Author: Sue Hill

ACMAL Welcomes Erico T. F. Freitas

Research Scientist Erico T. F. Freitas has joined ACMAL and Materials Science and Engineering. He will manage the FEI 200kV Titan Themis STEM in ACMAL’s Electron Optics Facility. Freitas has experience in nanostructured materials characterization, with specialties in TEM, STEM, EELS, EFTEM, EDX, and electron diffraction.

Freitas worked previously in the multiuser electron microscopy facility managing the TEM at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil.


ACMAL Holiday Schedule

ACMAL will have limited hours over the upcoming holiday break. 
The university will be closed on Dec 23 through Jan 1.  The building will be locked on those days. Unrestricted users will have unlimited access to the building and labs.  Restricted users have access during the other days.  We ask that newly trained users make appointments during the period so someone is near in case there are troubles.

Dr. Ed Laitila and Liz Miller will be out the entire 2 week period.  Dr. Tim Leftwich, Josh King, Kyle Hrubecky, and Aleister Kerr will be available by appointment.

If there are problems contact us.  Our contact information is:

Liz: 906-370-6538
Ed: 906-369-2041
Aleister: 520-576-3557
Josh: 404-808-2803
Tim: trleftwi@mtu.edu

Happy Holidays,

Elizabeth Miller


Who is Imaging Hemolysin X Treated Red Blood Cells at Michigan Tech?

The Laboratory of Mechanistic Glycobiology research group, led by Dr. Tarun Dam, is studying how the function of biomolecules from plant cells translates to human cells. Hemolysin X is a biomolecule that can disrupt and disintegrate cell membranes. The image above depicts how Hemolysin X systematically disintegrates a red blood cell.  The research group is looking into how this molecule reacts with other types of mammalian cells, including cancer cells.

Image taken by Jared Edwards, Chemistry PhD candidate, on ACMAL’s Hitachi S-4700 FE-SEM.

Learn more about the Laboratory of Mechanistic Glycobiology research group: Laboratory of Mechanistic Glycobiology

Visit the Applied Chemical and Morphological Analysis Laboratory’s webpage to learn more about our shared facility and instruments available to the Michigan Tech research community: ACMAL


Who is Imaging Electrospun Polycaprolactone Fiber Scaffolding at Michigan Tech?

Dr. Smitha Rao, assistant professor for Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Tech, and the Biomedical µDevices research team developed a way to be able to observe how breast cancer cells grow and migrate in various environments. The project developed scaffolding systems that mimic structures that could be found in human tissue. They engineered three polycaprolactone scaffold structures to test different topographical and mechanical features: hexagonal, mesh-like and aligned.

The image was taken by Dr. Smitha Rao’s graduate and undergraduate students using ACMAL’s Hitachi S-4700 FE-SEM.

Read more about Dr. Rao and the Biomedical µDevices research team’s work:

Visit the Applied Chemical and Morphological Analysis Laboratory’s webpage to learn more about our shared facility and instruments available to the Michigan Tech research community: ACMAL

If you have you have an image you would like to be featured, submit it here:

ACMAL Blog Submission


New Remote Teaching and Research Capabilities

Over the past year, several ACMAL labs have been equipped with new software and cameras for improved remote teaching and research! These new remote capabilities allow for live/recorded demonstrations to be shared with large classes or for research clients and to view live data collection.

Below are descriptions of these instruments and laboratories affected:

FEI 200kV Titan Themis Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope (STEM)

The STEM is Michigan Tech’s newest electron microscope addition that has atomic resolution imaging capabilities. The instrument has the following capabilities and modes: conventional TEM mode, scanning TEM mode, electron energy loss spectroscopy, energy filter TEM, high angle annular dark field, ChemiSTEM, Super-X Energy Dispersive X-Ray, and nanometer scale tomography. 

New remote capabilities include:

  • Zoom screen-share from both the TEM laboratory web camera and instrument control monitors
  • Huskycast (Panopto) recording of lab space, TEM lab camera, and instrument control monitors

Learn more about the STEM: ACMAL – FEI 200kV Titan Themis STEM

Contact Elizabeth Miller (eafraki@mtu.edu) for more information.

