Dear Readers

Trevor Thornton, Ph.D.

The temperature is really heating up in the southwest, as we welcome you to the summer NCI-SW newsletter! Reflecting on our second year, I am pleased to share updates on our annual achievements. It is with pleasure that we welcomed the Center for the Lifecycle of Nanomaterials (LCnano) under the NCI-SW umbrella, at the beginning of our second year. Dr. Paul Westerhoff, the founding Director of LCnano, shares in his article below, that their research is focused on understanding how nanomaterials enter the environment and the potential subsequent impact. External users can access the LCnano faculty expertise and laboratory tools by contacting either Dr. Westerhoff or me.

The AnnealSys rapid thermal processing tool currently operational in NanoFab

We are also excited to share that in the past year, two new tools have been commissioned that greatly enhance our nano-characterization and fabrication capabilities. For users of the ASU NanoFab a new AnnealSys rapid thermal processor is now available, thanks to funding from the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program. The new tool is already operational in the NanoFab cleanroom and will allow precise control of annealing in a variety of atmospheres including argon, oxygen, nitrogen and forming gas. The LeRoy Eyring Center for Solid State Science (LE-CSS) has acquired a new FEI Titan Krios Cryogenic transmission electron microscope (TEM). The Cryo-TEM can image rapidly frozen biomolecules with 2-3Å resolution. The biological samples are frozen in an aqueous solution that preserves their native conditions while delaying the effects of radiation damage. The frozen state prevents dehydration in the microscope vacuum. Multiple images are taken to generate topographic structures of e.g. biological macromolecules and cell structures. In this capacity Cryo-TEM has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of biological materials.

The FEI Titan Krios Cryo TEM currently being installed.

We would also like to welcome Dewight Williams and Dr. Katia March as new members of LE-CSS team. Katia is an expert in electron energy loss spectroscopy and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). She will be the external user contact for advanced STEM applications. Dewight will establish the Cryo-TEM laboratory based around the FEI Titan Krios microscope. We are planning exciting new initiatives to exploit the cryo-TEM capability for applications involving the hard-soft materials interface and these will be the focus of future newsletters.


All in all, a very busy year of growth and achievements. We look forward to the coming year and all the potential opportunities that are in store for NCI-SW.