National Security Research

Texas Tech researchers are fully engaged in national security related research individually, with campus colleagues and in collaboration with other universities, as well as public, private, and non-profit agencies and organizations to solve some of the most pressing issues facing our country.


Pulsed Power & Power Electronics

Military forces are faced with new and unpredictable enemy attacks on the battlefield. Texas Tech University’s Center for Pulsed Power and Power Electronics utilizes its expertise in generating very high-power electrical pulses to provide troops on the battlefield with effective, innovative technology. Associated research covers the spectrum from basic physics to applied systems design.

  • A key focus of the center’s work is developing systems that can be used in the field to disable improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.
  • Researchers are creating compact systems that will be more manageable for troops in the field.
  • The center’s scientists focus on plasma, pulsed power and power electronics research involving high-power microwave generation, high-power switching, high-power advanced electrical and thermal packaging, and high bandwidth monitoring and control of electronic machines.
  • The center is one of the few university laboratories that educate students in the pulsed power field, with many graduates going on to work in national laboratories and for defense contractors.
Pulsed Power & Power Electronics

The Center for Pulsed Power and Power Electronics (P3E) has three primary research areas: Plasma, Pulsed Power and Power Electronics.

Center for Nanophotonics

The study of materials less than one-thousandth the width of a human hair is creating a new generation of lightweight, efficient, low-power, cost-effective devices that may have applications for the military, homeland security and civilians.

  • Researchers in the Center for Nanophotonics are working on the manipulation of photons and electrons in nano-scale materials. They are creating new materials to provide more efficient deep UV light-emitting devices and chip-scale sensors for medical diagnostics and treatment, water and air purification, and nuclear threat detection.
  • The center is developing novel nano-scale materials to provide improved solutions to solar energy conversion, hydrogen generation and energy storage.
Center for Nanophotonics

The center’s work ranges from basic to applied, and deals with state-of-the-art nano-scale material synthesis, fundamental physics, device fabrication and testing.

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Cyber Security

The rapidly increasing penetration of distributed renewable energy sources with electric grids and microgrids necessitates improved performance and safety of energy systems to manage power generation, transmission, distribution and delivery.

  • A real-time digital simulator under development at Texas Tech will integrate renewable energy sources, self-healing and cyber security capabilities.
  • Scientists are working to create a more efficient smart grid system and ensure that the transmission system is immune to a spectrum of threats ranging from malicious intrusions to pulsed power attack.
  • Researchers are addressing the critical cyber security issues associated with remote grid management.
Cyber Security

TTU's researchers are developing smart grid systems involving renewable energy sources that will help DOE meet its goal of 20% wind energy by 2030.

Energetic Materials

Texas Tech researchers are working to improve energetic material science for use in munitions development and consumer products. Breakthroughs in the technology of advanced munitions will ensure national security.

  • Researchers are developing new munitions using nanotechnology and larger-scale explosives.
  • New testing methods for evaluating controlled chemical energy experiments are being engineered.
  • Scientists are studying environmental impacts of new technologies and ways to produce greener munitions.
  • Researchers are synthesizing nano-energetics to improve the efficiency and safety of consumer products such as automobile air bags.
Energetic Materials

The TTU Combustion Laboratory research focuses on a wide range of projects from improving military weapon technology to consumer products.

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Center for Nanotechnology

  • The Center for Nanotechnology’s plasmonics research has produced an innovative imaging technique called plasmon tomography (PT), which allows the visualization of plasmon propagation, with sub-wavelength resolution, facilitating the design of plasmonic devices. PT serves as the basis for a new class of sensors.
  • Researchers have uncovered fundamental changes in charge and heat transport in nano-scale structures. Understanding such effects is crucial to proper thermal management in power electronics for energy conversion, consumer and defense electronics, and solid-state lighting.
Center for Nanotechnology

The center focuses on the growth of advanced semiconductor materials and the design and implementation of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS).

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The Institute of Environmental & Human Health

The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) is an interdisciplinary program that studies the toxic effects of chemicals on the environment and human health.

  • The Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. National Program for Countermeasures to Biological and Chemical Threats was established to create a multidisciplinary forum to address major national security issues.
  • TIEHH researchers, working in collaboration with colleagues in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, are developing technologies for the detection and mitigation of threats to humans, livestock and crops.
  • Scientists are working closely with the Department of Defense to examine and remediate the environmental impact of explosives testing.
  • TIEHH’s research produced Fibertect™, a decontamination wipe that is made up of two layers of nonwoven cotton with a layer of active carbon sandwiched between. Fibertect™ has received accolades from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Environmental Protection Agency, National Guard Magazine and Cotton Incorporated.
The Institute of Environmental & Human Health

The Institute of Environmental and Human Health positively impacts the future of our human and environmental condition.

