Tarabara Research Group




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 a controlled temperature room.

Shared use instruments managed by our group

Photo source: biolinscientific.com

Quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D; Biolin Scientific)
QCM-D (model Q-Sense E4) is a real-time analytical instrument for measuring mass and viscoelastic properties of layers as they build up or change on the sensor surface. The frequency of the crystal's oscillation changes as the mass on the sensor changes. Turning off the voltage causes the oscillation to decay. The decay rate (dissipation factor) is related to the elasticity and viscosity of the molecular layer on the sensor.

To schedule training on the equipment or to reserve instrument time please send an email to Dr. Tarabara (tarabara@msu.edu)


Particle sizer and surface characterization instruments

Rame-Hart goniometer
Photo source: ramehart.com

Goniometer / Tensiometer (rame-hart instrument)
The rame-hart standard goniometer/tensiometer (model 250-F4) can be used to measure surface tension, interfacial tension, surface energy, and contact angle. Surface and interfacial tension measurements are performed using the pendant or sessile drop methods. A camera (U1 Series SuperSpeed) captures drop's size and shape and the software (DROPimage Advanced v2.6) interprets the data to calculate the surface tension based on Young-Laplace equation. Surface tension measurements are later used as an input in the software to calculate interfacial tension, surface energy, and contact angle.


Photo source:

Particle size and zeta potential analyzer (Brookhaven Instruments)
Brookhaven 90Plus instrument includes dynamic light scattering (DLS) and zeta potential analysis functionalities. DLS is used to determine the size distribution of small particles (down to 1 nm diameter) such as emulsion droplets, micelles, polymers, proteins, nanoparticles and colloids. A laser beam illuminates through the sample and the fluctuations of scattered light induced by the particles are detected and analyzed by a fast photon detector to yield the dynamic information about the particles. All the samples are required to filter through a 200 nm filter. A series of sample dilutions maybe necessary to ensure a particle concentration in the count rate range from 50 -500 kcps. Background electrolyte (typically 10 mM KCl or KNaO3) is added to the sample to remove the layer of organized solvent that surrounds particles and can confound size determination. ZetaPALS is used to measure zeta potential of particles in the size range from 2 nm to 30 microns using Phase Analysis Light Scattering (PALS) that is almost 1000-fold more sensitive than the traditional electrophoretic light scattering. The instrument can measure zeta potentials of particles close to the isoelectric points (IP) in various liquids (e.g. water, other polar liquids, solvents, oily or viscous fluids). All samples should be pre-filtereted through a 200 nm pore size filter.

Malvern Mastersizer
Photo source: malvern.com

Mastersizer 2000 (Malvern Instruments)
The Mastersizer 2000 particle size analyzer relies on light diffraction to measure the intensity of light scattered as a laser beam passes through the sample. Using Mie and Fraunhofer theories, the built-in software calculates the size of the particles suspended in the sample, taking particles's refractive index as an input. During the measurement, the sample is continuously circulated through the optical cell of the particle sizer using the sample dispersion unit (Hydro SM, Malvern). The Mastersizer 2000 software outputs a volume-based size distribution. The instrument can measure particle size distributions in the 20 nm to 2000 micron size range and can accurately measure distributions for polydisperse suspensions. It also provides a limited capability for the measurement of fractal dimensions of particle aggregates.


EKAPhoto source: anton-paar.com

Electrokinetic analyzer (Anton-Paar)
Electrokinetic anayzer (EKA) is used to measure zeta potentials at the solid/liquid interface of a solid macroscopic samples based on the streaming potential (streaming current) method. The analyzer is equipped with a rectangular cell and a clamp cell. The clamping cell provides the advantages for measurement of samples in different shapes and thickness. It does not require cutting a sample specimen before measurement. In combination with a remote titration unit, the EKA automatically measures zeta potentials as a function of pH and thus to determine the isoelectric point of a sample.


General purpose instruments

Photo source: xylemanalytics.co.uk

Total organic carbon analyzer (OI Analytical)
The total organic carbon (TOC) analyzer (O·I·Analytical; model Aurora 1030) uses heated persulfate wet oxidation technique to analyze organic contamination levels in liquid samples. The system determines TOC by measuring carbon dioxide released by chemical (sodium persulfate) oxidation of the organic carbon in the sample. Prior to TOC analysis, inorganic carbon is removed by addition of phosphoric acid into sample and sparging acidified sample with inert gas stream. The TOC measurement range is 10 ppb to 30,000 ppm. The instrument is equipped with 1088 Rotary Autosampler, which could process 88 samples at a time for fully automated operation and ATOC software, which provides easy and semi-automated reporting.

