Tiny things lead to big discoveries in the Electron Optics Facility that houses Titan, the ultra-sensitive microscope that analyzes materials at the atomic level. The Titan Themis Scanning Transmission Microscope, or S-TEM, has its own dedicated and stabilized space, complete with water-cooled temperature controls and back-up power. A powerful tool in an extensive array of electron microanalytical and X-ray instruments in Michigan Tech’s Applied Chemical and Morphological Analysis Laboratory (ACMAL), Titan is one of only two microscopes of its kind in the state of Michigan. In addition to high-resolution images, Titan can also perform fractional or chemical analysis. Its applications are useful in many research areas, including health, industrial, and technology. The electron optics facility is managed by Erico Freitas, a research scientist who runs the majority of samples but also trains students on how to use the equipment.
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Planting the Seeds of Research
Are you a:
- Tenured, tenure-track, or research faculty?
- Post-doctoral researcher?
- Michigan Tech staff member?
Are you planning to seek funds for research elsewhere, but require start-up money to develop your proposal?
If so, you are eligible to apply for Seedling Research Funding opportunities of up to $1,000.
The Applied Chemical and Morphological Analysis Laboratory (ACMAL) at Michigan Tech has set aside $4,000 to fund pre-proposal research. These funds are designed to be granted to those who need to do preliminary investigations and data collection, which will then be used to develop a proposal for research funding from another source.
The Department of Defense (DoD) announces the Fiscal Year 2023 Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP). I’m excited to share that the 2023 DURIP selections have been announced and our proposal for a new Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope is recommended for award. All indications are that it will be funded. Congratulations to Dr. Bruce Lee (PI), Dr. Paul Sanders, Dr. Trisha Sain, Dr. Kazuya Tajiri, and Dr. Stephen Techtmann. Once funded, the new instrument will be housed in ACMAL and available for use by the MTU research community.
The timing is still TBD but since the project should be completed within a year we are starting the planning process to finalize the equipment purchase. However, there is still an opportunity to add capabilities to the instrument, especially if cost share can be contributed. Some possible additions include: a windowless EDS detector for light element (including Li) analysis, tensile stage, cryo stage, etc.
Below is a summary of the capabilities of the proposed new SEM.
Summary of the Capabilities and Functions of the Proposed FE-ESEM
- Environmental or Variable Pressure Scanning Electron Microscope
- Field emission gun assembly with Schottky emitter source
- 20 V to 30,000 V
Resolution at 30 kV
- High-vacuum Mode: 1.0 nm (SED) and 2.5 nm (BSED)
- Low-vacuum Mode: 1.3 nm (SED) and 2.5 nm (BSED)
- Environmental Mode: 1.3 nm (SED)
- 20x to 1,000,000x in a single quadrant
Ulti Max 170 EDS
- Fast acquisition (quantitative > 400,000 cps and mapping > 1,000,000 cps)
- Operate at low beam current, minimizing beam damage (3.5–5 kV)
- High sensitivity for light element analysis
Symmetry S2 EBSD
- High-speed analysis (indexing > 4,500 patterns per second)
- High sensitivity >800 patterns per second/nA
- Operates at low beam currents
- In-situ experimentation up to 1,100°C
- Compatible with SE, BSED, EDS & EBSD detectors
Add Your Input
If you have any suggestions for capabilities or would like to discuss please contact Liz Miller by December 15th.
The Principal Investigator is Bruce Lee for research in additive manufacturing, materials development, and plastic waste recycling. The funding agency is the Office of Naval Research. DURIP is designed to improve the capabilities of accredited United States (U.S.) institutions of higher education to conduct research and to educate scientists and engineers in areas important to national defense, by providing funds for the acquisition of research equipment or instrumentation.
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:
- “Engineered Three-Dimensional Scaffolds Modulating Fate of Breast Cancer Cells Using Stiffness and Morphology Related Cell Adhesion” in IEEE Open Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology
- The Biomedical µDevices webpage
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
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