FEI Philips XL 40 Environmental Scanning Microscope (ESEM)

The ESEM can be used to image a wide range of material types at a microscale including hydrated, contaminated, organic, or inorganic samples. This microscope itself has several modes and features that make it a flexible instrument for any research needs: SE/BSE imaging, thin window EDAX EDS, electron backscatter diffraction, high and low vacuum modes, and hot or cold stage options.

New remote capabilities include:

  • New laboratory web camera
  • Zoom screen-share abilities from both the microscope control and AzTEC analysis computers
  • Remote technical assistance with Raritan DKX4-101 KVM-over-IP
  • Remote operation with Raritan DKX4-101 KVM-over-IP

Learn more about the ESEM: ACMAL – FEI Philips XL 40 ESEM

Contact Elizabeth Miller (eafraki@mtu.edu) for more information.

X-Ray Facilities: Scintag XDS2000 Powder Diffractometer and Scintag XDS-2000 PTS

ACMAL’s X-ray facilities (XRF) has instruments capable of performing x-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses on both powder and solid samples. Sample data such as present phases, lattice parameter, percent crystallinity, and texture analysis can all be found using MTU’s Scintag XDS2000 Powder Diffractometer and Scintag XDS-2000 PTS XRD instruments. These instruments have the following features to expand the types of samples that can be analyzed: zero background sample holder, custom powder sample holders, custom irregular shaped solid holder, custom liquid holder, ICDD-JCPDS database, and Anton-Paar high temperature stage.

New remote capabilities include:

  • New cameras installed in both the instrument lab and sample preparation lab.
  • Huskycast (Panopto) recording for both cameras and lab computer monitors.
  • Zoom sharing available in both labs and computer monitors.

Learn more about X-ray facilities: ACMAL – X-Ray Facilities

Contact Dr. Edward Laitila (ealaitil@mtu.edu) for more information.


Postdoctoral Scientist: STEM Specialist

Michigan Tech and the Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) department seek a postdoctoral scientist to serve as a specialist in the operation and application of an FEI Titan Themis Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope (STEM) and its associated attachments for interdisciplinary users across campus as well as potential users external to campus.

Learn More and Apply


Recent Advances in ACMAL STEM Facility on January 22

Pinaki Mukherjee
Pinaki Mukherjee

Join us for the first seminar of the Spring Semester at 1 p.m. Friday (Jan. 22) via Zoom (passcode 645507).

Pinaki Mukherjee (MSW) will present ” Recent Advances in ACMAL STEM Facility.” This talk presents an overview of state-of-the-art capabilities of the aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope (ac-STEM) at ACMAL, Michigan Tech.

Mukherjee joined Michigan Tech in January of 2018. He obtained his PhD in Materials Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He worked as a post-doctorate researcher at Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey. He was an affiliate of the National Center for Electron Microscopy, at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory.


Job Opening for Director of ACMAL

Director Applied Chemical and Morphological Analysis Laboratory

Position is Closed

Apply now

Job No: 20043
Department: Materials Science and Engineering
Work Type: Staff Full-time
Location: Main Campus (Houghton, MI)
Full Time / Part Time: Full Time
Categories: Management, Sciences

Michigan Tech seeks a director of its Applied Chemical and Morphological Analysis Laboratory (ACMAL). ACMAL is an interdisciplinary, university shared user facility that manages a suite of high-end structural characterization facilities including SEM (3 units), STEM (FEI Titan Themis), FIB, XPS, AFM, XRD, XRF, and associated sample preparation facilities. The director manages the access and operational procedures, coordinates maintenance, oversees the personnel needs of the facility, interfaces with the campus-wide user community, coordinates user training, and leads or participates in efforts to expand capabilities and use. The Director will have a staff appointment in the Materials Science and Engineering Department, who manages the facility in behalf of the university.

The ideal candidate will have extensive experience in the operation of electron-based imaging and analytical techniques in a research environment, be familiar with shared user-oriented facility model, demonstrated managerial skills, and a positive attitude compatible with providing efficient and high quality service to the university research community. A degree in the physical sciences, or engineering, or applied technology discipline is preferred.

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer that provides equal opportunity for all, including protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

View the Job Description