UV/vis photodiode array spectrophotometer (Shimadzu; model MultiSpec 1501)
Horn sonicator
Photo source: unisense.com

Unisense Microsensor Multimeter

The Unisense micrometer

  • amperometric sensors (O2, NO, H2, H2S, N2O, NOx-)
  • potentiometric sensors (pH and Redox)
  • temperature sensor
Photo source: micronit.com

Droplet generator (Micronit)
The microfluidic droplet generator creates highly defined and reproducible microsized bubbles and droplets at user defined production rates. This tool generates droplets with higher precision compared to conventional methods. With the T-junction design, typical droplet generated are from 10 to 500 microns in diameter. The T-junction microfluidic device consists of a single straight channel containing the continuous phase and a side channel from which the dispersed phase is injected into the flow as droplets. Oil-in-water droplets can be generated directly using the borosilicate glass chip whereas water-in-oil droplets are best produced in hydrophobic channels (coated glass).

Spin coater
Photo source: laurell.com

Spin coater (Laurell Technologies)
Spin processor (model WS-650-23), equipped with Spin 3000 software, creates uniform thin films on flat substrates. The processor can speed up to 12,000 RPM with an acceleration up to 13,000 RPM/sec. There is no requirement for calibration before measurement.

TOG/TPH analyzer
Photo source: spectrosci.com

Total oil and grease (TOG) and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) analyzer (Wilks Enterprise)

TOG/TPH analyzer (model InfraCal CVH) ...


UV disinfection chamber

The in-house built UV chamber

  • Lamps
  • Radiometer


Equipment for working with pathogens

Our laboratory is certified for biosafety level 2 work.

Biosafety cabinet
Photo source: labcompare.com

72" biosafety cabinet (Thermo Scientific 1300 Series)

The biosafety cabinet is certified annually.


Forced-air incubator (Fisher Scientific)
The incubator (model 11-690-650F) provides the optimal temperature and humidity for human cell culture and its maintenance, bacterial growth, human virus/bacteria propagation and infectivity assays.

Photo source: panasonic-healthcare.com

Autoclave (Panasonic MLS-3781L-PA)
Panasonic MLS-3781L top-loading portable autoclave (75 L effective capacity) is used to sterilize all equipment and materials for microbiology experiments and to treat biohazard waste for a safe disposal. The autoclave is certified annually.

Photo source: helabworldgroup.com

Centrifuge (Thermo Scientific)
Benchtop centrifuge (model Sorvall Legend XTR) can provide maximum RCF at 25314 g (depending on the rotor) and temperature ranging from -10 C to +40 C. The centrifuge is equipped with the AutoLockTM rotor locking system. Thermo Scientific Fiberlite Carbon Fiber Rotor is used in our lab to pellet cell, bacteria and virus as well as other abiotic agents.


Membrane fabrication equipment

Controlled temperature and humidity chamber

The chamber is used to cast membranes by wet and vapor-induced phase inversion methods.

Elcometer casting knives
Photo source: elcometer.com
Micrometric casting knives
Elcometer film applicator
Photo source: elcometer.com
Elcometer automatic film applicator


Membrane testing equipment

  NF/RO crossflow filtration 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.
Rame-Hart goniometer
Photo source: pall.com
Minimate Tangential Flow Filtration Systems
Rame-Hart goniometer
Photo source: sci.com.tr
Sterlitech HP4750 high pressure normal flow stirred membrane filtration cell
Rame-Hart goniometer
Photo source: emdmillipore.com
A variety of frontal filtration modules (Amicon 8010, 8200, 8400 stirred cells).
  Rotating membrane system

Frontal filtration with ceramic disks



  Hydracell diaphragm pump
  Moyno pumps
  High pressure peristaltic pumps
  Gear pumps


The laboratory also has a selection of support instruments and equipment including circulating chillers, mixers, bath sonicators, nutators/tumblers, viscometers, etc.

Automated data acquisition systems based on custom-written LabView codes for real-time recording of pressure, flow, temperature, turbidity values, etc are available.

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.



Environmental Engineering research laboratories located in the Engineering Research Complex (wing A) have the following analytical capabilities:

  • gas chromatography
  • mass spectrometry
  • high-pressure liquid chromatography
  • atomic absorption spectroscopy
  • inductively coupled argon plasma emission spectroscopy
  • ion chromatography
  • FTIR
  • fluorescence spectroscopy

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.