Research Centers

Over the past decade, Florida Tech has made major additions and improvements to facilities that enhance the research components of nearly all aspects of undergraduate and graduate education. Along with these facility improvements, a number of research centers have been established to focus on particular areas of study and in many cases encourage interdisciplinary collaboration. These centers and the facilities where they are located represent a significant research capability that supplements the various department- and program-related activities and facilities.

The Florida Tech campus has been transformed in the past ten years into a world-class research center. Completed in 2009, the Harris Center for Science and Engineering provides 29,000 square feet for computer science, aquaculture and fish biology research programs. The Harris Center also houses the nationally recognized Harris Institute for Assured Information. The 22,000-sq.-ft. Scott Center for Autism Treatment opened in 2008 and provides the highest quality treatment, training and applied research to enhance the quality of life of children with autism spectrum disorders.

Two teaching/research buildings were completed on the Melbourne campus in 1999: the F.W. Olin Engineering Complex and the F.W. Olin Life Sciences Building. The engineering complex is a 68,500-sq.-ft. facility housing 26 specialized research laboratories. The 37,000-sq.-ft. life sciences building houses 12 research laboratories designed with flex-space to meet the needs of specific activities.

The 70,000-sq.-ft. F.W. Olin Physical Sciences Center, completed in 2004, houses the departments of chemistry, and physics and space sciences and includes numerous specialty and teaching labs.

Particularly noteworthy is the multidisciplinary Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) located less than two miles from the Melbourne campus. The ARL houses research in ocean engineering, advanced materials, polymer flammability, lasers and electrooptics, psychology, neural network-based autonomous sensing systems and high magnetic-field physics.

In just the past two years the university has seen a major resurgence in the number of proposals for funded research. The current value of research and sponsored projects is over $94 million. University research faculty expended $16.5 million to buy equipment, support students, pay salaries and cover general expenses. In addition to over a dozen research centers, five new interdisciplinary research institutes were initiated that are the focal point for Florida Tech undergraduate and graduate research. Brief descriptions of Florida Tech's research institutes and centers follow. Not included here is research within the various degree-granting academic units, described by department in the Degree Programs section.

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU)

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Since 1989, students and faculty of Florida Tech have benefited from its membership in Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). ORAU is a consortium of 98 colleges and universities, and a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. ORAU works with its member institutions to help their students and faculty gain access to federal research facilities throughout the country; to keep its members informed about opportunities for fellowship, scholarship and research appointments; and to organize research alliances among its members. Through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), the DOE facility that ORAU operates, undergraduates, graduates and postgraduates, as well as faculty enjoy access to a multitude of opportunities for study and research. Students can participate in programs covering a wide variety of disciplines including business, earth sciences, epidemiology, engineering, physics, geological sciences, pharmacology, ocean sciences, biomedical sciences, nuclear chemistry and mathematics.

Appointment and program length range from one month to four years. Many of these programs are especially designed to increase the numbers of underrepresented minority students pursuing degrees in science- and engineering-related disciplines. A comprehensive listing of these programs and other opportunities, their disciplines and details on locations and benefits, can be found in the ORISE Catalog of Education and Training Programs, which is available at or by calling either of the contacts below. ORAU's Office of Partnership Development seeks opportunities for partnerships and alliances among ORAU's members, private industry and major federal facilities. Activities include faculty development programs such as the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards, the Visiting Industrial Scholars Program, consortium research funding initiatives, faculty research and support programs and services to chief research officers.

For more information about ORAU and its programs, contact Florida Tech Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer T. Dwayne McCay, ORAU Councilor, at (321) 674-8889; or Monnie E. Champion, ORAU Corporate Secretary, at (865) 576-3306; or online at

Southern Association for Research In Astronomy (SARA)

Florida Tech is a founding member of the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA). This is a consortium of thirteen universities that operates one-meter-class automated telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile, and the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos on the Canary Islands. SARA supports faculty and student research in a wide variety of areas such as planetary science, stellar astronomy, and active galactic nuclei.


