Physics Grants

Project Title

MRI: Acquisition of a High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscope (HRTEM) to Enhance the Materials Science & Nanotechnology Research & Teaching at Kettering University

Date Awarded


Granting Organization

National Science Foundation

Project Description

This Major Research Instrument (MRI) grant will support the acquisition of a High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscope (HRTEM) to enhance Kettering University's efforts in interdisciplinary undergraduate education and research in nanotechnology and materials characterization. This instrument will be used by faculty, graduate and undergraduate students in a wide range of fields including biology, chemistry, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and physics for a large number of research projects and classroom activities. The availability of a HRTEM on the campus of Kettering University has a number of benefits including: (1) A stronger integration of the on-campus and co-op-mediated education (for which Kettering University has long been known) into a holistic educational model; (2) Strengthening Kettering University's role as a steady partner in the economic redevelopment of the state of Michigan and, in particular, the city of Flint; (3) Enabling original contributions to research in areas identified as national grand challenges with broad social impact; (4) Bolstering Kettering University's efforts to recruit and retain students; (5) Further expansion of professional development programs for in-service teaching professionals in the STEM disciplines; (6) The initiation of a program to develop a center for advanced materials characterization at Kettering University to provide services and training to industrial organizations. Furthermore, work resulting from the use of this instrument will allow a number of undergraduate students to attend and present original research at local, regional, national and international meetings. Most importantly, at least 15 courses offered across six academic departments will benefit from the use of this instrument in the development of new laboratory experiments and teaching aids.

The acquisition of a HRTEM will greatly benefit a number of ongoing research projects at Kettering University including investigations into the construction of reduced graphene oxide films for use in the development of a super-capacitor, characterization of novel materials for advanced solid oxide fuel cells, cathode materials for Na-ion batteries and characterization of magnetic nanoparticles for a number of biomedical applications. The proposed instrument will allow up to 0.1 nm crystal lattice resolution and up to 0.23 nm point-to-point resolution thus providing meaningful magnification for direct imaging of nanomaterials for size distribution and morphology determination for the applications outlined in the proposal. In addition, the ability to perform scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) in conjunction with its energy dispersive x-ray microanalysis system allows for elemental mapping at the nanoscale allowing for size determination and elemental mapping at grain boundaries and other locations within bulk materials. Highlighted ongoing research projects which will benefit from this instrument include: (1) The characterization of magnetic nanoparticles for use in targeted drug delivery and as mediators in the magnetic fluid hyperthermia treatment of malignant tumors, (2) The fabrication and characterization of reduced graphene oxide films using atmospheric plasma and surface annealing, (3) characterization of polymer and composite fibers and films for biomedical applications, (4) Synthesis and characterization of Na4Mn9O18 cathodes and iron oxide anodes for sodium ion batteries, (5) Synthesis and characterization of materials for advanced solid oxide fuel cells, (6) Growth and characterization of magnetosomes produced by magnetotactic bacteria for hyperthermia and micro- and nanorobotics, and (7) The study of the interactions of ligand-capped fold nanostructures with metal ions.

Grant Number