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$10M in grants goes to upgrading research equipment at UMD

The University of Maryland, College Park, is spending $10 million to update seven of its research laboratories, officials announced Friday. (The Daily Record / Tim Curtis)

The University of Maryland, College Park, is spending $10 million to update seven of its research laboratories, officials announced Friday. (The Daily Record / Tim Curtis)

The University of Maryland has announced seven research facilities that were awarded grants to upgrade and implement advanced technology and equipment.

The grants, which total $10 million, come from the newly-established UMD Research Instrumentation Fund, which is led by Interim Senior Vice President and Provost Ann Wylie and Vice President for Research Laurie Locascio. It was launched in March with the goal of providing funds to replace or upgrade research equipment on campus.

The seven research facilities that received grants specialize in subjects ranging from neuroscience to quantum technology. The Maryland Neuroimaging Center, which conducts research on the human brain, received funds for upgrades to its MRI scanner that will improve the resolution of the images it produces.

The push to upgrade the school’s MRI equipment, which is used by eight different laboratories on campus, was led by the Brain and Behavior Institute at UMD, which was launched in January 2021 in an effort to expand the school’s neuroscience portfolio.

“The MRI upgrade will elevate the quality of brain image capacity and impact numerous faculty within the BBI,” said Elizabeth Quinlan, a UMD biology professor, Clark Leadership Chair in neuroscience and director of the BBI, in a news release. “It will also boost UMD’s competitiveness for external funding and place the university on par with other leading national and international institutions in human neuroimaging work.”

Another grant went to purchasing an advanced microscope that will be housing in the university’s Advanced Imagine and Microscopy Laboratory and managed by its NanoCenter, an organization that promotes the research of nano- and micro-scale objects at UMD.

The tool will be used in quantum materials, energy and nanotechnology, areas that have the potential to bring “substantial economic and employment benefits to the state,” according to UMD’s announcement.

“The new microscope supported by this award will greatly benefit our research in clean sources of energy, such as solar cells, solid oxide fuel cells and batteries, as well as in quantum materials for computing and storage, and advance our capabilities for in-situ imaging and chemical analysis of materials at the atomic level during electron beam irradiation,” Lourdes Salamanca-Riba, a professor of materials science and engineering, said in a news release.

The other five awards will go towards purchasing the following equipment:

  • A X-ray photoelectron spectrometer, a tool used in materials research that will be able to be used across a variety of fields including nanotechnology and energy storage. It will be housed in the Surface Analysis Center.
  • A light sheet instrument for multiscale cell dynamics, which is used to research living systems. Paired with existing technology, this technology will make the university’s Imaging Incubator a “regional hub for light sheet imaging.”
  • An advanced thin-film deposition suite for next-generation quantum materials, which will be used for advanced research projects and student training. The equipment will be located in the Quantum Materials Center.
  • Single crystal x-ray instrumentation, which will provide MD’s X-ray Crystallographic Center, a facility that supports multiple campus researchers and also partners with federal laboratories, state-of-the-art measurement capabilities for structure determination.
  • A multi-chamber etching and deposition system, which would be used by faculty in a broad range of disciplines to do work in nanofabrication, or the creation of nano-scale devices. It would be housed in the NanoCenter FabLab.

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