Caltech Painter Lab

Location

Pasadena, CA

Owner

California Institute of Technology

Architect

CO Architects

Project Size

2,000 SF

Alongside long-time collaborator CO Architects, MATT’s team worked 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 houses the main lab section, a clean room and a service chase that stores specialty gas and water handling equipment. The team installed special electromagnetic shielding to protect sensitive nanotechnology handled inside the lab from interference by external electrical wires. They also used 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 contains a clean room with two service chases. Like typical scientific clean rooms, it utilizes HEPA filters to keep the area sanitized. It also incorporates 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 employed standard sound and dust mitigation measures to minimize disturbance to surrounding spaces.