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High-resolution Electron Microscope to Enhance Interdisciplinary Research and Education

September 10, 2008

Nanotechnology researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington will have a new and advanced tool to aid their experimental programs into nanomaterial synthesis, electronic materials and biomaterials, thanks to a $320,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and a matching $320,000 provided by the University. The Materials Science & Engineering Department at UT Arlington will acquire a high-resolution Transmission Electron Microscope capable of the atomic resolution required for structural and chemical characterizations of nanomaterials.

“Atomic resolution microscopy is indispensable for nanoscale research where fabrication technologies have entered into the sub-nanometer realm,” stated Dr. Efstathios Meletis, chair of the Materials Science & Engineering Department and the principal investigator in the newly- established, University-supported Characterization Center for Materials and Biology (CCMB).

The CCMB is a multi-user facility consisting of several state-of-the-art pieces of equipment, serving UT Arlington researchers and students, other universities and industry. It is currently equipped with three Scanning Electron Microscopes, including one for observing “wet” environmental and biological samples, a conventional Transmission Electron Microscope, and various other materials analysis tools. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy is the only known method of yielding images of the lattice structures of materials.

“This capability on the UT Arlington campus constitutes a cornerstone for interdisciplinary research in fields of critical technological importance to U.S. and Texas related to energy, health and the environment,” Dr. Meletis continued. “This new microscope, equipped with an energy-dispersive spectroscopy system, will allow us to improve the education of our undergraduate and graduate students and provide them the opportunity to acquire specialized skills needed in their careers.”

In addition, the C2MB will be an integral part of an effort to attract underrepresented minorities to UT Arlington to study science and engineering. The Materials Science & Engineering Department is partnering with the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers’ Advancing Hispanic Excellence in Technology, Engineering, Math and Science educational foundation to host a Latino Summer Camp.

In this four-day event, high and middle school students from Texas will meet and interact with UT Arlington faculty members, tour research facilities and attend seminars and workshops on science, technology, college preparation and how to become a competitive-eligible college student. A major part of this camp will involve nanomaterials/ nanotechnology experiments using the high-resolution transmission electron microscope.

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