Tarabara research group
Environmental nanotechnology: membranes, particles, interfaces



Facilities in Dr. Tarabara's laboratory

Tarabara group has approximately 1,100 sq. ft. of laboratory space. In addition to stationary workbenches, the laboratory has four mobile reconfigurable experimental stations. There are also four stationary fume hoods, controlled temperature and humidity glove box with solvent resistant windows, and controlled temperature room.

Controlled temperature and humidity chamber is used to cast membranes by wet and vapor-induced phase inversion methods. Membranes are cast using micrometric casting knives mounted on the Elcometer automatic film applicator.

Membrane testing equipment includes:

  • Four stand-alone crossflow filtration systems:
    • NF/RO unit equipped with two high pressure SEPA CF II cells and currently used in a desalination project.
    • NF/UF/MF unit housed within a biosafety cabinet for virus separation work. A modified version of Sterlitech CF042 cross-flow membrane filtration cell is a part of this system.
    • NF/UF/MF unit for experiments with ceramic membranes. The unit is currently used in a project on photocatalytic membrane reactors for virus removal and inactivation.
    • Rotating flow/membrane unit for oil-water separation.
  • Sterlitech HP4750 high pressure normal flow stirred membrane filtration cell.
  • A variety of dead-end micro- and ultrafiltration modules (Amicon 8010, 8200, 8400 stirred cells).

Equipment for biosafety level 2 work includes 72" biosafety cabinet (Thermo Scientific 1300 Series), forced-air incubator (Fisher Scientific 11-690-650F), and an autoclave (Panasonic MLS-3781L-PA).

The group has following particle and surface characterization instruments:

  • Brookhaven ZetaPALS apparatus for the determination of particle size distribution (for particles in the size range of 2 nm to 3 micron) and zeta-potential of particles ( for particles in size range of 2 nm to 30 micron)
  • Malvern Mastersizer 2000 for particle size analysis of polydisperse suspensions and emulsions. This instrument also provides a limited capability for the measurement of fractal dimensions of particle aggregates.
  • Brookhaven EKA electro-kinetic analyzer for the determination of zeta-potentials of macroscopic surfaces (e. g. clean and fouled membranes). The analyzer is equipped with rectangular cell and a clamp cell.
  • Ramé-Hart Standard Goniometer / Tensiometer Model 250 for measurements of static and dynamic contact angle, surface energy, and surface tension.

The laboratory also has a selection of support instruments and equipment including pumps of different capacity, circulating chillers, Shimadzu MultiSpec 1501 photodiode array spectrophotometer, horn and bath sonicators. Automated data acquisition systems based on custom-written LabView codes for real-time recording of pressure, flow, temperature, turbidity values, etc are available.

Shared use equipment housed in the laboratory

Data acquisition and office computers

The Tarabara group utilizes a local area network in a Windows environment for data acquisition, transfer and analysis. There are 10 data acquisition PCs and 11 office PCs on the network.

Other facilities on campus

Environmental Engineering research laboratories located in the Engineering Research Complex (wing A) have the analytical capabilities to perform most environmental analyses. Capabilities include gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, high-pressure liquid chromatography, atomic absorption spectroscopy, inductively coupled argon plasma emission spectroscopy, ion chromatography, most other forms of light spectroscopy (UV, visible, FTIR, fluorescence), and numerous specialty analyzers such as total organic carbon.

Electron microscopy. The Center for Advanced Microscopy at MSU provides 24/7 access to scanning electron microscopes, transmission electron microscopes, and confocal laser scanning microscopes.

  • Available SEMs include JEOL 6610LV SEM with both low vacuum and high vacuum capability and JEOL 7500F high resolution SEM equipped with Energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer. JEOL 7500F is designed especially for the ultrahigh resolution imaging needs of nanotechnology research. It enables high quality imaging at magnifications up to 1,000,000X and is the highest resolution SEM in the State of Michigan.
  • TEMs include JEOL 2200 FS (for non-biological samples) and JEOL 100 CXII (for biological samples). Two ultramicrotomes - a MTX and PTXL with a CR-X cryo- sectioning unit for cryo-ultramicrotomy can be used for the microstructural analysis of samples such as as-prepared and fouled membranes.