The Carl-Friedrich Gauss Laboratory comprises one large outer room and two smaller rooms, under a common non-metallic roof. The outer area houses a wooden gantry, which can be moved on non-metallic rails over a 4m×7.5m soil pit; filled with clean sand in the current configuration. A low-metal x-y scanning frame permits computer-controlled scanning of sensors (up to about 10kg) in 1m2 portions over the pit at scan speeds of up to 0.5ms-1. The scanning frame specification for repeatable positioning is ±1mm. External users are able to mount their sensor systems on the scanning frame and test the capability for detecting targets in the soil pit. The outer area may be opened on three sides by means of sliding panels, for tests under prevailing environmental conditions, or closed for protection from the weather. The second room contains the control electronics and computer for the scanner and may be used as an office area. A third room (5m×5m) is available for smaller scale tests. The laboratory is lit through the transparent roof by external floodlights.
The facility is primarily designed to test metal detectors and radar sets and may also be used for infra-red sensors and multi-sensor systems. The fully non-metallic main building fabric gives the flexibility to configure the laboratory with as low a metal content as is appropriate for a project, by modification of the interior fixtures and fittings as necessary.