Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

The Beckman Institute is an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research institute on the Illinois campus. Devoted to basic research in the physical sciences, computation, engineering, imaging, biology, behavior, and cognition, it is organized around four main research themes: Biological Intelligence, Human–Computer Intelligent Interaction, Integrative Imaging, and Molecular and Electronic Nanostructures. It includes three user-shared facilities: Biomedical Imaging Center, Imaging Technology Group and Illinois Simulator Laboratory. These core facilities are open to all students, faculty, and staff at Illinois, as well as industrial users and independent researchers. Facility users are supported by a professional staff that includes PhD-educated microscopists, instrument technicians, visualization, graphics, and image analysis experts, and systems engineers.

Biomedical Imaging Center
BIC provides facilities, equipment, and training for research on nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy. The Center's goal is to conduct research and develop human and animal imaging technology that addresses questions ranging from the single cell to the complex inter-dependent systems underlying cognitive function. BIC is committed to the development of cutting edge techniques which integrate magnetic resonance methods with other imaging techniques, including optical imaging, eye-tracking, EEG and MEG. These facilities and equipment include: 3T Siemens Magnetom Allegra MR Headscanner, 3T Allegra Mock Magnet/3T Mock Trio Magnet, Magnetom Trio 3T, 600 MHz Varian MR System, 512 Channel Bi-Wavelength Near-Infrared Imager, and Advanced AC magnetic field applicator for small animal hyperthermia treatment.

Imaging Technology Group
The primary mission of the Imaging Technology Group (ITG) is to provide state-of-the-art imaging facilities for researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and University of Illinois. This service mission is accomplished through two facilities: the Microscopy Suite and the Visualization Laboratory. A secondary mission of the ITG is to develop advanced imaging technologies with an emphasis on projects in remote instrument control and scientific visualization.

Microscopy Suite - is one of the two primary service facilities supported by the Imaging Technology group. A wide range of imaging modalities and supporting equipment is available for the preparation, imaging, and analysis of microscopic specimens. Instruments in the facility include dissecting, stereology, fluorescence, confocal, transmission electron, environmental scanning electron, atomic force and near field scanning optical microscopes, and micro- and nano-XCT. Various supporting facilities include a wet lab and small equipment available for checkout. Ancillary equipment housed in the supporting facilities includes an ultramicrotome, a carbon evaporator, a sputter coater, and a fiber optic puller. Consult the equipment pages for detailed information. Extensive computing facilities for data analysis, processing, and interpretation are available within the Microscopy Suite, with additional resources available in the Visualization Laboratory. The ITG also supports several educational and outreach projects specifically related to the Microscopy Suite, for example Bugscope and the Web Atlas of Cellular Structures.

Visualization Laboratory - is a Beckman Institute for Advanced Science & Technology facility operated by the Imaging Technology Group. This world class laboratory is open to all faculty, students and staff on the UIUC campus, as well as approved users from other universities and industry. The Visualization Laboratory resources support a wide variety of projects for research, including: 2D/3D/4D image analysis and quantification, scientific visualization, ultra-high speed video, macro-photograpy, macro-video, video production, 3D animation, high-resolution 2D scanning, 3D object scanning, full-color 3D printing, research presentation methods, publication graphics, and additional capabilities in support of imaging. These resources are provided to lab users through a broad variety of state-of-the-art hardware and software options.  ITG staff is available to teach and aid each individual user in accomplishing their goals within the laboratory.

Illinois Simulator Laboratory
The Illinois Simulator Laboratory (ISL) is a Beckman Institute facility for advancing scientific understanding of human-computer interactions and analyzing complex three-dimensional datasets with immersive technology. The primary mission of the ISL is to support the integration of advanced technologies so that researchers can conduct experiments in human multi-modal perception and cognition. To facilitate this mission, the ISL maintains discrete laboratories allowing the incorporation of individualized multimodal control and monitoring technologies into advanced visualization environments, both immersive and ultra-high resolution. The ISL also provides high-end visualization technologies to view, analyze, and interpret imaging data sets.

Materials Research Laboratory

The MRL Central Facilities operate as shared-user facilities, allowing researchers self-use after completing the necessary training

Center for Microanalysis of Materials
CMM is an integrated facility containing the full array of modern nanostructural and nanochemical analysis techniques including electron microscopy (SEM, TEM, STEM, high-pressure environmental cell TEM, high-temperature LEEM, focused ion beam microscopy), scanning probe microscopy (AFM and variable-temperature STM), surface microanalysis (SIMS, AES, XPS, imaging XPS, electrochemical XPS), x-ray scattering in all modes, and ion-beam spectroscopies (RBS, channeling, and NRA); these instruments are maintained, operated and developed by an excellent group of professional scientists who also teach instrument use, assist in interpretation of results and support the science on which the equipment is focused.

Laser and Spectroscopy Facility
LSF provides access to a variety of lasers and instruments. Laser wavelengths range from 300 nm in the ultraviolet to 20μm in the mid-infrared. Line widths as narrow as 15 kHz and pulses as short as 10-13s are available. These sources are used to implement a variety of spectroscopic techniques, e.g. Raman, Brillouin, pump-probe, time-resolved photoluminescence, and sum-frequency generation. In addition to standard instruments, e.g. a spectrophotometer, the facility has several specialized instruments, including a spectroscopic ellipsometer which operates over the range 240 - 1700 nm, a combination atomic force microscope, confocal microscope, and near-field scanning optical microscope (NSOM), one of only two in the U.S, which provides spectroscopic images with a spatial resolution of 50 - 100 nm, in addition to topography, and a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer used to characterize samples in the mid- and far-infrared.