Research Institutes

Sportfish Research Institute (SRI)

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Jonathan M. Shenker, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Director. SRI is dedicated to studies of the sport fishery species that are tremendously important to Florida and the restoration of depleted populations. Research currently focuses on the use of the Indian River Lagoon as a nursery habitat for juvenile tarpon and other fishes, identification of snapper spawning sites, and behavioral training of aquacultured juvenile red drum to enhance their survival after being released into wild habitats. As one of the core organizations of the Florida Marine Fisheries Enhancement Initiative, additional effort is being spent on establishing broodstock of vital fishery species at the Vero Beach Marine Laboratory. In addition to field and laboratory research, SRI personnel present talks and provide information to local and regional sport fishing organizations and publications. Funded in part by state and local grants, SRI also seeks funding and participation from corporations associated with the fishing industry and from private individuals.

Harris Institute for Assured Information (HIAI)

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Marco M. Carvalho, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Executive Director. The mission of the Harris Institute for Assured Information is to promote interdisciplinary approaches to computer security and trustworthy computing through education, research and outreach by providing a single point of contact for students, faculty, funding agencies and businesses, and by crossing traditional academic disciplines to promote innovation. Information assurance is the discipline dedicated to providing users with trustworthy data. As such, the institute focuses on new technologies for protecting people and organizations from vulnerabilities that can lead to theft of information, malicious code infection or data destruction.


Institute for Marine Research (IMR)

Junda Lin, Ph.D., Professor, Biological Sciences, Director. The mission of the IMR is to advance marine research, education and outreach by coordinating shared facility management, recruiting scholars and students, encouraging interdisciplinary research, and promoting collegiality and cohesiveness within the university. The shared facility includes the Ralph S. Evinrude Marine Operations Center and the Vero Beach Marine Laboratory (VBML). The Marine Operations Center is a 3.5-acre facility on the Indian River Lagoon where the university houses a fleet of boats for research and education, and the office for diving operations. VBML is located on four acres of oceanfront property in nearby Vero Beach. This facility serves as a field station for the university in support of research and education in the marine sciences.

Fatigue Management Institute

Thomas H. Harrell, Ph.D., Professor, School of Psychology, Director. The institute serves as the national focal point for integrating emerging research findings with techniques for day-to-day management of fatigue associated with chronic medical disorders. The institute conducts research on fatigue and fatigue management interventions, provides fatigue management training and disseminates summaries of national and international research findings related to fatigue and its management in chronic medical conditions. The current long-term initiative of the institute is the National Fatigue Survey.

Institute for Biological and Biomedical Sciences (IBBS)

Julia E. Grimwade, Ph.D., Professor, Biological Sciences, Director. The mission of the IBBS is to foster interdisciplinary research in the biological sciences, with special emphasis on those areas with potential medical applications.

Institute for Cross-Cultural Management (ICCM)

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Richard L. Griffith, Ph.D., Professor, I/O Psychology, Director. The institute’s mission is to create new knowledge and educational opportunities to help professionals develop global management skills. To effectively reach its mission goals, ICCM is organized into two directorates, research and professional development. ICCM research concentrates on issues that affect daily business conduct such as cross-cultural competency, managing multicultural work groups, expatriation/repatriation and global leadership. This research informs the professional development activities, which train global leaders in the corporate and military sectors to effectively manage cultural challenges.

Human-Centered Design Institute (HCDI)

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Guy Boy, Ph.D., University Professor, Director. HCDI members are faculty, permanent and visiting research scientists and graduate students conducting research in cognitive engineering, advanced interaction media, complexity analysis in human-centered design, life-critical systems, human-centered organization design and management, and modeling and simulation. The mission of the HCDI is to promote interdisciplinary research to science, engineering, human and social sciences through education, research and outreach, by providing a single point of contact for students, faculty, funding agencies and businesses, and by crossing traditional academic disciplines to promote innovation, leadership and design thinking.

Institute for Research on Global Climate Change

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Robert Van Woesik, Ph.D., Professor, Biological Sciences, Director. Over the next century, the Earth’s average surface temperature is predicted to rise above temperatures that have not been experienced for over 400,000 years. Such a change in climate will consequently increase the risk of drought, erratic weather, sea-level rise, ocean warming and wildlife diseases. The mission of the institute is to: (1) foster climate-change research that will lead to improved decision-making, from local to international levels; (2) provide world-class research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate researchers; and (3) promote interdisciplinary collaborations leading to new understandings of climate change and adaptation. Since the end of 2009 when the institute was initiated, researchers have published over 60 scholarly articles on climate change in international journals.

