This award is supported by the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) and the Chemistry Research Instrumentation (CRIF) Programs as well as the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). Professor Rosalynn Quinones-Fernandez from Marshall University and colleagues Michael Norton, Aley El-Shazly, Iyad Hijazi and Sean McBride have acquired a field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM). A scanning electron microscope is an essential tool for the study of materials. It focuses a beam of electrons at the sample. The electrons interact and are scattered from the material to produce an image of the surface and its structure. A field-emission SEM has a electron gun designed to provide very high resolution images. This instrument upgrade improves image resolution and allow elemental analysis presently unavailable to researchers at Marshall. The science enabled by the acquisition impacts areas of interest to the community (for example, Appalachian geology, insects endemic to West Virginia and forensic/environmental analyses). Undergraduate research training and course instruction (100 students/year) involves largely regional students from Appalachia. The FESEM enhances at least five different annual outreach activities some of which target specifically minority and underrepresented students. A researcher from West Virginia State University, a Historically Black College and University, and another researcher at the University of Charleston also benefit.
The proposal is aimed at enhancing research and education at all levels. Research projects are ongoing to control surface properties of metal oxide nanoparticles and to investigate DNA based platforms for single molecule sensing nanostructures. Other projects focus on atomistic modeling techniques to probe for nanomaterial with unique properties, and experiments on self-assembled nanoparticle membranes. Investigations are underway to model and simulate rigid and flexible body dynamics for soft robotic applications. Other investigations use geological sample imaging and analysis to understand the tectonic setting of metamorphic and igneous rocks of the southern Appalachians. Arachnid sensory morphology and characterization of sensory sensillae in the Tsetse fly are being studied.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.