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Water Policy & Resources

Texas Tech’s water-related programs cross multiple disciplines that focus on issues ranging from law and policy to augmentation of available water supplies to pollution reduction. The Center for Water Law and Policy in the Texas Tech School of Law answers the need for research and information about global water issues. The center is designed to develop opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration on legal and policy issues related to the use, allocation, management, regulation and conservation of fresh water resources.

  • The Water Resources Center in the Whitacre College of Engineering facilitates interdisciplinary research teams from several departments.
  • Recently, these teams developed new biological systems for recycling wastewater on long-term space missions for NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
  • Scientists have quantified the presence of perchlorate as a natural component in the hydrologic cycle, assisting the DOD, DOE, and EPA in pursuit of remediation standards for contaminated groundwater.
  • Researchers explored in situ biodegradation of explosive contaminants in soil and groundwater at the DOE’s Pantex Plant.
  • Researchers projected potential climate change impacts on municipal and agricultural water demands in the Texas High Plains.
Water Policy & Resources

TTU researchers and scholars focus water issues that encompass state, national, and international concerns.

Climate Science

Texas Tech plays a lead role in a consortium of universities, tribal nations and regional partners in the newly formed South Central Climate Science Center. The Department of Interior (DOI) funded center will address regional climate change challenges in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

  • Texas Tech takes a transdisciplinary approach to climate response by engaging researchers from the Colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and the School of Law.
  • Texas Tech produced the high-resolution climate projection dataset used for the 2009 U.S. Global Change Research Program assessment.
  • Texas Tech is developing a new database of updated projections for the U.S. Geological Survey to assess the impacts of climate change on water and other resources.
  • Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe contributed to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • Ecosystem scientist John Zak has worked with the National Park Service for more than 20 years to develop policies for Big Bend National Park to manage climate change impacts.
  • Faculty helped develop a forest management program in conjunction with the U.S. Army CERL for Ft. Benning, Georgia that addresses climate variability and disturbance.
  • Researchers are on the front lines of efforts to understand how vector-borne diseases will respond to climate changes in the South-Central Region.
  • Hayhoe is working with Argonne National Lab to assess projected climate change at Department of Defense installations.
Climate Science

TTU scientists have the expertise to address key aspects of climate research critical to developing sustainable policy and planning decisions.

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Texas Tech to Help Lead New Climate Science Center

Food Security

Livestock production has a $16 billion economic impact in the U.S. annually. About one-third of the nation’s beef cattle are fed within the Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico region. Foreign animal diseases and other emerging and resurgent diseases affecting both livestock and humans pose an increasing threat to the integrity and strength of the livestock industry, human health and our nation’s economy.

  • The Texas Tech Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) is focusing on developing technologies and applications to detect and identify the introduction of disease-causing pathogens into confined livestock operations whether through direct contact, contaminated feedstuffs or wildlife.
  • Eco-toxicological research at TIEHH includes technologies for the early detection of infectious disease-causing agents within animal feeding operations, as well as monitoring airborne biological agents occurring near facilities.
Food Security

Scientists are focused on developing ways to detect disease in livestock operations.

Food Safety

There are about 48 million cases of foodborne illness reported and more than 3,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. In developing countries, foodborne illnesses are the leading cause of childhood mortality. Texas Tech’s International Center for Food Industry Excellence is focused on making food safer for consumers through practical and experimental approaches that can be implemented in a variety of production settings.

  • Texas Tech researchers are working in the U.S., Mexico, Belize, Argentina, Honduras and France to develop and improve methods for pathogenic threat detection, and to make food safer through innovative changes in production and processing practices to prevent and remove contamination by pathogens.
  • The cattle industry is widely adopting interventions to eliminate food-borne pathogens that were critically evaluated or discovered in feed additives and vaccines by Texas Tech researchers.
  • State-of-the-art packaging methods have added value to existing products by extending shelf life. Data generated from Texas Tech’s work has been used to support industry needs before the USDA and the FDA.
Food Safety

TTU researchers develop and evaluate production, processing, and preparation methods of food products, from farm to table, to achieve a safer and more nutritious food supply.

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Wind Science & Energy

Texas Tech University has been a leader in studying the impact of wind on structures and human life for more than 40 years. Through the work of the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center (WiSE) and the National Wind Resources Center, Texas Tech also is a leader in wind energy research.

  • Texas Tech has signed a new agreement with Sandia National Laboratories to move a wind energy test facility to the university. Vestas, a leading wind turbine manufacturer also will be part of the facility.
  • Texas Tech’s wind energy researchers are working on better understanding turbine response, loading and performance; turbine to turbine interaction; wind flow; gear box failures; power electronics; and grid integration.
  • Researchers at WiSE study both tornado and hurricane winds. Texas Tech has pioneered above-ground storm shelters and developed Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) adopted regulations on household and community storm shelters and helped to establish stronger building codes.
  • Texas Tech offers one of the only doctoral programs in the country in wind engineering through WiSE and a bachelor’s degree in wind energy through the University College.
Wind Science & Energy

Agreements with Sandia National Laboratories and major wind turbine manufacturer Vestas will place TTU in a position to become a leader in wind energy research.