Institute for Materials Science and Nanotechnology (IMSN)

Gordon L. Nelson, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor, Chemistry, Interim Director. The IMSN mission is to enhance and expand materials research and outreach at Florida Tech and advance nanotechnology research and outreach by promoting joint multi-investigator research, encouraging interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary research, coordinating shared faculty infrastructure, recruiting scholars and students, coordinating presentation of materials- and nanotechnology related activities to external governmental and non-governmental agencies, foundations and industry, and promoting collegiality and cohesiveness within the university in the area of materials and nanotechnology. The 21-institute faculty come from diverse engineering and science disciplines. Current research funding of participating faculty is approximately $4 million, including research, instrumentation and participation in multi-investigator projects.

Institute for Energy Systems (IES)

Y.I. Sharaf-Eldeen, Ph.D., P.E., Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Mary Helen McCay, Ph.D., P.E., Research Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Co-Directors. The mission of the IES is to provide an intellectually stimulating environment for faculty and students to conduct funded research in areas of national need. National energy policy identifies these needs to be: (1) increasing domestic energy supplies; (2) increasing America’s use of renewable and alternative energy; (3) increasing energy conservation and efficiency; (4) developing a comprehensive delivery system; (5) enhancing national energy security and international relationships; and (6) sustaining the nation’s health and environment.

Research Centers

Center for High Resolution Microscopy and Imaging (CHRMI)

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Michael Grace, Ph.D., Associate Dean, College of Science and Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Director. The Center for High Resolution Microscopy and Imaging is a multidisciplinary laboratory providing state-of-the art light and fluorescence microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, scanning probe microscopy and x-ray microanalysis of natural and artificial materials. The CHRMI contains necessary equipment and expertise to prepare almost any kind of sample for microscopic evaluation, to image sample surfaces and cross-sections at very high resolutions and to analyze elemental compositions of materials. Support staff maintains instrumentation and trains users in sample preparation and analyses of microstructure and microchemistry. Support platforms provide detailed image analysis capabilities.

Federal Aviation Administration Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation

Samuel T. Durrance, Ph.D. Professor, Physics and Space Sciences, and Daniel R. Kirk, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Co-Directors. The center is a partnership of academia, government and private industry addressing the current and future challenges for commercial space transportation. The center encompasses four primary research areas: (1) space traffic management and operations; (2) space transportation operations, technologies and payloads; (3) human spaceflight; and (4) space transportation industry promotion.

National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance- Research (CAE-R)

Richard A. Ford, Ph.D., Harris Professor for Computer Science in Assured Information, Director. Florida Tech has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance-Research (CAE-R) by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Designed to recognize schools that integrate research activities into the curriculum and classroom, and maintain a high quality of information assurance research, Florida Tech is one of only two universities in Florida designated as a CAE-R.

Center for Software Testing, Education and Research (CSTER)

Cem Kaner, J.D., Ph.D., Professor, Computer Sciences, Director. The mission of the center is to create effective, grounded, timely materials to support the teaching and self-study of software testing, software reliability and quality-related software metrics. With support from the National Science Foundation, Texas Instruments and IBM, the center has been able to develop an extensive collection of course materials, with more video-based lectures on the way. Current research includes high-volume test automation, the practice and psychology of exploratory testing, failure mode and effects analysis for software and the development of testing related metrics. Course materials developed at the center are freely available for reuse under a Creative Commons license, enabling faculty at other schools and companies to base or enhance their courses with them.

Scott Center for Autism Treatment

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Ivy Chong, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Interim Executive Director, Alison Betz, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Director of Behavioral Services and Barbara Paulillo, Psy.D., Director of Psychological Services. The Scott Center for Autism Treatment was established to provide state-of-the art service, training and applied research for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families. It is an integral service/research/training component of Florida Tech’s School of Psychology. Services are provided by faculty and graduate students from psychology graduate programs in applied behavior analysis and clinical psychology and will expand to include other allied health professionals in speech pathology, occupational therapy and medicine. The 21,000-sq.-ft. building opened in September 2009 in close proximity to the School of Psychology. The services provided include: (1) diagnostic and testing services; (2) early intervention services for young children (i.e., 2 - 9 years of age) with autism, and their families; (3) behavior assessment and intervention services for children, adolescents and adults with autism and/or related disabilities who exhibit challenging behavior (e.g., self-injury, aggression, property destruction, stereotypy); (4) feeding disorder assessment and treatment services for children ages 2–10; (5) social skills’ training for children and adolescents who have autism, asperger’s disorder and related disabilities; (6) counseling and psychological services; (7) training workshops and seminars for parents and teachers who work with children with autism and related disabilities; (8) courses for individuals interested in obtaining certification as a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® and/or a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.® The center has an ongoing program of research directed at improving clinical and behavioral outcomes for children with ASD.

