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Case Study: Oak Ridge National Labs Advanced Materials Characterization Laboratory

Jeff Schantz, Jim Nicolow,and Larry Allard, Lord Aeck Sargent


At Oak Ridge National Labs, currently operated for the Department of Energy by UT/Battelle, Lord Aeck Sargent has designed the Advanced Materials Characterization Laboratory (AMCL). The companion building to the High Temperature Materials Lab (HTML), the AMCL will house the world's most powerful microscopes. These instruments include the Aberation Corrected Electron Microscope (ACEM), with resolutions to .5 Angstroms, the aberration-corrected VG-603 STEM presently under construction, and house six other selected microscopes that require optimal environmental conditions.

Other Facts:

  • Size about 10,000 square foot floor space
  • Estimated to cost $5 million
  • Be single story over the instrument labs
  • Be completed in Summer 2003, in time for delivery of the ACEM
  • Be designed for remote instrument operation and virtual tours

The building is being designed as an extension of the instruments, and will provide vibration, thermal, air movement, electromagnetic interference and acoustic isolation. More information can be seen at the ORNL web site at

This project has been designed in collaboration will Paula Logan, ORNL's LEED™ Engineer for LEED™ silver rating. DOE requires a LEED™ process for all projects. This project is the first project for ORNL to undergo an integrated design/on board review process for LEED™.


Jeffrey L. Schantz has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art, and a Master of Architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has over 16 years of experience designing education, research and science facilities for leading colleges and universities, research institutions, and biopharmaceutical clients. Prior to joining Lord, Aeck & Sargent, Jeffrey worked at Jenkins Peer Architects, Charlotte, North Carolina, Einhorn Yaffee Prescott, P.C., Albany, New York, and Ellenzweig Associates, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Jeff is currently employed as a Principal by Lord, Aeck & Sargent Architecture. He has served as Senior Project Manager and Principal in Charge on projects for bio-tech and pharmaceutical companies throughout the United States as well as for Oak Ridge National Labs, the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Jim Nicolow received his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan, and his Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan. Jim serves as a facilitator for the incorporation of integrative Sustainable Design strategies for Lord, Aeck & Sargent, as well as serving as the firm's environmental advocate, keeping us abreast of the latest Sustainable Design technologies and trends.

He is a "LEED™ 2.0 Accredited Professional" and has worked on a wide range of projects including educational and research facilities, student housing, historic rehabilitation and adaptive reuse for clients such as Oak Ridge National Laboratories, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Darton College and Georgia Institute of Technology. Jim is also a member of the Planning and Development committee, Winnona Park Neighborhood Association in Atlanta, Georgia.

Larry Allard is the user center leader. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan. He has studied numerous materials systems during his career, using primarily TEM. His professional interests include all aspects of EM, implementation of aberration correctors for TEM, and development of facilities for housing advanced microscopes. He is the primary technical contact for user activities in the MAUC.

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