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World-Class Instrumentation

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Incredible research tools supply essential technological muscle and draw top scientists to the University.

17 October 2018

2D Crystal Consortium-Materials Innovation Platform 2

It happens every year. A number of eminent and promising scientists leave or turn down lucrative positions at prestigious institutions in global cities to come live in a small town of less than 50,000 in the rural center of Pennsylvania and join the faculty at Penn State. If it isn’t for Happy Valley’s rural charm, championship football tradition, or storied grilled stickies and Creamery ice cream, still the reasons are nonetheless compelling why they choose to come here, to a place that’s famously “four hours from everything,” to live and do research.

If you were to ask them, most—if not all—would tell you that Penn State’s collaborative and interdisciplinary environment was a major factor in their decision, that here they are empowered and encouraged to integrate across boundaries that hold back the work of their colleagues at other leading institutions. Penn State also is among the top universities in research funding—with a record $863M in expenditures just last year—and this, too, is a significant draw. But to really drive the forefront of discovery and innovation, scientists also need top-notch tools, and here at Penn State they have them.

Our researchers have access to an astounding array of cutting-edge instrumentation staffed by specialists in myriad techniques and applications. With such world-class capabilities and expert support, our scientists are able to study the very building blocks of life and matter—from organs, tissues, and cells to single molecules, atoms, and even elementary particles. Linked into state-of-the-art cyberinfrastructure, they can power through massive, highly complex data analyses, parsing human genome studies and multi- messenger astronomical observations and modeling evolution, global weather patterns, and the formation of planetary systems. Through collaborations with partners around the world, they have access to technologies that allow them to probe the depths of Earth and beyond: deep-diving submersibles, colossal telescopes, cosmic-particle detectors, even exoplanet-hunting satellites.

At University Park alone, the instrumentation fills over a dozen dedicated user facilities and many more labs and research centers across campus. The following infographic is a high-level overview of that instrumentation, focused on the premier technologies used by researchers in the Eberly College of Science and elsewhere at Penn State; it is non-exhaustive, but should provide enough information to whet the appetites of inquisitive readers, and there is no end to where that may lead.


please use the left-side menu or the navigation below to view the instruments available to researchers in the Eberly College of Science.