally-conductive, mechanically-compliant materials are sought for electronics packaging.

Heterogeneous Integration Research Group picture

School of Materials Engineering Lab Facilities

A variety of powerful characterization tools are available for researchers in the School of Materials Engineering lab facilities including shared-use equipment for microstructure and composition, mechanical and thermal properties, and other physical properties characterization. A variety of tools and techniques for specimen preparation are available to allow for proper analysis of features of interest, as well as for heat treatment and to simulate industrial processing.

Heterogeneous Integration Research Group picture