Atomic Force Microscope Installed in the Chemistry Department
A Multimode V atomic force microscope (AFM) from Veeco Instruments is installed and running in a dedicated room in Rooke Chemistry and students and faculty are taking the first data! Congratulations to Prof. Molly McGuire, the principal investigator, and co-PI's Tim Raymond and Erin Jablonski.
The acquisition of an atomic force microscope (AFM) will allow multiple users within the science and engineering departments at Bucknell University, a predominantly undergraduate institution, to incorporate this cutting-edge technique into a wide variety of research projects.
AFM is used to produce three dimensional images of the surface of a material, and unlike a conventional optical microscope, it can "see" features up to a million times smaller than the width of a human hair. At these extremely small length scales, individual molecules can be discerned. This capability will be utilized to gain new insight into important environmental and industrial processes.
Examples of research projects that are enabled by this acquisition include
- studies of the changes that occur in clay minerals as a result of chemical reactions that occur in the environment, including reactions with common groundwater contaminants;
- determination of the way in which small atmospheric particles take up water in order to better understand cloud formation and processes in human airways;
- studies of the materials used to pattern small features on computer chips in order to determine the effects of different processing parameters
With its abilities to image and manipulate matter at dimensions approaching the size of individual atoms, AFM is at the core of the nanotechnology revolution. Bringing AFM to the undergraduate research-intensive environment at Bucknell allows the University to continue to prepare students to face tomorrow's scientific challenges.