The research program and laboratories offer opportunities for students desiring to learn about the field of electronics, computers, and other areas of engineering and technology. With access to an active research program, students are presented with a wealth of opportunity in terms of undergraduate research and future graduate research and study.
Active Research Laboratories
Instrumentation and Cryogenics Research Laboratory
The I-C-R-L houses applied research and development activities in many areas. Capabilities include instrumentation development, materials testing, control systems implementation and automation, sensor development including acoustical and thin films.
The lab has 250 gal re-circulating constant pressure, constant flow water system which can be used for flow meter calibration. This system is also cryogenic rated and can handle cryogenic fluids as well with full process variable measurement and control. Other capabilities include FPGA systems, circuit development, low/ high temperature, high voltage, mechanical shock and impact, computational fluid dynamics, 10,000 lb precision weight measurement and more.
Ultrahigh Vacuum and Sensor Development Research Laboratory
The UVSDRL is currently being developed to perform various scientific and engineering developmental researches requiring pressure low as 10-10 Pa.
Instrumentation exists to enable development and prosperity of new transducer materials, transducers and sensors requiring a contaminant-free environment. Once activated all chamber process will be fully automated.
Facilities at the University of Southern Mississippi are sufficient to conduct project tasks outlined in this proposal. The Buchanan group manages the Instrumentation and Cryogenics Laboratory and the Ultrahigh Vacuum and Sensors Development Laboratory and has the capability to perform a wide range of engineering, research, and development functions.
Hardware and software capabilities exist to instrument transducers and sensors to various computer platforms including personal computing (PC), process control for virtual interfacing (PXI), field programmable gate arrays (FPGA), programmable logic controllers (PLCs), programmable automation controllers (PACs), and microcontrollers. The lab houses a Xeon quad-core workstation and a Xeon hecta-core workstation. The hecta-core runs at 3.12 Ghz with 32GB of 1066 Mhz Ram for system and virtual hard-drive applications requiring access speeds of up to 900MB/s read and 800MB/s write access times less than 3ns 2x 50GB, arranged in RAID 0 (striping) for effective speeds of 400MB/s read 350MB/s read and access times of less than 5ns. A quad monitor setup facilitates faster programming and can be used to perform high speed calculations of large databases that require such state of the art components. The system is currently used for image processing applications that distribute load to all 8 processors.
Data acquisition and control includes precision motion control for up to 8 axes, analog to digital digitizer up to 24Bit, programmable arbitrary function generator with 355nHz resolution, 100n/s ultrahigh-speed digital I/O data acquisition using PXI and C-Rio offers sample rates up to 2.5MS/s and capability to perform real-time deterministic control, data logging, and analysis of desired test stands. Quad-channel high-resolution image acquisition and processing capabilities exist via virtual instrumentation software and related hardware.
The Buchanan group maintains the capability to facilitate instrumentation for cryogenic devices and processes. The Instrumentation and Cryogenics Research Laboratory (ICRL) houses the cryogenic test fixture developed to enable process variable measurement under all types of fluid flow conditions. The testing structure consists of a 7.62 m (25 ft) length of 5.08 cm (2 in) diameter stainless steel pipe with capabilities of accepting gas, water, or cryogenic fluids. This test platform monitors pressure, temperature, and flow rate (e.g. water at 0 to 80 gpm) at various locations along the pipe stream. All process measurement instrumentation is cryogenic temperature rated. Inert liquid cryogens can be routed to a series of evaporation tanks for boil off. Subsequent gas vapors are channeled through an exhaust system and vented to the building exterior. Long term and/or high volume cryogenic supply can be enabled through the use of an 8-dewar high pressure cryogenic supply manifold.
The ICRL also possesses other capabilities for support of the proposed project. Process variable measurement instrumentation is available to measure temperature (-200 to +1250°C), pressure (0-10,000 psi), turbine flow meter flow rate (0 to 405 GPM), ultrasonic flow meter flow rate (-40 ft/s to +40 ft/s), time (down to 0.1 ns), voltage (0 to 1000 VAC/DC), current (0 to 400A), resistance (0 to 500 MΩ), capacitance (0.001 pF to 100 µF), inductance (0.001 mH to 32 kH), frequency (0 to 3 GHz), high voltage insulation resistance (at 0 to 20 kV), and acoustical velocity (331 – 12,000 m/s). Capabilities also exist to measure pH (0 to 14 pH), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (0 to 100,000 ppm), and direct measurements of oxygen (0.5 to 100%), hydrogen (0.5 to 100%), carbon dioxide (0 to 100,000 ppm), weight (0 to 10,000 lbs), and humidity (5 to 95% RH).
The Buchanan group has capabilities in other areas, such as shock and impact testing, environmental chamber, basic machining, and a beam bending rheometer. Support instruments and equipment such as multiple oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, multimeters, air compressors, liquid tanks, power supplies, and waveform generators are also available.
The lab has patented a methodology for automated acoustical transducer positioning for noninvasive flow measurement. Lab capabilities include a photocatalytic reactor capable of measuring photochemistry reactions created by exposure to ultraviolet light. Analysis of semiconductor materials can be performed with semiconductor characterization including surface conductivity, volumetric conductivity, and capacitance vs. voltage.
The Buchanan group also manages the Ultrahigh Vacuum and Sensors Development Laboratory (UVSDL). The UVSDL possesses capabilities to produce vacuum down to 10 -10 torr and access ports for multiple instrumentation installation. Support equipment includes a mechanical vacuum pump as well as a low pressure ion pump. Chamber operation can be controlled through multiple computer platforms and can be automated as required. Multiple lasers are available including a 75 mW, 532 nm, single longitudinal mode CW laser. The lab maintains the ability to conduct characterization and testing of thin films and thin film transducers.