MTU to receive state-of-the-art microscope

HOUGHTON — Michigan Tech is well on its way in receiving a $1.7 million microscope, thanks to the National Science Foundation.

A team of researchers, led by Dr. Reza Shahbazian-Yassar, put together a proposal that was sent to the NSF to obtain funds for the state-of-the-science transmission electron microscope.

The instrument is a huge win for MTU.  Dr Shahbazian said not only will the microscope give researchers the ability to study atomic structure, it will also identify chemical composition with sensitivity close to a single atom.

“This instrument will be very unique across the Midwest region, at least, because we are going to have some additional attachments to this holder which will give us lots of capabilities and tools to analyze the behavior of materials in real time,” he said.  “We are hoping to go for a center of excellence later on with the help of the university administration and research office in order to make that a reality.”

The microscope can also be used for biological studies.

Assistant professor of mechanical engineering Tolou Shokuhfar said now researchers can examine living samples without having to dehydrate them.

“Because if you are able to look at live matter such as living cells or proteins without drying them out and losing any information about them, we can actually go back and look at the fundamental sources of the diseases, per se,” she said.

The cost of the microscope will be covered by $1.2 million from the NSF and about $500,000 in matching funds provided by the College of Engineering, the Department of Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics, and the Office of the Vice President for Research.