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Scanning electron microscope delivered

A scanning electron microscope was delivered to WKU's Applied Physics Institute on Nov. 24. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

One of the world’s largest scanning electron microscopes was delivered to WKU’s Applied Physics Institute on Nov. 24.

The large-chamber SEM, a $2.7 million gift from the U.S. Department of Energy, was moved from Oak Ridge National Laboratory to WKU’s API facility, located in the Center for Research and Development on Nashville Road.

The one of a kind instrument weighs about 18,000 pounds and has a scanning chamber that accommodate a sample up to 40 inches in diameter, 40 inches tall and up to 650 pounds (large enough for an automobile engine block), which means samples don’t have to be cut into small pieces for examination. A conventional SEM’s maximum sample size is 2 inches in diameter and 2 inches tall.

The instrument can magnify up to 100,000 times and offers high-resolution imaging for surface analysis, chemical analysis, materials identification, quality control, metal microstructure, subsurface examination and more.

“For the University, the SEM is a unique instrument that places WKU at the forefront of scientific research,” said Dr. Edward Kintzel, assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and project manager who acquired the instrument for WKU.

Contact: Edward Kintzel, (270) 745-6200.

The scanning electron microscope had been located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The SEM is expected to be operational at WKU's Applied Physics Institute in the spring 2010 semester. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

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