West Virginia University celebrated the opening of an important new component in its suite of shared facilities that offers researchers from the University, government and private industries access to cutting-edge materials science and engineering equipment.

WVU’s Shared Research Facilities held an open house to introduce scientists to its new Sample Preparation Lab on the Evansdale Campus. The new lab is home to a range of technologies that researchers consider vital to the preparation of materials for microscopic evaluation.

“This is an important new addition that should help researchers from all disciplines,” said Dr. Marcela Redigolo, electron microscopy technical lead at WVU. “Having the new Sample Preparation Lab located in the WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources facilities should provide a central location for scientists who need these unique tools to move their work forward. The shared facilities approach is in keeping with the multidisciplinary thrust of WVU’s strategic plan of service to the state.”

Redigolo said the open house introduced the scientific community to the additional capabilities of the lab including the new Allied MultiPrep Polishing System – a sophisticated and precise semi-automatic sample preparation tool that opens many novel experimental possibilities for users working with scanning or transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy or sample preparation for other systems.

“This system has several advantages over conventional polishing techniques,” Redigolo said. “It provides reproducible sample results by eliminating the need for hand-held polishing jigs. That eliminates inconsistencies between users, and ensures that only the sample makes contact with the abrasive. The new lab also has a slow speed saw for controlled cutting, and an optical microscope with imaging capture capability to monitor step-by-step sample preparation.”

In addition to the new tools, users of the new lab will be able to work side-by-side with Shared Research Facilities staff, which provides expertise on the instrumentation and can help users develop effective research protocols and strategies.

Shared Research Facilities provides access to state-of-the-art equipment for all university and industry researchers; training for students and users for hands-on operation; and experienced staff with technical expertise. Other resources include:

• A Clean Room Facility led by Dr. Kolin Brown that is used to fabricate micro to nanoscale structures and devices on a wide variety of substrates using micro and nanoscale patterning; metal and dielectric deposition; material etching; and thermal processing.

• The Materials Fabrication and Characterization Facility led by Dr. Weiqiang Ding that has a variety of instruments to fabricate materials and characterize their structural, chemical, optical, electrical and magnetic properties including: atomic force microscopy; Fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy; Raman spectroscopy; ellipsometer; X-ray diffractometer; X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy; pulsed laser deposition; and magnetron sputtering systems.

• The Electron Microsopy Facility led by Redigolo that offers scanning electron and transmission electron microscopy enabling investigative techniques such as: high magnification surface morphology; phase contrast imaging; X-ray compositional mapping; energy dispersive spectrometry; E-beam lithography; electron diffraction; and sub-micron high-resolution imaging.

• The Bio-Nano Research Facility led by Dr. Siera Talbott that consists of equipment in the WVU Engineering Sciences Building and the WVU Downtown campus to facilitate research at the intersection of molecular biology and nanomaterials.

For a general overview of what Shared Research Facilities offers, visit http://sharedresearchfacilities.wvu.edu for more information about its equipment, rates and contact information.



CONTACT: Aniketa Shinde, education/outreach coordinator, WVNano
304.293.8281, aniketa.shinde@mail.wvu.edu

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