Iowa State is the home of the Ames Laboratory, a national lab established and funded by the US Department of Energy. Its $30 million annual budget funds over 230 scientists. Many of the Iowa State chemistry faculty are directly affiliated with the Ames Lab and enjoy the unique collaborative environment of the national laboratory system. Laboratory facilities directly adjoin the main chemistry building making collaboration as easy as walking down the hall. Research super-groups commonly consist of chemists, physicists and engineers coupled together to solve modern problems in materials, catalysis, environmental management and computational science.
The Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) is developing the tools, components and materials needed to transform carbohydrate feedstocks into biobased chemicals. Core know-how and technologies include bioengineering of fatty acid and polyketide biochemistry in microorganisms, as well as an innovative and complementary portfolio of developments in chemical catalysis. By combining biocatalysis and chemical catalysis CBiRC creates new know-how and powerful systems that have the potential to nurture a sustainable biobased chemical industry. CBiRC believes it can enable the growth of the nascent biobased chemical industry with key biobased foundational intermediates that deliver an array of drop-in chemistry or similar functionality to existing fossil-carbon-based chemicals.
The Center for Catalysis (CCAT) facilitates interdisciplinary collaborations between chemists, physicists, biologists and engineers to address environmental, energy and health science issues through catalysis. The work in the center encompasses basic research in catalysis, laboratory-scale applications to synthetic problems, and industrial-scale targets for impacting Iowa and national commercial interests. A main goal of the members of the CCAT is the development of new sustainable processes and improving sustainability of current processes through green chemistry and engineering and lifecycle analysis. The CCAT also provides connections between scientists and engineers working on fundamental problems to groups seeking solutions to practical problems.
The W. M. Keck Laboratory for the Fabrication of Microminiaturized Analytical Instrumentation (Keck Lab), a part of Chemical Services, provides ISU with access to microfabrication technologies. With its approximately 1,000 square feet of class 10/100 clean rooms, the Keck Laboratory supports all phases of microfabrication and its use in fields ranging from analytical chemistry to cell biology. Drawing from affiliates across campus and its resident support staff, expertise in micromechanics, microfluidics, microchip arrays, biology, chemistry, physics and microelectronics can be integrated in translating research ideas into experimental reality.
Research capabilities in the laboratory include developing microanalysis systems, chip-scale chromatography, microelectrode assemblies, biochips and cell culture platforms. The laboratory currently houses equipment for optical lithography, surface metrology (stylus profilometry), wet chemical etching, and plasma etching. The facility will soon expand to include wire bonding, thin film deposition and dry chemical etching capabilities.