UC Irvine TEM Facility
Irvine, Calif.
Best Project

Owner: UC Irvine Design and Construction Services
Lead Design Firm: Carrier Johnson + Culture
General Contractor: PCL Construction Services Inc.
Civil/Structural Engineer: DCI Engineers
MEP Engineer: Critchfield Mechanical (Mechanical Only)
Electromagnetic Shielding: Field Management Services
Passive Vibration Isolation Technology: Minus K Technology
Acoustic/Vibration Consultants: Veneklasen and Associates; Vibrasure Consulting Engineers

The transmission electron microscopes at the University of California, Irvine, are delicate instruments, vulnerable to noise, vibration or electromagnetic fields. Such instrument sensitivity made converting the university’s engineering classrooms into a transmission electron microscopy (TEM) facility a daunting task.

Best Projects judges confessed to being overwhelmed by the complexity of the $6.5-million project and the high tolerances required in the designs. The team recruited the design-builders who created the original campus building so project designs could be coordinated with existing systems.

The 6,500-sq-ft facility contains four imaging suites, each designed to isolate stray movements, noise and vibrations from the microscope. Engineers physically isolated each instrument room slab from the existing building’s structure and shielded each instrument room to protect the microscope from electromagnetic fields. Extensive planning and regular meetings helped workers safely perform high-risk tasks such as welding overhead shielding or installing a vibration-canceling table.

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