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The Beckman
Institute is a barrier-busting,
interdisciplinary
research facility
and community
of innovation.
The Beckman Institute is a barrier-busting, collaborative
research facility
and community of innovation.

We Break Barriers.

The Beckman Institute was created to support interdisciplinary research among University of Illinois faculty. We foster scientific advances that couldn’t be done in any other way.
Our founder, Arnold Beckman, was an inventor and philanthropist who knew firsthand the power of interdisciplinary work.
The Beckman Institute is a barrier-busting, collaborative
research facility
and community of innovation.

We Propel Science and Technology.

The Beckman Institute is a unique engine for research. We're making incredible advances while helping ordinary people.
The Beckman Institute is a barrier-busting, collaborative
research facility
and community of innovation.

We Help You Connect.

We offer a café with drinks and daily specials, events from concerts to research lectures, and plenty of study and meeting spaces.
The Beckman Institute was built to help people connect. Learn more about exploring Beckman.

Latest news

Upcoming events

Impact of Fluid Viscoelasticity on Crystal-like Structure Formation in Microfluidic Flows: Fundamentals and Applications

Beckman Institute Room 3269 (3rd Floor Tower Room)

Contact name: Erica Malloch
Contact email: emalloch@illinois.edu

Abstract:

Impact of Fluid Viscoelasticity on Crystal-like Structure Formation in Microfluidic Flows: Fundamentals and Applications

Crystals are defined as homogeneous pieces of solid substance having a natural geometrical regular form with symmetrically arranged planes. The term crystal has seen a substantial evolution over time, and nowadays, it refers to systems, either liquid or solid, that display a certain degree of regularity or order. In this context, microfluidics emerged as a very suitable field to enable the formation and the study of crystal-like structures owing to the possibility of controlling fluid and solid elements at the sub-micrometre scale. Crystal-like structures in microfluidic devices, hereafter microfluidic crystals, can either be formed thanks to external fields (e.g., electric or magnetic field) or because of hydrodynamic interactions among the different objects forming the crystal. To experience hydrodynamic interactions, the objects need to ‘feel’ each other, meaning that the local concentration should be sufficiently large to enable hydrodynamic interactions to take place. In such conditions, hydrodynamic interactions can promote the self-assembly of individual objects in crystal-like structures depending on several parameters such as channel geometry, fluid properties, and flow rate. Here, we show how fluid viscoelasticity impacts two classes of microfluidic crystals, namely droplet-based and particle/cell-based crystals. For droplet crystals, we discuss how non-Newtonian fluid behaviour leads to different droplet formation dynamics depending on whether the viscoelasticity is in the continuous or the dispersed phase. For particle/cell crystals, we show how, even for bulk particle concentration well below 5% in volume (i.e., in the established "dilute regime"), hydrodynamic interactions in microfluidic flows are non-negligible, and fluid viscoelasticity mediate such interactions with resulting crystal depending upon the rheology of the suspending liquid. Finally, we show how the two forms of crystals can be combined together in the context of particle compartmentalisation to "beat" the Poisson stochastic limits in encapsulation applications. We provide future directions for use in the broad field of material science, biomedical engineering, and biology.

Brief Biography:

Dr. Francesco Del Giudice, a recognised Chartered Chemical Engineer and Scientist, leads the Rheological Microfluidic lab at Swansea University Bay Campus. His expertise in Microfluidics and Soft Matter has led to innovative solutions, such as improving the encapsulation of flowing particles using viscoelastic flows in microfluidic devices. His team has also developed microfluidic techniques to evaluate rheological parameters not measurable via conventional techniques. Francesco has a long-term vision of challenging the status quo by introducing disruptive technologies and methodologies across a broad range of fields. We are exploring new methodologies for manufacturing materials, while tackling some fundamental questions in multiphase microfluidic flows. We are also implementing machine learning within microfluidic applications. We are also interested in solving new and exciting problems across the broad spectrum of Soft Matter and polymer physics. Francesco has several roles across national and international institutions, including Functional Chartered Member of the IChemE, ICP Panel member of the IChemE, Council Member of the British Society of Rheology, and core member of the Institute of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics.

Read more

Gather in the Garden

Beckman Institute Center Atrium

Contact name: Mollie Stevens
Contact email: mollie@illinois.edu
Contact phone: 217-244-2603

Join members of the Beckman community for informal conversation and coffee in the atrium!

