The University of IowaAnnual Report 2008-09


Researchers scramble out of high-tech home

Chris Coretsopoulos, Microfabrication Laboratory director

IATL [Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories] is a very unique place on campus, because IATL allows us to have collaborators from physics, from electrical engineering, from chemistry, from chemical engineering, to have the people that you collaborate with right down the hall from you, not only down the hall from you but to actually know them and to have worked with them is a great experience.

We knew that the floodwater was rising. The thing that we didn’t realize at the time was that we had to be out by Friday morning on the 13th [of June]. We originally thought that we had until 5 o’clock the next day to leave the area. Because of that, some of the things that you might have wanted to do delicately you ended up having to do more harshly.

We were in the Chemistry Building that summer, and the problem in the Chemistry Building was that everywhere on campus we lost climate control. Experiments that we would have done at 40 percent relative humidity, dust free, mold free in the IATL…there was so much water in the air because we didn’t have any steam for the reheat that water was condensing on the windows of our lab and water was ruining some of the optics. Even the things that we evacuated ended up getting damaged because there was so much condensation. That’s not just for myself but for other labs as well.

I don’t think that most people had a specification that every large piece of equipment that weighs a ton must come with removable wheels and casters on it. Instead of having regular casework, I [now] have for the most part disposable casework that we ended up getting down at [UI] Surplus. Then the other thing I ended up doing was buying a lot of roller chests that the really expensive things or delicate things or personal things that people would use in the lab can be wheeled out right now.