The Center for Environmental Radiation Studies

The Center for Environmental Radiation Studies (CERS) promotes research on the dispersion and biological/ecological effects of radiation, advises government agencies on means to reduce risks to human health and environmental contamination, and assesses and predicts the dispersion of radionuclides released by natural and man-made events. CERS provides expertise important to strategic planning for the state of Texas, U.S. homeland security and international nuclear safety.

  • CERS has led ecological and environmental research around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station in the Ukraine since 1992.
  • Researchers have an ongoing program evaluating the human impact of radiation released from the Al Tuwaitha Nuclear facility, south of Baghdad.
  • Texas Tech scientists serve as members of the United States Official Delegation to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, for advising the government of Iraq on characterizing and decommissioning former nuclear facilities.
  • CERS has assembled teams whose collective and individual works synthesize and integrate radiological, genetic, biological, and dosimetry information relevant to urban and rural settings contaminated with radiation.
  • Scientists are conducting research on the reconstruction of plume releases and movements of fallout in urban and rural environments.
The Center for Environmental Radiation Studies

Texas Tech Scientists have studied radiation release effects on humans and the environment from Chernobyl and Iraqi reactors.

The Center for Geospatial Technology

The Center for Geospatial Technology (CGST) at Texas Tech is nationally recognized as a leader in the development of geospatial data and mapping applications. Combining expertise in geographic information systems, remote sensing and global navigation satellite systems, research at the center is focused on a broad range of significant issues.

  • Over the past 10 years, the CGST’s multidisciplinary research programs have focused on developing data and mapping applications for natural resource management, regional economic development, rural health and emergency preparedness.
  • The center maintains a data clearinghouse for distributing detailed Texas statewide and county-level data. The center’s website serves as a gateway for the Digital Atlas of Texas Counties, the Texas Atlas of Rural and Community Health, and for accessing maps and data relevant to understanding the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer.
  • The center has extensive experience training first responders in the use of GPS, remote sensing and open-source mapping. Training exercises have included personnel from local agencies and members of the Texas State Guard.
  • CGST students have gone on to pursue successful careers in private industry and all levels of government, including careers in geospatial intelligence.
The Center for Geospatial Technology

The goal of the center is to promote and support applications of geospatial technology in interdisciplinary research, education, and community service.

Texas Tech Neuroimaging Institute

The newly formed Texas Tech Neuroimaging Institute (TTNI) gives researchers the ability to examine a multitude of areas including post-traumatic stress disorder, combat-related stress and meditation techniques for improving focus and performance in combat environments.

  • Yi-Yuan Tang, the center’s director, developed Integrative Body-Mind Training in the 1990s to look at improving self-regulation and reducing or preventing various mental disorders.
  • The 10,000-square-foot research facility provides brain and body imaging technologies, including structural resonance imaging (MRI) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), diffusion tensor imaging, and complex image analysis techniques, like multimodal data fusion of EEG, fMRI and DTI data. At the heart of the facility is the 3-Tesla, Siemens Skyra magnet that produces high-quality images of brain anatomy and brain function in rapid time.
  • A current project is using neuroimaging to examine how the brain operates in exceptional children, such as those with autism, ADHD or a variety of neuro-psychiatric disorders.
  • TTNI is allowing behavioral experts and neuroscientists to combine their expertise in projects such as how to treat fears and phobias in autistic populations, how to treat mood disorders using a novel and brief intervention and how to reduce mental fatigue and improve performance.
Texas Tech Neuroimaging Institute

The Texas Tech Neuroimaging Institute provides researchers with brain and body imaging technologies including structural (MRI), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), diffusion tensor imaging and techniques, including multimodal data fusion of EEG, fMRI, and DTI data.

High Performance Computing Center

The Texas Tech Information Technology Division has dedicated resources to support and facilitate the research mission at TTU through its High Performance Computing Center (HPCC). The HPCC provides computational and research resources for the TTU community, including several Linux clusters and a grid computing environment.

  • The HPCC has been ranked among the “Top 500 Supercomputing” facilities in the world since 2008. The center also ranks among the nation’s best. In November 2011, Texas Tech ranked 254 overall worldwide, No. 2 in the Big 12 conference, No. 17 among U.S. academic institutions and No. 53 in academic institutions worldwide.
  • HPCC’s primary computing resource, Hrothgar, was deployed in fall 2010 with 9,024 cores.
  • TTU partners with other state and national high-performance computing centers and initiatives such as the University of Texas TACC (Lonestar 4) and the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, providing researchers access to some of the world’s most advanced computing resources.
  • HPCC research associates and technical staff assist TTU faculty, researchers and students with software and hardware needs, teach parallel programming, and support the high-performance computing clusters for researchers.
High Performance Computing Center

The HPCC, ranking among the top supercomputing facilities in the world, provides computational and research resources to the university research community.

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