National Center for Hydrogen Research (NCHR)

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Mary H. McCay, Ph.D., Research Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Director. The NCHR was established with funding from NASA to perform research and development concerning the application of hydrogen as a fuel for airborne platforms. It is currently pursuing the development of an interdisciplinary hydrogen and fuel cell technology academic program under the sponsorship of Department of Energy (DOE). The objectives of this program are to develop undergraduate modules, enquiry-based laboratory experiments and a graduate area of specialization academic program that will enable the growth of research and development in the arena of hydrogen and fuel cell technology. Faculty associated with the center are currently conducting research in computational modeling of fuel cells, fiber-optic sensors suitable for safety applications and systems monitoring, hydrogen storage mediums, the interaction of hydrogen with materials and hydrogen purification techniques.

Center for Entrepreneurship and New Business Development (CENBD)

Ann Becker, Ph.D., Dean, Nathan M. Bisk College of Business, Director. The Center for Entrepreneurship and New Business Development integrates entrepreneurial education, training and research in pursuit of enterprise creation, sustainability and growth. The center fosters partnerships among students, faculty, community members and entrepreneurs. These partnerships support an educational environment bridging theory and practice in pursuit of early-stage innovation, business leadership and new business ventures. The center encompasses the Women’s Business Center (WBC) and the Entrepreneurial Training Services (ETS) program. The WBC is funded by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, offering technical assistance for nascent entrepreneurs and small businesses. The ETS program offers entrepreneurs intensive training on business development, supported by business faculty, community leaders and business area experts.

Center for Organizational Effectiveness

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Lisa A. Steelman, Ph.D., Associate Dean and Associate Professor, College of Psychology and Liberal Arts, Director. The Center for Organizational Effectiveness is a research and consulting center managed by industrial/organizational psychology faculty and graduate students. The mission of the center is to provide human capital measurement and talent management strategies to promote effective organizations. Its customized solutions help organizations hire, train and retain high-performing employees. The center conducts research and provides consulting services in all areas of industrial/organizational psychology including selection and assessment, training and development, survey research and organizational development, and career development and succession planning.

Center for Corrosion and Biofouling Control (CCBC)

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Geoffrey W.J. Swain, Ph.D., Professor, Oceanography and Ocean Engineering, Director. The mission of the center is to understand the processes of biofouling and corrosion, and to develop and apply innovative solutions for control and prevention. Its objectives are to advance the state-of-the-art in corrosion and biofouling control; to establish mutually beneficial collaborative relationships with local, national and international university, government and industrial partners; and to provide graduate and undergraduate students a world-class research and educational experience that prepares them for both academic and industrial professional opportunities. Current research activities include testing and evaluation of antifouling systems; investigation of hydrodynamic performance of ship hull coatings; the development of autonomous underwater hull cleaning systems; investigating the mechanisms of adhesion and release of fouling to novel biocide-free coating systems; and monitoring the performance of antifouling coatings through dry dock inspections.

Center for Remote Sensing (CRS)

Charles R. Bostater Jr., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Environmental Sciences and Physical Oceanography, Director. The center’s purpose is to encourage excellence in the development and application of remote sensing science and technology. It is organized as a collaborative center among and between faculty within the College of Engineering, College of Science and College of Aeronautics. Under the authority of the Space Grant Act of 1988, Florida Tech is a member of the Southeastern Space Consortium and the Florida Space Grant Colleges Consortium. The center has consulted and provided services to defense contractors, NASA centers and contractors, the Department of Energy and its subcontractors, state of Florida water management agencies, the Department of State and U.S. Department of Education, and is affiliated with foreign institutions and organizations. Facilities for remote sensing teaching and research include the ERDAS Image Analysis System, Evans Library, the Geographical Information Systems Laboratory, the Marine and Environmental Optics Laboratory and the Synoptic Meteorological Laboratory. Various laboratories and facilities in academic and research computing; computer science; aerospace, computer, electrical and mechanical engineering; physics and space sciences; and space systems are also available. Field studies can be conducted through the College of Aeronautics’ fleet of aircraft. The university operates several small boats and charters a well-equipped vessel for offshore, estuarine and river work. Center faculty offer a wide variety of courses at the graduate and undergraduate level, including environmental satellite systems and data, hydroacoustics, digital image processing, and environmental optics for remote sensing.

