Caltech Painter Lab


Pasadena, CA


California Institute of Technology


CO Architects

Project Size

2,000 SF

Alongside long-time collaborator CO Architects, MATT’s team is working with Caltech’s Oskar Painter, the John G. Braun Professor of Applied Physics and Physics, to design-build a laboratory facility for his Quantum Photonics Group. The Group’s research agenda includes exploring frontiers in the atomic physics and quantum properties of nanoscale mechanical structures that could revolutionize the world of supercomputing.

The third-floor area will house the main lab section, a clean room and a service chase that stores specialty gas and water handling equipment. The team is installing special electromagnetic shielding to protect sensitive nanotechnology handled inside the lab from interference by external electrical wires. They are also using low-impedance grounding, distinct from the house grounding, to minimize bounce back. Additionally, the lab features an isolation transformer to separate the electrical system within the lab from external systems.

The basement zone will contain a clean room with two service chases. Like typical scientific clean rooms, it utilizes HEPA filters to keep the area sanitized. It will also incorporate a vinyl, electrostatic dissipative floor to address the risk of static discharge and protect the equipment. Both labs require special acoustical and vibrational specifications due to the sensitivity of tiny components to sound.

Working inside an occupied building, the team is employing standard sound and dust mitigation measures to minimize disturbance to surrounding spaces. The third floor space is due to be completed by mid-September, the basement lab one month after that.