MRI: Acquisition of Confocal, Raman, Scanning Near-Field Optical Microscopy System for Wet and Dry Materials and Devices
The University of Idaho will acquire a state-of-the-art confocal Raman scanning near-field optical microscopy (SNOM) system. The system integrates AFM modes for liquid and air probing and SNOM, digital pulsed force mode AFM for quantitative materials analysis, Raman spectroscopy with short and long (NIR) wavelength excitation, single photon counting detector, confocal, fluorescence, reflection and transmission microscopy, and sample stage heating to 200 degrees C. The system will be utilized across a broad range of materials science and engineering, physics, and chemistry, where disciplines merge into nanotechnology and microscale phenomena. This instrument has spatial resolution of <10 nm with simultaneous optical and Raman scanning at <100 nm resolution. The unique integration will facilitate unprecedented studies on chemical, mechanical and materials properties of solids, liquids, gels, coatings, plastics, powders, and composites. Applications include studies of site-specific chemical bonding of nanomaterials and analytes in environmental sensors, nanowire and nanofiber chemical functionality, biofilm evolution and morphology, interfacial mechanics and chemistry of composites, chemical architecture of plant cell walls and wood fibers. Access will facilitate multidisciplinary research and will be an indispensable training component for tomorrow's scientists and engineers. This instrument will be one-of-a-kind in the Pacific Northwest (1 of 4 in North America), filling a vast regional gap in access to its unique capabilities. It will directly impact numerous programs, including McNair Scholars, Native American (HOIST) program, NSF GK-12 grant, and collaboration with nearby Washington State.
Optical microscopy and spectroscopy are fundamental tools for evaluating materials properties. This microscope system is unique in its abilities to visualize materials at the nanoscale domain while simultaneously probing their physical and chemical properties. The emergence of nanotechnology is dependent on the ability to make simultaneous measurements that are impossible with separate instruments. The system's capabilities will also impact composite materials development by examining the interface between dissimilar materials. This microscope will allow researchers at the University of Idaho and Washington State University to probe these interactions where different materials meet. This instrumentation will enhance dozens of programs in the sciences, engineering, and natural resources, especially in interdisciplinary fields such as nanotechnology. It will impact the university's education and outreach programs: Native American HOIST, McNair Scholars, NSF GK-12, and others. Societal impacts of this instrument include the development of environmental sensors, renewable resource management of wood products and biofuels, and design of nanomaterials for alternative energy, diagnostic biochip arrays, drug delivery, bio-implants, and biomedical imaging.