From the outside, Ward Beecher Hall looks like a normal academic building. Sure, it houses a planetarium, but there is more than that on the inside. Youngstown State University has the privilege of having an Electron Microscope Facility on its campus.
The first part of the facility was started in 2009 with the help of a grant from Ohio Third Frontier. The $2.1 million grant was used to redesign part of the fifth floor of Ward Beecher Hall to accommodate both a focused ion beam/scanning electron microscope and a scanning/transmission electron microscope.
The facility, including the surrounding labs, needs to be able to obtain constant temperature and humidity to ensure proper working conditions for the different microscopes. There also needs to be consistent vibration and noise levels, most of which is cancelled out by soundproof walls and insulation.View more...
The JEOL 2100 Scanning/Transmission Electron Microscope has its own vibration table to reduce the amount of outside vibration to ensure the microscope can give a clean image of the sample.
The microscopes are used to determine the chemical composition and chemical structure of different materials or composites. With the microscopes, an engineer can determine which process makes a more stable, or more useful, material. For example, there can be two samples of the same composite material, but made in two different ways. One may have a different conductivity than the other and may be have differently.
One of the biggest challenges of having these two microscopes is creating the samples. The samples need to be a certain size and thickness to be used in the microscope. The samples for the JEOL 2100 need to be 10-7mm thick and fit on a 3mm diameter TM Grid, which is made of copper or aluminum. The samples for the JEOL 2100 can be made from larger samples from the focused ion beam/scanning electron microscope, the JEOL JIB-4500, in a process called Nano-manufacturing.
Another major challenge for the Electron Microscope Facility is the training the JEOL 2100 requires. There are currently eight graduate students currently eligible to use the transmission electron microscope. Undergraduates can use the focused beam microscope, but they need more experience and training to use the JEOL 2100, especially because it uses four computers simultaneously.
“I have been using the transmission electron microscope for fifteen years, but I don’t know everything about it,” Dr. Virgil Solomon, assistant professor and manager of the facility, said. Dr. Solomon was hired to help develop the EM Facility, in part because of his work at the University of Connecticut.
The Electron Microscope lab works in collaboration with companies like Fireline Incorporated, in Youngstown. Together, they do research on which materials would be better for their products.
In the future, the facility hopes to add a second phase to the Electron Microscope Lab. Two more electron microscopes will be added to the first floor of Moser Hall with the help of two grants from the National Science Foundation and the Ohio Board of Regents. Also being added is a field emission/variable pressure scanning electron microscope, which does not require the TM Grid. The field emission/variable pressure SEM, which has different applications that the focused ion beam SEM and the transmission electron microscope, will be added later this year.
Youngstown State University is privileged to have Dr. Kerry Meyers on the faculty this year.Kerry brings passion, fun, and learning to the job of “First-Year Engineering Director.”
Dr. Meyers earned her bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Perdue. She continued with her masters in Mechanical Engineering at Oakland University in Michigan. Returning to Perdue, Kerry earned her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering Education. For her Ph.D. Kerry did research discovering who goes into engineering, why people go into engineering, and who stays in engineering.
As the director for the first-year engineering students, Kerry helps to introduce the students into world of engineering.View more...
The first-year engineers learn the basics and then put what they have learned to the test in several projects throughout the year.
Dr. Meyers loves that the students are enthusiastic about their work. “They go above and beyond [in their projects] when they are excited,” she said.
Kerry, a Detroit native, worked at Chrysler as a design engineer for a time before being relocated to the Valley. In the past, she also taught at the University of Notre Dame.
While she was at Notre Dame, Kerry was part of the mentoring group Engineers without Borders. While there is not an official chapter of Engineers Without Borders on YSU’s campus just yet, there is one in the works. EWB is an organization that encourages engineers to make a difference by becoming leaders on their campuses, in their companies, and in their communities.
Most recently, Kerry has been active with the students in making mini golf courses. The students had to analyze data and put it to use by building the course with diversions, hills and complications.
This next semester, Dr. Meyers will lead the first-year engineers in a project that benefits the community. The project centers on designing an experiment for the OH WOW! The Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology. Check back this next semester to see how the projects go!
YSU College of Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics
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