The National Science Foundation has awarded researchers at the University of Georgia $997,499 to fund a new electron microscope on the UGA campus, according to a UGA Today news release. The UGA Office of Research and the Georgia Research Alliance will provide additional funding for the project as well.
According to the release, the microscope will be “the only one of its kind” in the state once it’s on the UGA campus. Georgia Electron Microscopy — “one of UGA’s research core facilities” — will collaborate with the researchers on the project, which is led by Tina Salguero, an associate professor of chemistry and the director of GEM.
“Our proposal identified 29 major users of the new microscope across 14 departments,” Salguero said in the release.
Researchers can use the microscope, a Hitachi SU9000EA, to image and analyze samples with a “gentle” electron beam, which causes less damage to study samples as compared to a typical, high-energy electron microscope beam, Salguero said to the release.
The new microscope will allow researchers to perform electron energy loss spectroscopy, which hasn’t been available at UGA before, Salguero said in the release. The microscope will also play a role in class demonstrations and workshops and will generate images and data for teaching material for K-12 STEM education.
The microscope will be installed temporarily in Barrow Hall in March until the new Interdisciplinary STEM Research Building on East Campus Road is completed. The new facility, which will be sensitive to vibration and noise, will house the new instrument upon the building’s expected completion in summer 2021.