Brain Plasticity Associated with Motor Training and Learning in Middle-aged and Older Adults

Beckman Institute Room 4269 (4th Floor Tower Room)

Contact name: Bill Mullins
Contact email: wmullins@illinois.edu

Enhancing Brain Health: Motor Interventions and Brain Plasticity in Aging

Pei-Fang Tang, PhD PT, Professor

School and Graduate Institute of Physical Therapy, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University 

Maintaining cognitive function in aging populations is crucial. Our research explores how motor learning and exercise impact brain plasticity in middle-aged and older adults with and without cardiovascular risks. We use brain imaging to study the brain and behavioral effects of engaging in a visuomotor tracking task and Tai Chi Chuan (TCC), aerobic, and stretching exercises. Studies revealed that exercise promotes specific brain activation and brain volume, and in some cases, white matter integrity changes are associated with improved behavioral performance. Notably, pre-existing good white matter integrity benefited cognitive gains from TCC. These findings suggest motor interventions can enhance brain health and cognitive function in middle[1]aged and older adults, even in people who are at higher risks of brain degeneration. We're further exploring the use of non-invasive brain stimulation to potentially boost these benefits in the aging population and patients with stroke.

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Yoga at Beckman

Beckman Institute Room 5269-5th Floor Tower

Contact name: Elena Romanova
Contact email: romanova@illinois.edu

Join us at noon on Wednesdays for yoga with a view! All sessions are free and will be held in Beckman's fifth-floor tower room. All are welcome to bring their own mat! 

Gather in the Garden

Beckman Institute Center Atrium

Contact name: Mollie Stevens
Contact email: mollie@illinois.edu
Contact phone: 217-244-2603

Join members of the Beckman community for informal conversation and coffee in the atrium!

Yoga at Beckman

Beckman Institute Room 5269-5th Floor Tower

Contact name: Elena Romanova
Contact email: romanova@illinois.edu

Join us at noon on Wednesdays for yoga with a view! All sessions are free and will be held in Beckman's fifth-floor tower room. All are welcome to bring their own mat! 

Gather in the Garden

Beckman Institute Center Atrium

Contact name: Mollie Stevens
Contact email: mollie@illinois.edu
Contact phone: 217-244-2603

Join members of the Beckman community for informal conversation and coffee in the atrium!

Beckman MSE Seminar on Mechanochemistry of Sustainable Materials Synthesis

Beckman Institute Room 3269 (3rd Floor Tower Room)

Contact name: Laura Thurlwell
Contact email: thurlwel@illinois.edu

Conventional reactions are mostly driven by heat, light, and electricity. They are named as thermochemistry, photochemistry, and electrochemistry, respectively. Likewise, chemical reaction, caused by mechanical actions, is defined as mechanochemistry, which delivers energies required to overcome reaction barriers via abrasion, friction, cracking, colliding, and so on. The most representative tool for operating mechanochemistry is ball-milling, which can offer a new avenue for sustainable materials synthesis, including (1) single atom catalysts (SACs) from bulk metal balls, (2) methane from char coals, and (3) ammonia from nitrogen. Various SACs can be produced by a top-down mechanochemical abrasion method, in which the bulk metal balls (single atom percussors) are directly atomized onto different substrates, such as carbon frameworks, oxides, carbides, and nitrides.

1

Carbon frameworks, such as char coals in the presence of hydrogen (carbon hydrogasification), can also be efficiently converted into methane via mechanochemical ball-milling.

2

The rate of carbon hydrogasification is four orders of magnitude higher than the conventional thermochemical method. Furthermore, ammonia has mainly been produced by the Haber-Bosch process over 110 years. However, it cannot be performed under mild conditions, because of thermodynamic reasons. We have discovered a new method for the synthesis of the ammonia under mild conditions (45 °C and 1 bar) via mechanochemical ball-milling iron (Fe) catalyst in the presence of nitrogen and hydrogen.

3

With this new process with potassium (K) promoter, the final concentration of ammonia have reached as high as 94.5 vol%,

4

which is nearly 4 times higher than the state-of-art Haber-Bosch process (~25 vol%) under harsh conditions (450 °C and 200 bar). Stable nitrogen dissociation at the mild conditions is associated with mechanochemically induced high defect density and violent mechanical actions on the Fe catalyst.

5

Read more

Yoga at Beckman

Beckman Institute Room 5269-5th Floor Tower

Contact name: Elena Romanova
Contact email: romanova@illinois.edu

Join us at noon on Wednesdays for yoga with a view! All sessions are free and will be held in Beckman's fifth-floor tower room. All are welcome to bring their own mat! 

Gather in the Garden

Beckman Institute Center Atrium

Contact name: Mollie Stevens
Contact email: mollie@illinois.edu
Contact phone: 217-244-2603

Join members of the Beckman community for informal conversation and coffee in the atrium!

Yoga at Beckman

Beckman Institute Room 5269-5th Floor Tower

Contact name: Elena Romanova
Contact email: romanova@illinois.edu

Join us at noon on Wednesdays for yoga with a view! All sessions are free and will be held in Beckman's fifth-floor tower room. All are welcome to bring their own mat!