With this award from the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) and Chemistry Research Instrumentation and Facilities (CRIF) programs Professor Shouzhong Zou from American University and colleagues Colin Saldanha, Matthew Hartings and Douglas Fox have acquired an analytical transmission electron microscope (TEM). A TEM propels a beam of electrons at a thin sample. The electrons interact with the material to produce an image of the substance much as an optical microscope. However, the magnification is typically better than with optical microscopes. The microscope is used in a broad area of fields from materials research, to chemistry and biology to medicine. The microscopic knowledge gleamed from the TEM images can help understand the properties of the material and perhaps improve them. At American University the TEM is used to advance a number of research projects and it also impacts undergraduate research training and it is used in lecture and laboratory courses. It is also used in outreach activities to local institutions such as the University of the District of Columbia and Montgomery College to further enhance research and student training.
The proposal is aimed at enhancing research and education at all levels, especially in areas such as (a) revealing structure-catalytic activity relationships of catalysts for fuel cell reactions, carbon dioxide to organic fuel conversion and gas sensing, (b) understanding formation mechanisms and exploring structure-function properties of polymer-nanocomand organic ligand-stabilized noble metal nanoparticles, (c) developing advanced functional materials for water purification and disease detection, (d) understanding the expression and regulation of synaptic aromatase that synthesizes estrogens, (e) exploring structural modifications of retina associated with ambient light conditions and (f) revealing the reproductive system structure of decapod crustaceans.