Applied Research Building


The Applied Research Building (ARB) is a research facility that will expand UA’s capacity in the applied physical sciences and engineering.

The new ARB is envisioned to be a multi-story building that will be a "core facility" providing new and regionally unique capabilities for the University, while consolidating a number of strategic cross campus interdisciplinary programs in one location to meet current research needs while also providing flexibility for future endeavors.

The ARB will focus on applied research programs in support of the University's Strategic Plan, Pillar 2 - Grand Challenges. The building will have a mix of space types including high bay payload assembly areas, a large scale thermal vacuum chamber, varying types of laboratories, clean rooms, faculty offices, collaboration spaces, and conference rooms.

The ARB will be located at the southeast corner of Helen Street and the Highland Corridor. The Highland Corridor will be improved and realigned as part of this project to provide safer pedestrian and bicycle crossings at Helen Street.

Examples of research that will be located in the ARB:

UA’s Imaging Technology Laboratory (ITL) is a world-leading supplier of advanced scientific imaging sensors for the optical, UV, and X-ray spectral ranges. Currently located off campus, ARB will provide ITL additional space and cross-campus collaboration opportunities.  The most common applications for imaging technology are in the fields of astronomy, satellite imagery, laboratory chemical analysis, and machine vision applications. ITL also develops and supports camera systems used on all UA telescopes

Advanced manufacturing designs and constructs new composites and applies nanotechnology techniques to make existing materials stronger, lighter, cheaper and more energy efficient.  UA’s advanced manufacturing efforts also focus on on-demand 3D printing and additive manufacturing of aerospace parts. Additive manufacturing provides the ability to fabricate low-volume complicated, light-weight structures that cannot be made by conventional methods. Advanced manufacturing has important applications with regards to next generation combat vehicles and new hypersonic systems.

CubeSats, or nanosatellites, represent the next generation of spacecraft technology for space exploration and scientific investigation. Cubesats accelerate commercial and university innovation by reducing the cost of access to space, thereby expanding the range of missions and insights that are possible and enabling persistent Low Earth Orbit missions.

Balloon Payload Integration enables the building of stratospheric balloons.  These balloons are platforms that can often provide the same capabilities as satellite but at a much lower cost.  Like satellites, these platforms can carry complex instrumentation but do not require a launch vehicle and can sometimes be retrieved fully intact.  Missions that might be considered for a stratospheric balloon are earth observing, military sensor testing, and preparation for balloons on other planets.

The ARB will house the state-of-the-art equipment and technologies required to successfully carryout the research detailed above.  Although no classes will be taught in ARB, students will have access to researchers and facilities to conduct undergraduate and graduate research.


TV chamber is used to simulate environmental space conditions to test satellite and CubeSat performance.

An anechoic chamber is a non-reflective, echo-free room designed to completely absorb reflections sound and/or electromagnetic waves. It is a critical element of antenna testing for command and control and data relay purposes.

The high bay lab will be used for high altitude balloon, space ready payload missions and CubeSat design missions. An operable partition will allow two space missions to be built simultaneously, when the divider is retracted there will be capacity for up to three projects to be developed simultaneously.

The dynamic testing lab is one large testing lab with six stations that can each be set up to the precise needs of the component being tested: from very large objects such as an airplane wing to small objects such as sensors. Due to the nature of the testing, the overhead structure and floor slab require it to be isolated from the rest of the building.

Multiple adjacent clean rooms support the TV chamber on the first floor, and large laboratories are centrally located for instrument development and small-scale testing on the third floor.

The UA has obtained over $35 million in research funding over the last five years in the areas of imaging, space systems, advanced manufacturing, and sensors and has over $100 million in pending proposals.