CNU Collaborates with High Technology Firms, Jefferson Lab and Research Universities in Applied Research Center

CNU Collaborates with High Technology Firms, Jefferson Lab and
Research Universities in Applied Research Center

As the fall semester opens, students in Christopher Newport University's College of Business, Science and Technology program will have a new place to get involved in research - The Applied Research Center (ARC) in Oyster Point. At the ARC, students will work side by side with faculty in setting up laboratories, conducting research at high-powered work stations, developing and designing sensors and circuits, and using an ion chromatograph to analyze water and soil samples.

ARC is a new seven-story, 121,000-square-foot facility designed to foster collaboration between high technology firms, Jefferson Lab, Christopher Newport University, The College of William and Mary, Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University. The ARC Building will contain 27 state-of-the-art laboratories, including materials analysis labs, photonic labs, advanced computer facilities and a technical library.

CNU's Dean of Business, Science and Technology George Webb is enthusiastic about the significant addition to the University's capability to offer realworld research to its students and to support regional companies. "I am particularly excited by the learning environment that will be created when faculty from all four universitites and the Jefferson Lab collaborate," said Dr. Webb. "This mix gives Hampton Roads the scientific and engineering expertise in the characterization and processing of materials of a major research university."


Dr. Lee Beach, former Deputy Director of NASA's Langley Research Center, is Associate Director for CNU's division of ARC. Dr. Beach brings a wealth of experience in developing research and technology programs. He has led national studies to determine the future direction of the U.S. aeronautics effort and the size and makeup of the infra-structure to support it.

"I am very pleased to be joining CNU at a time when a new facility is providing a first class place for universities, a national lab and businesses to leverage their respective capabilities for the good of the state and the region," said Dr. Beach. "ARC will provide CNU faculty and students with unique opportunities to work across institutional boundaries and partnerships. This kind of experience is becoming more and more important at all levels of government, business and academia."

The CNU research and development efforts housed at the Research Park will include four laboratories - an Integrated Circuits Laboratory, a Laser and Photonics Laboratory, an Ecological Monitoring Laboratory and a Solid State Sensors Lab. The Laboratories will support funded and applied research and development projects by teams of faculty and students, collaboration in the Research Park's efforts at Technology transfer and teleconferencing, and the participation in the creation of a computer capability that will be shared by university partners in the Center.

The Integrated Circuits Laboratory and the Laser and Photonics Laboratory will develop their research programs this year. The Ecological Monitoring Lab is purchasing and testing the equipment for studying environmental samples and the Solid State Sensors Lab is working on the initial design of an integrated, computer-driven laboratory that will include testing in high magnetic fields.

Dr. Robert Hodson, Director of CNU's Computer Engineering Program, will direct the Advanced Integrated Circuits lab. His major task is to design and develop application-specific integrated circuits.

"We can help the community solve electrical engineering problems and provide expertise on custom integrated circuit design," said Hodson. "Another goal is to advance research in the area of integrated circuits." The latter is just a continuation of research Hodson and his CNU colleagues, Dr. James Hereford, Dr. David Doughty and Dr. Jeffrey Beyon are studying.

Hodson's senior design engineering students will assist in the set up of the laboratory, use the equipment and assist in research projects.

Dr. Martin Buoncristiani, professor of Physics, Computer Science and Engineering, will direct the Photonic and Lasers Laboratory. "The role I would like our lab to play is a bridge between new developments in research laboratories and businesses interested in developing them into products," said Buoncristiani. "We're interested in developing new technology that involves lasers and optical and electronic devices for industry."

Buoncristiani is working now with Engineering Development Laboratory, a local high-tech company.

"The Photonic and Lasers Laboratory will provide us with exceptional space where we can set up experiments and experimental stations. Students will be able to conduct research which will provide invaluable opportunities for them."

Dr. Kathleen Brunke, assistant professor of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Science, will help establish an Ecological Monitoring Laboratory. The facility will provide a number of services to the community including water and soil analysis.

With the aid of an ion chromatograph, Brunke and her fellow co-lab directors Dr. James Reed and Dr. Gary Whiting will be able to tell residents the amount of chlorine, nitrate, phosphate and sulfate in their water, what type of soil they have, and evaluate acetate and methane samples.

"Both undergraduate and graduate students will conduct research in the University's lab and at the ARC facility," said Brunke. "It will provide more lab space and instrumentation, as well as an environment conducive to quality research. The data that is collected at the lab will be brought back to the classroom as well. Students enjoy working with actual data, interpreting the data and getting a real feel for why people do research."

Dr. Rauof Selim, associate professor of Physics, Computer Science and Engineering, will direct the Solid State Sensors Laboratory. His major task will be the development of sensors and components for integrated data acquisition systems.

Selim will work with various research entities including the Jefferson Lab, NASA Langley and the Advanced Shipbuilding and Carrier Integration Center that will be built in downtown Newport News. "We will assist research facilities and companies in exploring new ideas and the use of materials in fabricating and testing of sensors," said Selim.

Selim also plans to involve undergraduate and graduate students in the research. "We will encourage our computer science, applied physics and computer engineering students to complete their senior projects at the lab."