USC unveils nano-imaging center

December 19, 2008: A new Nano-Imaging Center has opened on USC’s University Park Campus for scientists and engineers probing the mysteries of nanoscale materials and systems.

The center, which was unveiled Dec. 11 at a special symposium, houses three new scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) that will allow researchers from a broad range of the biological and life sciences to gain a better understanding of nano-materials using the latest, most sophisticated 3-D imaging technology available. The core lab, operated jointly by the Viterbi School and the College, is located in the engineering school’s Center for Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis.

The facility represents an important investment to strengthen USC’s research infrastructure and position the university as a national leader in nano-imaging, nano-analysis and nano-fabrication, said Dennis J. Atkinson, director of Corporate Research Advancement. Chemical engineering and materials science professor Steven R. Nutt, who directs the Viterbi School’s M.C. Gill Foundation Composites Center, believes the new instruments will transform the microscope from a device for static observations to an instrument for bold and vigorous experimentation.

“These new imaging instruments will support multi-disciplinary research in biomedical nanoscience, which could lead to discoveries in the early detection and more effective treatment of disease, as well as the development of prosthetic devices that restore function to tissue and organs,” Nutt said. “They will allow us to pursue 3D nano-imaging, nano-machining and nano-manipulation in a big way.”

The new instruments, considered state-of-the-art for nanoscience imaging and fabrication, were procured with funds from the Provost’s strategic Biomedical Nanoscience Initiative, in cooperation with JEOL (Japan Electron Optics Laboratory), and will be available to all USC faculty and students.


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