MRI: Acquisition of a Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope for Nano-Texture and Nano-Structure Characterization

  • Kalu, P. N. (PI)
  • Chandra, Namas (CoPI)
  • El-azab, Anter A.A. (CoPI)
  • Han, Ke K. (CoPI)
  • Ma, Teng T. (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The level of research activities and education program in Materials Science has grown rapidly at the Florida A & M (FAMU) - Florida State University (FSU) College of Engineering has grown rapidly with the addition of several new faculty and scientists, and the development of new curriculum and research programs. We have developed a new focus in nanoscale science and engineering, studying the synthesis, characterization, and simulations of nanoscale materials systems. Currently, we are capitalizing on the research partnerships with University of Florida and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in order use their facilities to carry out major research work on nano-structured materials. While this has been of tremendous assistance, the current volume of our research activities necessitates an in-house low kV, nanoscale resolution Field Emission - Scanning Electron Microscope (FE-SEM) capability. The functionality provided by the FE-SEM is currently not available in our facility. This includes imaging, texture and composition characterizations at nanoscales. For example, it is possible to obtain ultra high resolution (1.0 nm) at 15kV, high resolution (1.5nm) at 1 kV, map surface and near surface composition with a nanoscale precision, and perform nano-texture analysis on various materials with the equipment. Some of the research projects that will benefit directly from the FE-SEM acquisition include: 1) Synthesis, development and characterization of high strength carbon nanotube based composites for basic research and heat sink applications in computer CPUs, 2) Fundamental studies of alloy deformation, which will enable us develop physical theory of crystal plasticity, 3) Magnetic field alignment of superconductors (e.g. Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8), 4) Cellular and tissue engineering, and 5) Evolution of nanostructure and nanotexture in laminate composites. These composites are subjected to severe plastic deformation during processing, and the sub-micron structure developed can not be studied using standard SEM. The acquisition of a FE-SEM will enhance the diverse materials efforts at FAMU and FSU, and provide a cohesive base for the multitude of interdisciplinary research activities among these institutions. The opportunity to work with such state of the art equipment will help us interest more students in this field. The PIs have a proven record of mentoring women and minority students - there are currently twenty one undergraduate and seven graduate students on our NSF funded PREM program.

Nanotechnology involves the study of the composition and behavior of materials at the microscopic and submicroscopic level. With this electron microscope, we will have the capacity to magnify the structure of samples to up to one million times their actual size. There are countless applications that will benefit from this research, with perhaps the most interesting being the development of carbon nanotubes. These tubes are very thin (as much as 10,000 times smaller than a human hair) and light, yet are exceedingly strong, giving them the potential to replace current materials in many engineering areas, such as aerospace engineering or other applications where a very high strength to weight ratio is required. Nanotechnology also has great possibilities in other fields such as biomedical engineering. The expanded capabilities that will come through the acquisition of the equipment will not only benefit our research, but will also benefit our educational programs as well. With an enrollment of approximately 50% minority students and 25% female students, we are dedicated to increasing the percentage of underrepresented minorities in the engineering workforce. The opportunity to work with such state of the art equipment will help us interest more students in the materials field and will better prepare our students to enter the workforce.

Effective start/end date9/15/058/31/07


  • National Science Foundation: $766,040.00


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