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 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
- 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.
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.
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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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
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.
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
- Scientists are studying environmental impacts of new technologies and ways to produce
- Researchers are synthesizing nano-energetics to improve the efficiency and safety
of consumer products such as automobile air bags.
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
- 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
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 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.
TTU researchers and scholars focus water issues that encompass state, national, and
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.
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.
Scientists are focused on developing ways to detect disease in livestock operations.
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
- 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.
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
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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
- 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.
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.
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 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
- 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.
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
- 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.
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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