Our Origin Story

Discovery Teaching Labs - Our Story

Our story starts in 2015, when Quantum Design (QD) donated a PPMS® VersaLab® (a cryo-cooled temperature and magnetic field platform employing superconducting technology) to the physics department at University of California, San Diego. QD's initial goal was to partner with universities like UCSD to develop a teaching curriculum that leverages simple and "uncluttered" leading-edge technology to inspire students to learn in new and more meaningful ways. In exchange, the course professor was tasked with creating experiment modules demonstrating VersaLab's measurement options and core principles of experimental condensed matter physics. This effort enabled UCSD to significantly upgrade their curriculum and equipment, offering students an enhanced educational experience that emphasizes hands-on learning.

The success of this venture was verified by the enthusiastic reception from both students and educators alike which inspired us to donate more VersaLabs. In close succession, both Columbia University and California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM) were chosen.

Discovery Teaching Labs - Our Story

As before, the instrument was intended to be used in the education of undergraduate physics students. CSUSM in particular provided an opportunity to donate an instrument that students would normally never be exposed to during their education. Similar to UCSD, CSUSM developed new education modules, this time mostly provided by the students themselves, in addition to instructional videos showing how to perform various functions on the instrument.

During this time, we also enlisted additional professors of physics in Southern California to create experiment modules based on their experience and use of the PPMS platform.

Having multiple Education Labs enabled us to hone our goals, which were many:

These actions came to a satisfying and jubilant culmination at the grand opening celebration of the Teaching and Materials Discovery Lab at CSUSM in August 2023. It was there, when we finally were able to gather everyone involved and ask them about their experiences and impressions of this education initiative that we became truly aware of the magic that had occurred from this coalition of innovative and dedicated individuals, academic sponsors, and industry partners. The video showcases the broad impact this initiative had on students, teachers and employers in the San Diego community.

Discovery Teaching Labs - Learn About the CSUSM Story

But our job has only just started.

Now it is time to branch out and recreate this magic in new locations, both domestic and international.

Join us as we come together to improve hands-on experimental learning for ever more STEM students in the future.

Contact Us Now

Advisory Board

Randy Dumas, Ph.D., Applications Scientist at Quantum Design
Randy Dumas is an Applications Scientist at Quantum Design. He received his Ph.D. in 2009 from the University of California, Davis on the topic of reversal mechanisms in magnetic nanostructures. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden he studied next generation magnetic and spin wave based data storage and processing paradigms. Randy joined Quantum Design in August 2016 and his specialty lies primarily in magnetic characterization of both fundamentally interesting and technologically relevant materials.
Stephen Tsui, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics at California State University San Marcos
Stephen Tsui is an Associate Professor of Physics at California State University San Marcos. He received his Ph.D. in 2008 from the University of Houston where he investigated resistive switching phenomena. He joined the Cal State San Marcos faculty shortly thereafter and developed the first physics advanced laboratory class. In 2015, Stephen spent his semester sabbatical at Quantum Design to gain experience in magnetic measurements. A strong proponent of undergraduate research, Stephen currently works with students to investigate spin reorientation phenomena and frequently contributes Education Modules for the Quantum Design Education initiative.
Milton Torikachvili, Ph.D., Professor of Physics at San Diego State University
Milton Torikachvili is a Professor of Physics at San Diego State University (SDSU). He received his BS in 1972 from UFRGS in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and a Ph.D. in 1978 from the University of Campinas, also in Brazil. Following his Ph.D., Milton was first a postdoc and later a researcher at the University of California, San Diego until he joined SDSU in 1987. His research focuses on the properties of novel materials under extreme pressure, temperature, and magnetic field. He mentors his BS and MS students in the art and science of crystal growth, pressure measurement, data acquisition, and condensed matter physics. He is a frequent contributor to the Educational Modules being developed by Quantum Design.
Justin Perron, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics at California State University San Marcos
Justin Perron is an associate professor of physics at California State University San Marcos. He earned his Ph.D. from SUNY University at Buffalo in 2012 studying anomalous proximity effects in liquid helium near the superfluid transition. He then completed a three-year postdoc at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg Maryland before joining the physics department at CSUSM in 2015. Currently, along with his own research, he collaborates with undergraduate scholars on projects relating to silicon quantum electronic devices and their applications in quantum information science and metrology. He is also involved in efforts to incorporate quantum information science and technology into the undergraduate curriculum both at CSUSM and across the California State University system.
Chuck Cimino, Sr. Director of Measurement Instrumentation for Lake Shore Cryotronics
Chuck Cimino is the Sr. Director of Measurement Instrumentation for Lake Shore Cryotronics in Columbus (Westerville) Ohio. Having spent his career developing, marketing, and selling a wide range of high-precision electronic instrumentation, hardware, and software products, during the past 5 years he's been with Lake Shore Cryotronics he's been focused on helping to develop and commercialize Lake Shore's unique M81 SSM (Synchronous Source Measure) system. Lake Shore's partnership with the Discovery Teaching Labs initiative is an exciting opportunity to showcase its significant investments in new research-oriented instrumentation as well as Lake Shore's numerous business and technical collaborations with partner companies – all involved in advancing science through many best-in-world testing products and solutions. Chuck has a graduate degree in business from the Weatherhead School at CWRU in Cleveland Ohio in addition to his undergraduate electrical engineering degree.

Past Advisory Board Members >>

About Quantum Design

Since its inception in 1982, Quantum Design (QD) has developed and manufactured automated temperature and magnetic field testing platforms for materials characterization. These systems offer a variety of measurement capabilities and are in widespread use in the fields of physics, chemistry, materials science and nanotechnology. Quantum Design instruments are found in the world's leading research institutions, and have become the reference standard for a variety of magnetic and physical property measurements. QD instruments are cited in, and provide the data for, more scientific publications than any other instrument in the fields of magnetics and materials characterization. This means that each year, literally hundreds of scientific publications, advancing the science of materials, use data generated from QD instruments.

Quantum Design believes in the importance of innovations for educating tomorrow's scientists and engineers, especially in the fields of condensed matter physics, chemistry and materials science. Our primary goal is to teach students how to preserve and foster their magical curiosity and to learn how to express it creatively. This new website is part of an initiative between QD and leading universities to develop a teaching curriculum that exploits simple and "uncluttered" leading edge technology to inspire students to learn in new and more meaningful ways. Its purpose is to encourage the development and sharing of measurement curricula using our wide range of measurement options along with our PPMS® VersaLab® cryogenic platform. The teaching materials and sample experiments on this site are meant to provide instructors in physics and materials sciences readymade solutions to use in their undergraduate and beginning graduate classrooms and laboratories.

About Lake Shore Cryotronics

Serving the needs of the advanced scientific research community since 1968, Lake Shore is a leading global innovator in measurement and control solutions. Leading researchers around the world trust Lake Shore for measurement and control solutions that drive the discovery and development of new materials for tomorrow's technologies. In aerospace, high-energy physics, nanotechnology, and many other applications, Lake Shore provides the products and systems needed for precise measurements over a broad range of temperature and magnetic field conditions. Lake Shore has grown its product solutions to keep pace with evolving interests in scientific exploration, from the physics lab to deep space. Through our international technical service and sales teams, we foster a culture of collaboration and innovation, and a commitment to the pursuit of science.

This website may use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.
View our Privacy Policy.

I Understand