Powerful New Instrument Sharpens Our View of the ‘Nanoverse’
Combining a powerful focused ion beam (FIB) with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) helps researchers engineer major breakthroughs, especially in the world of nanomaterials. Thanks in part to a $340,000 grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, the University of Idaho acquired a new FIB-SEM system. It is the first instrument of its kind in the Pacific Northwest region and is housed in the Integrated Research and Innovation Center (IRIC), U of I’s modern research facility and home to more than 20 dynamic interdisciplinary research projects. The instrument’s wide array of capabilities will play a central role in faculty and student research. The device gives engineers the capabilities to fabricate and repair tiny integrated circuits; gives biologists a vivid look inside plant and animal cells; and enables geologists to slice mineral samples as small as several microns wide.