Florida Center for Automotive Research (FCAR)

Gerald J. Micklow, PhD, PE Professor Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Head, Automotive Engineering Director, Florida Center for Automotive Research. The mission of the Florida Center for Automotive Research is to develop an automotive engineering program with both research and educational components in order to leverage its engineering research capability in the development of highly fuel-efficient hybrid or conventional vehicles. The center will provide the academic research capability to support hybrid vehicle production. The center will also provide solutions to challenging technical problems encountered in design and manufacturing, enhance Florida’s reputation for automotive research and attract automotive supplier/original equipment manufacturer (OEM) operations to Florida.

Center for Aviation Human Factors (CAHF)

John E. Deaton, Ph.D., Professor, College of Aeronautics, Director. CAHF was founded to facilitate aviation-related research, master’s level thesis work, classroom instruction and conferences. The center focuses on applied research that enhances aeronautical systems to improve human performance, safety and pilot training. Assets available through CAHF include various flight simulators housed in the adjacent basic aviation training device lab that include aviation training devices equipped with ELITE 135 software capable of instrument currency check rides. Additional hardware is available and can be used to configure any station for either a single-engine or multiengine configuration. A fully functional King Air 200 flight training device is also available. The CAHF also has full access to a flight-training facility, FIT Aviation, LLC. This facility consists of a full-service fixed base operator (FBO) with a fleet of various aircraft and flight training devices.

College of Engineering Center for Space Commercialization

Daniel R. Kirk, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Interim Director. The mission of the College of Engineering Center for Space Commercialization is to identify, promote and support the use of space to provide goods or services of commercial value, and to support U.S. aerospace industries and NASA needs toward a profitable commercialization of space. The center seeks to foster multidisciplinary collaboration among researchers from highly diversified scientific, engineering and business communities including universities, businesses and government entities.

Center for Ferrate Studies (CFS)

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Thomas D Waite, PhD PE, Director, University Research Professor. Ferrates are oxy-anions of iron, and have been synthesized in laboratories since the mid-nineteenth century, with the iron in oxidation states of between two and eight (FeO22- and FeO52-). While several different ferrates have been studied for commercial exploitation, only Ferrate(VI), i.e. (FeO42-) has been utilized for environmental applications. Over 400 published studies have demonstrated the unique treatment capability of Ferrate(VI) for both water and wastewater, as it can simultaneously perform oxidation, and disinfection, and because it is unstable, it is quickly reduced to Fe3+which is a coagulant.

Collaborative International Research Centre for Universal Access (CIRCUA)

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Gisela Susanne Bahr, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Industrial/ Organizational Psychology, Executive Head. The Collaborative International Research Centre for Universal Access (CIRCUA) is an international research center with worldwide membership that promotes universal access and e-inclusion. CIRCUA’s motto calls for removing barriers to modern technology in the information society. CIRCUA’s objectives are: (1) advancing research and development for an inclusive information society; (2) leading the systematic growth of interaction science by drawing on expertise in cognitive and computer sciences; (3) creating global partnerships that result in international collaborations and products; and (4) networking and fusing multidisciplinary expertise globally. CIRCUA’s international center head is Florida Tech’s Dr. Bahr. CIRCUA’s European center head is Dr. Ray Adams, University of Middlesex, London, and Churchill College, Cambridge, both in England.

Wireless Center of Excellence (WICE)

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Ivica Kostanic, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Technical Director. WICE is devoted to creating a new generation of wireless engineering professionals through education and research. Driven by its academic program, WICE considers wireless to be any system or device that relies on electromagnetic-wave propagation to perform one or more of its functions. This context includes such diverse applications as radar, global positioning, location and sensing, as well as the broader class of communications systems such as satellites, point-to-point/multipoint, WLAN and wireless WAN. In partnership with industry, WICE offers the opportunity for faculty, and undergraduate and graduate students to engage in research and to study wireless concepts in a variety of courses. Research areas include propagation modeling, wireless systems engineering, personal communications systems, wireless sensors and multimedia communications, while also supporting simulation, fabrication and measurement of wireless communications and other systems and components. Laboratory test equipment includes Grayson’s Spectrum Tracker, and spectrum and vector network analyzers, oscilloscopes, microwave amplifiers, oscillators and mixers, signal generators and associated active and passive RF devices. The laboratory performs experimental investigation using the anechoic chamber and screen room facilities. WICE is supported by significant laboratory facilities as described under “Electrical Engineering” in the Degree Programs section.

