Cerent Engineering Science Complex

The Engineering Science Laboratories are named as Cerent Engineering Science Complex to honor the engineers from 'Cerent' (now part of Cisco) whose contributions were instrumental in founding the MS-CES program. The Cerent Engineering Science Complex consists of eight well-equipped state-of-the-art laboratories in the areas of communications, networking, photonics, microanalysis, electronics, computer-controlled instrumentation and software engineering.

These labs are part of the MS-CES Program and supported by many local industries and private funds. The goals and objectives of these labs are to (i) enrich classroom instructions with hands-on experience in the laboratories, (ii) provide cutting edge research and development facilities to the students and faculty of SST to do state-of-the art projects, applied research and fundamental research, and, (iii) act as incubators to develop new technology and applications. An overview of these labs is given below.

AFC Access Technologies Laboratory

Named after the industry Advanced Fibre Communications (now part of Tellabs), one of the Program's major supporters, this laboratory is equipped with the state-of-the art broadband communications and access equipment such as loop carrier simulators, wireline simulators, DSL/ADSL and cable modems such as cablespan and lightspan, network access equipment, telecommunications network analyzers, transmission impairment measurement system, various types of switches. The lab is capable of emulating end-to-end a multimode multi-user broadband communications system with various types of access technologies at the user ends. Studies can be conducted on data aggregation techniques and interfaces, access technologies for high speed efficient transmission over subscriber loops, switching techniques, etc.

Agilent Technologies Communications Laboratory

Named after the industry Agilent Technologies, one of the Program's major supporters, this laboratory is equipped with the state-of-the art optical communications equipment such as optical switches, optical spectrum analyzers, BERT systems, high frequency signal sources, digital communications analyzers, optical transmitters and receivers. The lab is capable of emulating various configurations of optical fiber communications system, study optical networking, analyzing and evaluating their performances.

Rolf Illsley Photonics Laboratory

Named after the founder of Optical Coating Laboratory, Inc. (OCLI), a major supporter of the MS-CES Program and a division of JDS Uniphase, this laboratory is equipped with the state-of-the-art photonics equipment. It is organized in six experimental stations each with equipment such as optical spectrum analyzers, optical power meters, sweep wavelength system receivers, microscopes, etc. Other major equipment in the lab are various types of light sources, splicing station, 48-ports AWG devices, a variety of couplers, connectors, etc. The students in photonics and optical fiber communications courses can characterize lightwave components and devices and optical fibers, and, study beam propagation behavior.
In addition, the laboratory is equipped with the optical and telecommunication software modeling tools from RSoft. This allows the students to simulate their experiments and compare the two results.

William Keck Microanalysis Laboratory

The Microanalysis Laboratory consists of four major instruments at the present time:

  • Hitachi Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)
    The SEM instrument is configured to allow imaging of inorganic objects as well as the more difficult to prepare and analyze biological specimens. Magnification up to 300,000X is well within the range of the instrument. A sample holder allows us to maintain the sample temperature from -20C to +85C. In addition, to the traditional SEM functionality, this instrument is equipped with Energy Dispersive X-ray Analysis (EDX). We are able to collect full atomic elemental analysis on a per pixel basis of the entire SEM image. As such we obtain extremely magnified images while simultaneously measuring the elemental content of any portion of the image.
  • Olympus confocal imaging system
    The confocal imaging facility is equipped with an Olympus FV300 laser scanning system attached to an Olympus BX61 upright microscope. This system has three lasers: Argon (488 nm), Red HeNe (633 nm) and Green HeNe (543 nm) allowing the utilization of a wide range of fluorescent probes for specimen analysis. The unique feature of this instrument is its ability to generate 3D confocal images of a variety of living and non-living biological materials. With the help of an SIS Biological Suite Imaging Software, the digital camera attached to the above microscope system allows researchers to gather and analyze high quality bright-field, dark-field, phase and Nomarski-DIC images of specimens.
  • Pacific Nanotechnology Scanning Probe Microscope (SPM)
    The Pacific Nanotechnology SPM is a tool that allows us to measure the properties of atomic surfaces. Sometimes the SPM is referred to as an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). The SPM or AFM is comprised of a very small and sharp tip, the point of which is only a few atoms in diameters. This tip is connected to a cantilever and is moved in a systematic way over the surface of the sample. The repulsive Van der Waals force between the tip and the sample results in the movement of the cantilever. That movement is imaged via a secondary laser system built into the instrument. Typical scan areas can vary from 100 nanometers(nm) X 100 nanometers up to 100 microns X 100 microns. A nanometer is 10-9 meters, while a micron is 10-6 meters. The height profile ranges from 0.1 nm to 100 nm. An instrument similar to this instrument recently certified the average roughness of the mirrors used in the new NASA x-ray telescope EXAFS.
  • PHI Auger spectrometer
    The PHI Auger spectrometer is an instrument that allows us to measure the strengths of various atomic bonds in a particular specimen. The EDX instrument mentioned above allows us to determine the presence of a particular atomic element in a specimen. The Auger spectrometer then allows us to probe the chemical nature of the specimen more deeply.

Each of the above instrument probes a different aspect of a particular sample. Therefore, combination of these instruments is actually more important than any one instrument. In combination, we can learn/deduce key mechanism in the formation of the sample. For example, we can determine whether a thin film was evaporated or sputter deposited. We can deduce the ability of a thin film sample to withstand abrasion and predict how well it will withstand harsh chemical environments.

Networking Laboratory

This laboratory, available to be named after a major supporter, provides facilities for instruction and experimentation in computer networking. Each of six identically equipped work areas contains hubs, switches, routers, and computers that can be connected and configured for a wide range of experiments. Every computer can run a choice of operating systems, and each contains a variety of programming and networking tools. There are easily reconfigured interconnections that connect the work areas to each other, to dedicated servers and to the Internet.

Human Computer Interaction Laboratory

This laboratory, available to be named after a major supporter, is equipped with computer controlled instrumentation equipment and software. It supports National Instrument's Labview as well as HP's VEE software. In this lab, studies will be conducted to develop user-friendly hardware/software interfaces and/or systems which allow a user to perform tests and measurements in their laboratories remotely. Other areas of study which will be conducted in this laboratory are user-friendly graphic design and distributed computing.

Software Engineering Laboratory

This laboratory, available to be named after a major supporter, provides computers and software that support a range of software projects as well as undergraduate and graduate instruction in software engineering. For each computer there is a choice of standard operating systems and a selection of software including compilers, databases, and tools for graphics. The lab is configured to be used either for projects or for classroom instruction. One computer is connected to a large screen data projector and wireless keyboard and mouse for convenient instruction. All computers are networked to the Internet.

Electronics Laboratory

The electronics laboratory, available to be named after a major supporter, is equipped with function generators, oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, multimeters, power supplies, networked computers, soldering stations and necessary breadboards and electronic components. In addition, it is equipped with the spice, multisim and synopsys software.
The lab is used to provide fundamental as well as advanced instruction to undergraduate and graduate students in digital and analog electronics, VLSI design, embedded systems and computer architecture. In addition, students use these facilities to carry out their design projects and research.