SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois at Springfield's Chemistry Department has received a grant of nearly $75,000 from the National Science Foundation to incorporate scanning probe microscopy into undergraduate courses.
The funds from this Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement grant will be used to purchase a scanning probe microscope – the cutting-edge tool for nanotechnology – and train undergraduate students in its use. Chemistry faculty will develop demonstrations and experiments involving SPM. Both science and non-science majors at UIS will get hands-on experience using the instrument.
The grant is directed by UIS chemistry faculty Keenan Dungey, Gary Trammell, and Marc Klingshirn and is in collaboration with chemistry faculty at Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville. In this joint NSF grant, the chemistry department at SIU-E also received funding for an SPM; faculty at both institutions will meet regularly to exchange ideas on its use.
Scanning probe microscopy includes the techniques of scanning tunneling microscopy, which can image atoms on a metal surface, and atomic force microscopy, a more general technique that can be used to image crystal surfaces, polymer films, and even the surfaces of living cells at the nanometer scale. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter, or 0.0001 times the width of a human hair.
"What I find really exciting is that it's not only science majors who will get opportunities to work with this instrument, but non-science majors as well," said Klingshirn. "Quite often students aren't exposed to this type of specialized instrumentation until they start working toward advanced degrees. It's really a win-win situation for any student who takes a chemistry-related course at UIS."
Acquisition of the SPM will complement existing instrumentation at UIS, which includes a scanning electron microscope, powder X-ray diffractometer, and digital optical microscopy suite. UIS undergraduates learn the theory for these instruments in their coursework, then apply that knowledge in original research projects.
The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950. NSF supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering and is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities.
UIS' Chemistry department is accredited by the American Chemical Society's Committee on Professional Training and awards the bachelor of science degree.
For more information on the department or about this grant, contact Dungey at 206-7345 or firstname.lastname@example.org.For more information about the National Science Foundation, visit www.nsf.gov.