Major Research Laboratories

Laser, Optics and Instrumentation Laboratory (LOIL)

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Kunal Mitra, Ph.D., Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Chelakara Subramanian, Ph.D., P.Eng (UK), Professor, Aerospace Engineering, Co-Directors. LOIL exploits current technologies in continuous wave and short-pulse lasers and optics to develop new techniques for measuring and characterizing material properties. Faculty and graduate students are involved in analyzing the interaction of these lasers with different materials for various applications. Biomedical applications focus on detecting and irradiating cancer/tumors and in homogeneities in tissues. Material characterization/processing applications involve detection of defects in materials such as debonding of thermal protection tile systems and thermal response of materials subjected to high-energy radiation. Remote sensing applications focus on lightning detection in cloud media and landmines in shallow waters. The challenge of integrating laser sources, system optics, instrumentation, measurement schemes and data acquisition provides students with new learning experiences in these areas. Major equipment currently in use includes mode-locked short-pulse laser, Q-switched pulsed laser, short pulse diode laser, high-power continuous wave lasers, ultrafast photodetectors, sampling head oscilloscope, streak camera, miscellaneous optics and optical accessories, thermal camera and an image processing system.

Vero Beach Marine Laboratory (VBML)

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Junda Lin, Ph.D., Professor, Biological Sciences, Director. VBML is located on four acres of oceanfront property in nearby Vero Beach. This facility serves as a field station for the university in support of research and teaching in the marine sciences. The beachfront location of VBML provides ready access to field study sites for work on the biology of coastal organisms and for studies of physical and geological processes of the coastal zone. Major research efforts at the laboratory are related to mariculture and marine biology/ecology. A two-story building, equipped with seawater tables and a flow-through system, supports research on mariculture and ecology of marine organisms. Several greenhouses and large tank systems are available for studying aquaculture, behavior and ecology of marine animals. Classrooms, offices and dry laboratory facilities are provided in the main laboratory building.

Ralph S. Evinrude Marine Operations Center

Captain Timothy Fletcher, Manager. The center houses small outboard-powered craft and medium-sized workboats. These vessels are available to graduate students and faculty for teaching and research use in the tributaries and the Indian River Lagoon (IRL). The facility has a variety of other resources available and is located on Crane Creek in Melbourne, approx. 1.5 mile from the main campus. The IRL is a national estuary and is the most biodiverse estuary system in North America. The Florida Tech national champion crew team, champion concrete canoe team, Sailing Club and scientific diving program safety office are also housed at the center.

Wind and Hurricane Impacts Research Laboratory (WHIRL)

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Jean-Paul Pinelli, Ph.D., P.E., Professor, Civil Engineering, Director. WHIRL is dedicated to the study of the effects and impacts of windstorms including hurricanes, tornadoes and thunderstorms, and other related meteorological hazards (e.g., flooding and tidal surges) on the natural environment and manmade structures. The laboratory involves a multidisciplinary team of engineers, scientists and business experts. It takes advantage of a geographic location in the heart of Florida’s Space Coast to serve the needs of industry, government and the public in wind hazard mitigation. The laboratory’s activities include research on mitigation of losses of life, property and the environment; education of the public through dissemination of information; and the development of a multidisciplinary program of study focused on wind engineering and wind-related socioeconomic studies and analyses. Research topics in the laboratory include action of strong winds and storm surges on structures; evaluation of codes, standards and retrofitting techniques for buildings and infrastructure systems; risk assessment for existing structures, coastal erosion, sediment transport and environmental damage due to storm surges and floods; development of remote sensing tools for assessing and monitoring hurricane damage, wind speed and flood levels; fundamental wind and meteorological research; wind tunnel modeling and testing; and statistical studies, analysis of economic impacts and development of potential damage maps for hurricane hazards in Florida.

