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New Equipment Installed in the Nuclear Materials Laboratory

Wednesday, Oct 14th 2015

The Department of Nuclear Engineering has installed some very exciting new equipment this month.  First, a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), equipped with a Back Scatter Electron detector (BSE) and Environmental (E-SEM) mode, and later, the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) from GE-Tec was installed in the SEM turning the standard SEM into an AFSEM allowing for novel correlative microscopy studies. The tool is now located in the Nuclear Materials Laboratory in Etcheverry Hall adding to the already existing materials investigation equipment available to researchers and students. This installation was conducted with the help of the Biomolecular Nanotechnology Center (BNC).

While allowing standard scanning electron microscopy, this tool is also the test platform for further equipment intended to be used in the Focused Ion Beam (FIB) microscope because the stages are compatible between FIB and SEM. The combination of SEM and AFM allows access to different properties at the same location of a specimen. Currently AFM height and phase imaging is available in combination with SE and BSE detection of electrons from the SEM.

All tools are also part of the National Science User Facility (NSUF) from DOE and are open to any outside user.  Radioactive samples can be investigated using the AFSEM.

Figure Caption: SEM (left) AFM right image of SiC fibers in a SiC matrix