Research and Exploratory Development   Home  >   Our Work  >   Mission Areas  >   Research and Exploratory Development  >   Facilities


Advanced Optics and Photonics Laboratory (AOPL)

The AOPL brings together research in a diverse range of areas. Outfitted with specialized equipment including several ultra-stable optical tables, a range of frequency-stabilized lasers in the visible and near-infrared regions, extensive free-space and optical-fiber component stocks, ultra-high vacuum systems, and a variety of radio frequency and signal processing equipment, this facility supports projects involving biomedical imaging, holography, silicon photonics, quantum optics, and optomechanics.

Advanced Prototype and Optical Research (RAPTOR) Laboratory

The RAPTOR Lab is an advanced sensor prototype development facility used to develop applications that involve materials’ properties, surveillance, identification, biometrics, imagining, testing and evaluation, and more. Equipped with optical and electromagnetic spectrum sensors, several high-power and low-power lasers, and broadband and incoherent optical sources, this facility has optical detectors and imaging systems that are used to characterize the sources for assessment of performance by the prototype sensors.

Biochemistry Laboratory

The Biochemistry Lab is a biosafety-level 2 lab that supports investigation into protein production and characterization. Equipped with a chemical fume hood, reagent-grade water supply, incubators, storage refrigerators and freezers, electroporators, and agarose gel electrophoresis systems, this facility supports simple recombinant DNA manipulation and the culture and manipulation of bacterial and eukaryotic cultures at the laboratory scale.

Dynamics Laboratory

The Dynamics Lab provides space for dynamics testing of autonomous mobility platforms, unmanned aerial systems, human-assist robotics, sensors, and other systems related to robotics and autonomy. Equipped with a Vicon motion-capture system, a mobility range, and a 12-m × 12-m floor-to-ceiling netted area, this facility provides precise, three-dimensional motion analysis and allows for testing of autonomous ground and air vehicles in complex obstacle fields.

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Laboratory

The ESD Lab is a climate-controlled, ESD-safe laboratory environment. Equipped with ESD-rated flooring and workbenches, a humidifier system, several soldering stations, and exhaust snorkels, this facility supports work on sensitive electronics.

Engineered Materials Laboratory

The Engineered Materials Lab produces hardware through a multitude of innovative processes. Equipped to support processes such as material selection, process development, reverse engineering, additive manufacturing, and the fabrication of composite, bonded, and complex molded polymer parts and assemblies, this facility is able to produce highly customized hardware for a wide range of applications.

Genome Sequencing Laboratory

The Genome Sequencing Lab consists of several dedicated laboratory spaces. This facility is made up of a sample preparation room, a clean room, a storage/staging area, and a main room used for sequencing. These lab spaces are equipped with RNA and DNA hoods, next-generation sequencers, a 10x Genomics Gemcode sample prep machine, two Illumina MiSeqs, two Oxford Nanopore MinIONs, a Boreal Genomics Aurora for low-throughput, SCODAphoresis-based sample prep, a Covaris sonicator for library preparation, a benchtop Allegra centrifuge, several microfuges, cold storage for samples and reagents, a laminar flow/biosafety hood for sterile manipulation, thermocyclers for amplification and polymerase chain reaction, a Gel Doc for taking pictures of agarose and protein gels, a Qubit fluorometer for precise sample quantitation, a BluePippen size selection instrument for long read size selection, and Agilent Bioanalyzer and TapeStation instruments for sample quality control. This equipment, as well as access to a Pacific Biosciences instrument and Illumina HiSeq capacity, allows this lab space to support next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics for various sponsors.

Human Dynamics Center (HDC)

The HDC is used to support the study of human social processes at various levels. The HDC comprises two related laboratories that are equipped with a psychophysiological measurement system, an eye tracker/pupilometer, a B-Alert mobile, wireless electroencephalography (EEG) headset, two polysomnography systems, two LifeShirt systems, a near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) system, a common experimental control room, a reception and briefing area, and two informed consent/behavioral testing rooms. The HDC houses the Teamwork & Social Dynamics Lab, which supports activities of a large team of participants, and the Psychophysiology Lab, which supports the internal neurological processes of individual participants.

Innovation Laboratory

The Innovation Lab is a collaborative space outfitted with benches, tools, power supplies, electronics equipment, and a moveable, heavy-duty gantry crane. Located at the center of the Intelligent Systems Center, this facility anchors much of APL’s research in ground robotics, advanced manipulation, machine perception, autonomous systems, and novel control for unmanned ground vehicles and unmanned aerial systems.

Intelligent Systems Center (ISC)

The ISC is a state-of-the-art research facility that was created to advance the successful utilization of intelligent machines and systems. With a focus on advancing the ability of machines to operate with increased autonomy in challenging environments, the ISC has three key domains: machine learning, robotic and autonomous systems, and applied neuroscience.

Equipped with labs for hardware and software development, modular test platforms, unmanned vehicle test areas, innovation space for cross-disciplinary activities, and open seating, this facility aims to enhance machine intelligence and develop approaches for calibrating trust in those machines to perform high-stakes tasks in collaboration with human and machine partners. Increased machine autonomy in the performance of those tasks will realize significant operational value in reducing operator workload; increasing tactical decision speed; analyzing vast, complex data feeds; and keeping people out of harm’s way.

Low Temperature Test Bed Laboratory

The Low Temperature Test Bed Lab is an experimental facility for quantum computing simulations. Equipped with a dilution refrigerator with a low-temperature radio frequency system and dozens of electronic instruments and components, this facility is capable controlling and measuring qubits for quantum computing simulations and characterizing superconducting quantum devices with temperatures of about 8 millikelvin above absolute zero and a measurement and control of 1–10 GHz.

Low Temperature Testing Laboratory

The Low Temperature Testing Lab is used for electrical characterization of circuits at cryogenic temperatures. Outfitted with liquid helium dewars, a laminar flow hood, low-power plasma cleaner, and standard electronic test equipment, this facility performs direct current and radio frequency measurements on electronic circuits and devices and is used to assemble microfluidic devices and other small-scale clean assembly tasks.

Mass Spectrometry (MS) Laboratory

The MS Lab is used for MS research and analysis of biological samples in complex environments. The lab is equipped with a high-resolution, high-mass-accuracy mass spectrometer, several low-resolution gas chromatography (GC)/MS and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)/MS systems, an Excellims MA3100 high-performance ion mobility spectrometer (IMS), an Orbitrap Velos mass spectrometer, a tandem time-of-flight (TOF) instrument for matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI), electrospray ionization (ESI), nano-electrospray ion sources, commercial software, and bioinformatics packages. The MS Lab supports sample ionization, environmental sample analysis and imaging, MS/MS data acquisition and analysis, biological sample analysis in proteomics and metabolomics, and spatial imaging of organic or biological films.

Microscopy Laboratory

The Microscopy Lab is an imaging lab. Equipped with an Olympus IX81 microscope, an Andor iXon camera, an ASI motorized XYZ stage, an environmental enclosure with temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide controls, and an automated confocal microscope with an environmental chamber, this facility enables optogenetics applications and supports a variety of sponsor projects.

Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) and MetallOrganic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) Laboratories

The MBE Lab and MOCVD Lab are used for the advancement of solid-state materials and device technology. These facilities are equipped to enable new designer solid-state materials for applications across the electromagnetic spectrum—such as novel infrared sensors, innovative signature control materials, new generations of light-emitting materials/devices, and potentially a new class of photovoltaic energy conversion devices to harness the solar spectrum. The facilities are assisting with the design of optimal nano-engineered thermoelectric materials to build innovative solid-state cooling devices and energy harvesting devices; they allow for the engineering of semiconductor materials at the nanometer scale and control the transport of fundamental particles that transport energy.

Raman Scattering Laboratory

The Raman Scattering Lab is used for Raman spectroscopy. Equipped with an lN2-cooled and a –100°C Peltier-cooled imaging spectrometer, this facility scans both bulk and micro-Raman measurements. The lab is capable of performing bulk Raman wavelength spectroscopy with a high-spectral-resolution grating-based Raman spectrometer at a range of wavelengths, and scanning micro-Raman measurements are done at a wavelength of 532 nm with a spatial resolution of about 0.5 microns.

Rapid Electronic Assembly Laboratory

The Rapid Electronic Assembly Lab is used for development, characterization, and integration of novel electromechanical and microfluidic technologies. Outfitted with a large array of electrical test and measurement equipment, an electronics assembly station, and an electronics design workstation, this facility provides a highly flexible workspace for a large variety of projects to integrate microscale sensors and devices into larger systems.

Rapid Prototyping Laboratory

The Rapid Prototyping Lab is used for the rapid prototyping of mechanical parts and robotic systems and is equipped with a laser cutter, lathe, computer numerical control mill, drill press, and band saw, as well as assortment of hand tools and bit sizes.

Sensor Technologies (SENTECH) Laboratory

The SENTECH Lab is used to develop, test, and evaluate various types of sensors, including longitudinal wave, transverse electromagnetic wave, electric field, magnetic field, etc. This facility is equipped to produce applications including various radio frequency bands, pyroelectric and piezoelectric materials including infrared detection, imaging in unique portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, and design, construction, and evaluation of novel optical systems. In addition, in combination with novel APL designs and components, this facility performs reverse engineering to provide extremely unique capabilities.

Software/Hardware Integration Laboratory

The Software/Hardware Integration Lab is housed in the Intelligent Systems Center and provides a variety of resources for the development and integration of hardware and software. This facility is equipped with a combination of desktops, laptops, and hardware, as well as a variety of network connectivity options, allowing for collaborative areas that can host small teams and software projects.

THz Laboratory

The THz Lab is used for spectroscopy and dielectric characterization of materials in the terahertz region (0.1–10 THz). Equipped with a vector network analyzer (VNA) that covers the 60–140 and 500–750 GHz frequency range, a backward wave oscillator (BWO), a Golay cell, matching zero-bias detectors and THz time domain systems (TDS), this facility can produce full S-parameter measurements and is capable of performing wideband ultrafast measurements.