Microelectronics Laboratory

Susan K. Earles, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Director. This microelectronics facility is designed to be a teaching laboratory as well as an advanced research laboratory. A microelectronics fabrication course is taught to graduate and undergraduate students. In this course, students complete, fabricate and test a variety of electronic devices such as photovoltaic devices and hydrogen sensors. Research conducted in the facility includes polymer-based and silicon-based electronic and optoelectronic devices. The 3,800-sq.-ft. facility has all support services needed for modern semiconductor research including a 3,000-sq.-ft. clean room and areas dedicated to circuit testing and equipment maintenance. Equipment in the laboratory includes ultraviolet photolithography, diffusion furnaces, a thin-film evaporator, wet chemistry benches, and measurement and inspection equipment. The advanced research laboratory presently features a scanning probe microscope, plasma enhanced deposition and lasers for teaching and research.

Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA)

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Terry Oswalt, Ph.D., Professor and Department Head, Physics and Space Sciences, SARA Chair. SARA is a consortium of ten universities led by Florida Tech that operates one-meter-class automated telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona and Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile. The SARA members are Florida Tech, East Tennessee State University, Valdosta State University, Florida International University, Clemson University, Ball State University, Agnes Scott College, University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, Valparaiso University and Butler University.

The observatory can be operated by an astronomer on site as well as remotely via Internet link from the SARA institution campuses.

In addition to supporting faculty and student research activities in a wide variety of areas such as planetary science, stellar astronomy and active galaxies, SARA hosts a unique multi-institution Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program funded by the National Science Foundation. Each year, this program provides internships to about a dozen students selected competitively from around the country who work one-on-one with faculty on research projects. The SARA REU program is one of the largest astronomy internship programs in the United States.

Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory (BNL)

Michael Grace, Ph.D., Associate Dean, College of Science and Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Director. The BNL is dedicated to the neural mechanisms of behavior in vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Much of the laboratory’s work focuses on vision and other sensory systems, from the molecules of initial sensation through all levels of organization including cellular function, cell-to-cell communication in the nervous system and observable behavior. Molecular biology, biochemistry, high resolution microscopy and analysis of behavior including operant conditioning are used to investigate a variety of sensory issues that include infrared imaging systems in snakes, development of vision in marine fish and endangered sea turtles, pheromonal communication in marine invertebrates and brain organization and function in one of the smallest vertebrate animals on Earth. BNL personnel provide expertise in designing and conducting experiments in both the laboratory and field, and at almost any level of biological organization. The mission of the BNL is to define the neural mechanisms that underlie complex behavior in living organisms and to promote evolved biological solutions to complicated problems as platforms for biomimetic technology development for biomedical, defense and industrial applications. The laboratory actively engages in community outreach from local interaction through international popular broadcasts.

Dynamic Systems and Controls Laboratory (DSCL)

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Hector Gutierrez, Ph.D., P.E., Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Y.I. Sharaf-Eldeen, Ph.D., P.E., Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Co-Directors. DSCL supports a variety of research activities in dynamic systems for mechanical and aerospace applications: (1) real-time monitoring and control of the flexible dynamics in launch vehicles including design, characterization and system integration of distributed actuators such as cold gas thrusters; (2) use of Fiber Bragg grating arrays to monitor and control in real-time multi-modal vibrations in aerospace structures; (3) in electrical machinery, the design, analysis, characterization and testing of novel machine topologies such as dual armature generators; (4) characterization of the liquid slosh dynamics in upper stage propellant tanks; and (5) magnetic suspension technology, computer-based instrumentation and mechatronics. Current and past research activities include: (1) realtime control of structural vibrations based on magneto-rheological (MR) dampers; (2) magnetic suspension systems for high-precision positioning applications; (3) characterization of surface tension and contact angle in novel propellants; (4) rotating machinery monitoring and fault diagnosis, online vibration and angular motion measurements; (5)analyses to develop condition monitoring; (6) maintenance information systems for power generation, transmission systems and components in rotating machinery.

Robotics and Spatial Systems Laboratory (RASSL)

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Pierre M. Larochelle, Ph.D., Assistant Dean, College of Engineering and Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Director. RASSL is dedicated to the development of robotic mechanical systems that generate spatial (i.e., 3-dimensional) motion and force transmission. RASSL seeks to advance the design methodologies for these challenging systems as well as techniques for their use in industrial and consumer applications. Equipment includes a Motoman SV3 XRC robot, an Adept/Mobile Robotics PowerBOT and several systems developed by RASSL.