Girls STEM Day @ Duke Fuels the STEM Pipeline

On Saturday, May 19th, Girl Scouts and their families traveled to Duke University to learn from and work with over 100 women in STEM careers across the Triangle. Girl Scouts earned badges in digital photography, forensics, and robotics through a variety of different activities including use of SMIF’s scanning electron microscope. In a parallel parents forum, female STEM professionals, high school college counselors and university admissions counselors engaged parents and troop leaders in interactive panel discussions. To learn more about the event and see more photos, read Duke’s News Release.

Participants earning the digital photography badge were charged with imaging samples that they collected with both light and electron microscopes. These ranged from a flower petal (below image top) to a bagel (below image bottom).



New Grad Student Opportunity: Free Cryo-EM Workshop

The Van Andel Research Institute is hosting a cryo-EM workshop August 13-15, 2018 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Full scholarships, including travel, are available for up to 15 graduate students. Applications are due May 11, 2018.

Taught by internationally recognized cryo-EM experts, Cryo-EM at the Van Andel Research Institute will give gifted graduate students an intense overview of the latest innovative methodology and its applications across several fields including cancer and neurodegenerative disease research. By the end of the week, students will have a greater appreciation of what can be achieved through the application of cryo-EM.

Sessions will cover:

  • Electron microscopy
  • Electron tomography
  • Image processing basics
  • Image processing and 3-D reconstruction (hands-on session)
  • Negative stain and cryo-EM grid preparation
  • Cryo-EM on the Arctica and the Krios with a Volta phase plate

The course is designed to engage students and promote discussion between fellow participants and course instructors. In addition to talks and hands-on lessons, there will be social events that will provide opportunities to network.

For more information and to apply please visit the workshop website. Questions can be directed to Aubrie Bruinsma at


Making Metamaterials a Household Name

Metamaterials are artificially structured materials used to control and manipulate light, sound, and many other physical phenomena. They became famous for their use in the creation of an “invisibility cloak”. A recent article in Duke Stories describes the history of metamaterials development and how researchers at Duke are striving to make them a household name. Read more here.

New NNCI Video Introduces the Network

The RTNN is one of sixteen sites that make up the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI). The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports these sites, their affiliated partners, and a coordinating office. Want to learn more about the NNCI and its programs? The NNCI recently published a video to introduce the network and describe its mission.

Many new tools online or coming soon!

The RTNN has several new tools that have come online recently, and there are also several instruments scheduled to come into the facilities in the next few months. For technical questions about these tools or reservation information, please contact



Online and ready for use:

  • The NNF recently acquired a Heidelberg Instruments µPG 101 direct write lithography system. This system is equipped with a 375 nm ultraviolet diode laser capable of exposing feature sizes down to 0.8 µm on either positive or negative photoresists on sample sizes of 10 x 10 mm up to 5 x 5”. In addition to full exposure, it has the ability to create surface topographies for gray scale applications.
  • The Analytical Instrumentation Facility’s Horiba H-CLUE Spectroscopy & Imaging Catholuminescence (CL) system is now available for users on the JEOL 7600 scanning electron microscope (SEM). CL is a non-destructive spectroscopy technique that provides electronic-structure information via optical emissions induced by the electron-beam excitation. Similar to photoluminescence spectroscopy, but performed in an SEM, CL spectra can be collected at nanometer spatial resolution to probe electronic-structure inhomogeneities in materials. The technique can be used to induce and image surface plasmon resonances in nanostructured materials. The H-Clue offers wide spectral range from UV to IR, 200-2200 nm (6.2 – 0.56 eV). The technique is particularly suitable for analysis of wide-band semiconductors, photonic and polaritonic nanostructures, dielectric oxides and minerals.
  • A new detector named “Symmetry” is now available on the FEI Verios SEM at the AIF, providing superior orientation microscopy capabilities. The image at the right is a representative Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) map of a deformed Ni alloy specimen collected at ~1500 pixels per second, which is more than an order of magnitude faster than possible with the other detector. Speeds up to 3200 pixels/second are achievable, even at reduced operating voltages and beam currents, allowing data collection on poorly conducting specimens

Coming Soon:

  • An Asylum Research Cypher AFM has just been installed in SMIF. It will be available to users in mid-April 2018.
  • The FEI Krios Cryo-TEM in SMIF will offer atomic scale resolution of samples held at cryogenic temperatures. Its cryo-based technology and stability allow for single particle analysis and dual-axis cellular tomography of frozen hydrated cell organelles and cells. The TEM is equipped with a robotic loader, capable of handling up to 12 frozen hydrated samples for increased throughput.It will be available to users in late April 2018.
  • Installation and start-up of an FEI Apreo SEM at SMIF is expected to begin this month. The new SEM should be available to users in early May 2018.
  • CHANL will be bringing a new Rigaku SmartLab XRD system online in May/June of 2018.  This system will be capable of looking at powders and thin film samples.  In addition to traditional XRD experiments, it is also capable of in-plane diffraction and SAXS, and there are options for working with samples in inert environments and at various temperatures.
  • The NNF has acquired an Annealsys AS-One 150. This rapid thermal processing tool is capable of running samples from small pieces to 6” wafers, up to 1300˚C with pressure ranges from atmospheric conditions to high vacuum. It will become available to users in May 2018.
  • The AIF will install an FEI Talos TEM that will become available to users in late summer 2018. This instrument comes as the result of an MRI award granted to Professor Jim LeBeau.
  • CHANL is adding a Bruker Hyperion FTIR microscope capable of transmission and attenuated total reflectance (ATR) measurements from 600 to 7500 cm-1 with 1 cm-1 spectral resolution. It will map spectra with a lateral resolution ranging from 20 to 250 µm. The system is projected to be online in summer or fall 2018.