Research and Outreach Facilities


Burke Center

The college’s 854-acre campus includes state-of-the-art facilities to support research and outreach efforts, including scientific, computer, and engineering classroom and laboratory space, as well as Knowledge Park, a 200-acre area of campus reserved for research and development facilities.


Opened in summer 2006, the Burke Center is a unique academic building that allows the college to combine the physical and intellectual resources of its two professional schools (business and engineering) to create an enhanced regional asset. At 160,000 square feet, the building includes a number of classrooms; computer and instructional laboratories; and space to facilitate faculty, staff, student, and private sector collaboration and entrepreneurship.

The Burke Center's engineering facilities include five computer-aided engineering labs; four plastics labs (manufacturing/processing, materials testing, medical plastics, quality assurance and metrology, secondary operations); seven manufacturing labs (rapid prototyping, programmable logic controllers, general manufacturing, advanced metalworking, two metrology labs, automation); nine electrical science labs (motors and circuits, microprocessors and embedded systems, signal processing, measurement and instrumentation, circuits and devices, electrical systems, advanced technology, software and digital design, circuit fabrication); two thermal and fluid sciences labs (wind tunnel, fluid and thermal sciences); four materials labs (testing, heat treating, clean room, secondary materials testing); and three research labs (bench top/computers, small- and medium-scale experiments, large-scale experiments).

The many services available through the Burke Center and associated faculty and staff members include:

  • Design and analysis software proficiency – ANSYS FEA (Structural, Heat Transfer, and Dynamic Modeling), Cambridge Materials & Process Selector, FLUENT CFD Software, FLO-SERIES fluid flow, MATHCAD, MATLAB, Mechanical Dynamic modeling, PROE Parametric Design, PROE/PROCAST, and PROE/PRO Manufacturing.
  • Laboratories available for applied research – CAD/CAM, Digital Signal Processing, Machining Labs, Machine Vision, Materials Testing, Mechanical Measurements & Instrumentation, Metrology, Rapid Prototyping, and Thermal Testing.
  • Faculty-Led Student Design Projects – Senior students work with faculty members and industrial representatives on applied design problems which incorporate the latest design technologies. Under the direction of faculty members with industrial experience, opportunities are created to evaluate new technologies with specific application to business, and creative solutions are found to actual design problems with resultant product improvements and cost reductions.
  • University Library and Patent Search Resources – engineering database retrieval, patent searches, and access to most major university engineering libraries.

Software – All software is served by the GE Foundation Computer Center’s Enterprise servers, offering a menu of business applications including: SAP, Crystal Reports, Cognos, Expert Choice, Project2007, Rational Rose, Sybase PowerDesigner, SQL Server, the Visual Studio .net suite, and more. Other general applications offered in the lab include: Microsoft Office 2007 suite, Corel Office 2000 suite, Macromedia Web development and animation tools, and Java development software. Registered students can use their home PCs to remotely run any software available in computer labs via a Web-based virtual lab connection.

  • Hardware – The psychology laboratories include twelve rooms equipped with 50 work stations. Students and faculty members conduct online and offline research experiments in a number of formats and modalities. The lab has several specialized systems for research. There is a behavioral observational suite that allows for unobtrusive viewing of participants via one-way mirrors. The suite is equipped with a multimedia development station. All have access to digital video and audio equipment for creating and analyzing stimuli for experiments. The cognitive neuroscience lab contains a specially designed sound-attenuated chamber with two individual booths and is set up to record event-related potentials (ERP). ERPs are scalp-recorded brain waves time locked to a particular stimulus.
  • Software – Lab workstations are networked to the main computer hub and have access to all available network software, including SPSS for statistical data analysis.
  • Courseware for Observational Research (COR) instructs students in the basics of observational research, coding techniques, sampling strategies, reliability analysis and Chi Square statistics with the use of interactive digital video case modules. This software was developed by Penn State Behrend faculty members.
  • Five systems are equipped with E-Prime Professional 2.0 from Psychology Software Tools, which allow students and faculty members to design and run experiments appropriate for all populations.
  • SCAN 4.3 is a program designed for the recording and analysis of EEG and ERPs. It is used with a Neuroscan 64-channel amplifier system located in the cognitive neuroscience lab.
  • Software for multimedia development includes Adobe Premier and Pinnacle Studio for the creation of digital still and video images for teaching and research. Students and faculty members have direct access to the college's Web servers for Web-based research projects. Access to Macromedia products including Dreamweaver and Photoshop is available via the campus network.
  • Web-based surveys are conducted with the licensed version of Zoomerang.
  • Hardware – The School of Science computer labs are located throughout the science complex. The total number of work stations is well in excess of 100. The computers are used for data collection, data analysis, modeling, simulations, and student programming exercises. Workstations and servers run a combination of Linux, Apple, Novell, and Microsoft software. Students have the opportunity to do hands-on work with wireless and wired LANs and WANs with a variety of telecommunications equipment including repeaters, bridges, hubs, switches, routers, and multiplexors.
  • Software – Software available on the machines includes: Arcview, Celestra, R, Skygazer Virtual Astronomy, Maple, Matlab, Minitab, Labview, Visual Studio, Netbeans, IDL, Alchemy, XPP, OpenDX, Xwin32, and others. In total, the lab machines have access to over 150 software packages.
  • Other Scientific Resources:
    • Scanning Electron Microscope: Hitachi S570 capable of 100,000 times magnification; used to study the inner and outer topography of surfaces.
    • Fourier Transform Nuclear Resonance Spectrometer: Bruker Avance II 400 Mhz with broadband probe; used to determine the structure of unknown compounds, primarily through the location of hydrogen and carbon atoms.
    • Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry: Broadly applicable analysis techniques used to analyze and assist in the identification of unknown volatile compounds.
    • HPLC Chromatography: Used to perform analysis and to assist in the identification of unknown compounds, especially those of higher molecular weight, including proteins.
    • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer: Used to perform analysis and to assist in the identification of unknown compounds in solid, liquid, and gas phase.
    • Atomic Absorption Spectrometer: Primarily used to analyze trace compounds and cations in water samples, including lead and other contaminants.
    • Fluorescent Spectrometer: Measures the emission of light to analyze and characterize fluorescent material.
    • Fluorescent Microscope: Assists in analysis and characterization by allowing for the imaging of fluorescing materials.
    • Atomic Force Microscope: Used to study the topography of surfaces. Capable of profiling surfaces smaller than one micron.
    • Ultraviolet/Visible Spectrometer: Used to characterize and quantify compounds that absorb ultraviolet or visible light.
    • Neodymium YAG Laser: Used for characterization of non-linear optical material.
    • Confocal Microscope: Provides high resolution, three-dimensional images of materials. Primarily used in the life sciences.
    • Real Time PCR: Measures levels of gene expression.
    • NMR: Bruter Avance 11 - 400 Mhz spectrometer. Used in advanced imagine techniques to observe specific quantum mechanical magnetic properties of an atomic nucleus.