Center for Computation
CFC provides computing and networking facilities for the research community within the FSMRL. The computing environment is highly decentralized, allowing a broad range of computational services, including clusters of very fast virtual parallel machines for simulations of the dynamic behavior of materials and for theory development and modeling. Besides providing networking and computational support, CFC provides a full range of core services including email, web serving, file hosting, network backups, and consultation with faculty and staff on software and hardware purchases. A wide range of software packages is made available to the user community in addition to a well-rounded user room with workstations, printers, scanners as well as audio/visual equipment available for checkout.

Institute for Genomic Biology

At the Institute for Genomic Biology, the core facilities are designed as extensions of the research labs with 24-hour access to instrumentation and staff to train users, maintain equipment, and work with faculty to purchase equipment that will adjust to and advance research needs.

Microscopy and Imaging Facility
Among other instruments, Microscopy and Imaging Facility offers access to a structured illumination fluorescence microscope, a laser capture microscope and a multi-photon confocal microscope. Microscopy staff extends training and sample preparation services, as well as expertise in experiment design and image interpretation.

Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory

The Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory is a multidisciplinary research facility that houses advanced equipment to support research in photonics, microelectronics, nanotechnology, and biotechnology. Faculty and students also have access to extensive computing resources.

Cleanroom Labs
The cleanroom facilities within the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory are comprised of sixteen separate 500-square-foot laboratories, for a total of 8000 square feet of usable cleanroom lab space. The structure was designed in order that there be less than ten microinches of floor vibration throughout the cleanroom lab complex. This insures optimum performance from ultra-sensitive equipment such as electron-beam lithography system, optical lithography systems, scanning electron and atomic force microscopes.

BioNanotechnology Labs
The BioNanotechnology Laboratories are comprised of physically distinct but functionally complementary individual laboratory areas where interdisciplinary biological and micro and nanotechnology research experiments can be carried out simultaneously. These labs fulfill the need for existence of biological laboratories within engineering fabrication and characterization areas for biomedical sensors and device research. The BioNanotechnology Laboratories are subdivided into the following functional areas: cryostorage and sterilization area, fixed and flex space micro/nano research workbench areas, polymer devices and nanodevices lab, mammalian cell culture lab, prokaryotic cell culture lab, BioAFM lab, optical and fluorescence microscopy lab, nanophotonics area, DNA patterning/microarray area. Some advanced equipment housed within the BNL includes: an Asylum Research biological AFM (BioAFM) integrated with a fluorescence microscope, multiple advanced optical and fluorescence microscopes (upright and inverted configurations), ultra low light imaging and image analysis system, and microfluidics instrumentation.

School of Veterinary Medicine

The College has modern clinical and basic sciences facilities for research ranging from basic biomedical studies to applied clinical and field studies under controlled confinement and natural environmental conditions, as well as unique specialty laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.

Center for Microscopic Imaging
Campus-wide service center provides students, faculty, and research staff with advanced instrumentation in microscopy for teaching and research.

Design Group @ Vet Med
This group offers a campus-wide service in the areas of illustration; graphic, public and web design; biomedical photography; digital imaging, on-line course design, and other services. For a complete listing, please visit their website.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Laboratory
Computer-based laboratory encompasses a range of technologies including digital mapping, analysis of remotely sensed imagery, spatial statistics and the use of global positioning systems (GPS). Spatial technologies and methods are incorporated into research in animal health, disease mapping and surveillance, health ecology and ecosystem analysis.

Veterinary Teaching Hospital is a part of the College of Veterinary Medicine complex, with following equipment available: Eklin DR (digital radiography - in table and portable), Kodak/Carestream CR (computerized radiography for portable and ambulatory use), GE R/F rooms (fluoroscopy), Carestream PACS (storage for digital images), GE Lightspeed 16 slice CT and ADW workstation, Esaote 0.3T MRI, Biosound/Esaote - MyLab 70 Ultrasound, Vivid 7 ultrasound with echo and Doppler capabilities and Phillips HDI ultrasound system.

Molecular and Cell Biology

MCB provides all of the major equipment and expertise necessary for research in biochemistry, cell and developmental biology, microbiology, molecular and integrative physiology, and related disciplines. Specialized facilities available within departments include equipment for large scale growth and processing of animal cells as well as state-of-the-art x-ray diffraction equipment. Other supporting facilities include specialized laboratories for recording infrared, ultraviolet, fluorescence, electron spin resonance, mass, nuclear magnetic resonance, circular dichroism, and optical rotatory dispersion spectra.

Microscopy Facility
Microscopy Facility offers confocal laser scanning microscope, microscope with DIC, phase contrast and fluorescence capabilities, inverted fluorescence microscope and stereo fluorescence microscope for all campus trained users.


The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) provides powerful computers and expert support that help scientists and engineers across the country better understand our world. With the computing power available at NCSA, researchers simulate how galaxies collide and merge, how proteins fold and how molecules move through the wall of a cell, how tornadoes and hurricanes form, and other complex natural and engineered phenomena. NCSA and its partners are at work on the Blue Waters project, which will provide the national research community with a sustained-petaflop supercomputer that is many times more powerful than the current resources available for non-classified scientific research.
The center focuses on: