Facilities & Equipment

State-of-the-art equipment for cutting-edge research

  • Core Logger
    Core Logger   A Geotek Multi-Sensor Core Logger allows VIMS researchers to efficiently and accurately analyze seafloor sediment cores. These cores can provide a long-term environmental history of an area.  
  • Box Corer
    Box Corer   VIMS researchers deploy a box corer.  
  • Sediment Corer
    Sediment Corer   Graduate student Patrick Dickhudt prepares to take a sediment core from the York River.  
  • Sediment Cores
    Sediment Cores   Undergraduate interns Cielomar Rodriguez (University of Puerto Rico) and Laura Twichell (Swarthmore College) extract a sediment core during a research cruise on the York River.  
  • Wave Model
    Wave Model   This image shows the simulated effects of an island (small gray ovoid in lower center) on calculated wave height in the vicinity. Note how waves refract around the island.   Image and model by Dr. Jerome Maa of VIMS.
  • Ice Coring
    Ice Coring   Professor Rebecca Dickhut (L) extracts an ice core during her study of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Antarctic ice.  
  • Radioisotopes
    Radioisotopes   VIMS graduate student Andrew Wozniak measures organic carbon in the lab.  
  • Survey Equipment
    Survey Equipment   Graduate students Jennifer Miselis (L) and Grace Browder set up survey equipment to help monitor shoreline change on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  
    BASIR   VIMS graduate student Kate Brodie performs a radar survey of the beach near Duck, NC. The Bar and Swash Imaging Radar (BASIR) unit (silver box) sits atop the Kubota all-terrain vehicle.  
  • Chirp Outrigger
    Chirp Outrigger   VIMS graduate student Courtney Schupp (L) helps deploy a CHIRP sub-bottom profiler as part of a USGS project to map the sediments and sub-surface geology of the North Carolina continental shelf. The outrigger frame offers a stable platform for the CHIRP instrument  
  • Chirp Sonar
    Chirp Sonar   Dr. Jesse McNinch (L) and graduate student Grace Browder (R) deploy a "chirp" sonar device to map the geology underlying the Outer Banks seafloor.  
    BASIR/LARC   BASIR (Bar and Swash Imaging Radar) can be mounted on different vehicles depending on beach and weather conditions. Here, BASIR sits atop its Kubota all-terrain vehicle, which in turn is being carried by a LARC (Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo) vehicle owned and operated by the Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility in Duck, NC. The LARC can go where the Kubota fears to tread.  
  • BASIR Data
    BASIR Data   VIMS graduate student Kate Brodie collects data from inside the BASIR unit while on the beach in Kitty Hawk, NC during Tropical Storm Noelle in November 2007. The computer screen shows a real-time map of waves breaking in the surf zone.  
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The Physical Sciences Department maintains state-of-the-art equipment for conducting high-quality field and laboratory research.

Major Field Equipment
  • Laser In-Situ Scattering and Transmissometry (LISST)
  • Sea-bed hydraulic flume
  • Meteorological station with a precipitation collector for low-level organic contaminants
  • High-volume air samplers
  • Rotating drum surface-microlayer sampler
  • Bottom-boundary-layer tetrapod systems for measuring bed stress, waves and currents, sediment resuspension, and bed-level changes.
Field Instrumentation
  • Tide gauges
  • Current meters
  • Conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) profilers
  • Fluorometers
  • Dissolved oxygen (DO) meters
  • Fathometers
  • Dual-frequency side-scan sonars
  • Variable frequency sub-bottom profiling systems
  • Directional wave gauges
  • Turbidity sensors
  • Acoustic doppler current profilers (ADCP)
  • Kasten and box corers

Microwave and GPS navigation systems are maintained by the department for accurate positioning of research vessels.

Laboratory Instrumentation
  • Europa isotope ratio mass spectrometer
  • Alpkem flow Solution 4 Autoanalyzer
  • Shimadzu TOC-5000 Carbon analyzer
  • Antek NOx analyzer
  • Microwave-assisted solvent extraction system
  • Large-capacity, refrigerated, programmable centrifuge
  • Ultra-cold (-80° C) freezers
  • Fisons EA1108 CHNS-O analyzer
  • UV/Vis spectrophotometer
  • Gas chromatographs with flame ionization and electron-capture detectors
  • 2 quadrupole mass spectrometers
  • Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrophotometer
  • EDS system with full SEM imaging capabilities
  • Powder X-ray diffractometer
  • Nitrogen adsorption surface area and porosity analyzer
  • CHNSO elemental analyzer
  • High-performance liquid chromatograph with UV absorbance and liquid
  • Scintillation detectors
  • 2 laboratory flumes (recirculating and annular)
  • 5 intrinsic germanium gamma spectrometers
  • 8-channel alpha spectroscopy system
  • X-ray radiography unit
  • Sedigraph automatic particle analyzer
  • Rapid sediment analyzer
Computers & Networking

Computer facilities range from laptop units for field use to work stations supporting LANs (local area networks) to the institute-wide network. Computer users have ready access to external networks. Pentium-PC, UNIX, and MacIntosh systems are supported by the Institute's computer center. The numerical modeling group is supported by a multi-processor Dec/Compaq/HP ES40.