Drexel Celebrates Opening of Materials Characterization Facility

Published on Friday October 27, 2006

Drexel University hosted over 200 outside guests plus several hundred faculty, staff, and students on October 25, 2006, as the A.J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute celebrated the official opening of the Centralized Research Facilities.

“It took five years to get to this point, moving parallel on constructing the site, acquiring the high-tech equipment, and developing the intellectual capacity to make the best use of the facility,”  said Dean Selçuk Güçeri, College of Engineering, “Our students, both undergraduate and graduate, will be the winners in this new phase of our operation.”

The full day of events started with technical workshops in four different areas: scanning electron microscopy, Raman and infrared spectroscopy, microfabrication, and post-processing of electron micrographs.  More than 150 people from Drexel, Temple University, other universities, and area companies attended the workshops.

Tours of the Materials Characterization Facility and a meeting of the Materials and Nanotechnology Consortium filled the afternoon, leading up to a poster session and reception for participants in the NSF-sponsored Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) programs at Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania.  Thirty middle, high school, and community college teachers who participated in the RET programs in summers 2004-2006 attended the session, and several of them invited their students.  About 130 high school students attended.

The main event was a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Materials Characterization Facility (MCF).  The MCF offers state-of-the-art characterization instruments, including three advanced scanning electron microscopes, a Nano Indenter, Raman and infrared spectrometers, and other instruments for nanoscale and microscale characterization of materials.  In particular, a new Zeiss scanning electron microscope provides extremely high spatial resolution and microanalysis capabilities.

Built from the ground up by the MSE department, the MCF was some five years in the making. Beginning with a collection of characterization equipment housed in several different locations, the number and quality of instruments grew through the continued efforts of many faculty.  Once a critical mass was established, the instruments were organized under the umbrella of a “recharge center,” enabling the cost of operation and maintenance of the instruments to be recovered from user fees. The final steps included the development and implementation of an on-line log-in and usage tracking system to streamline the billing process significantly. 

Construction of the Bossone Research Enterprise Center offered the chance to house all the instruments together in a single custom-designed location. The move of the instruments to Bossone took place in early 2006, marking the culmination of the activities of a large number of people, including the MSE Department facilities committee, chaired by Dr. Richard Knight. David Von Rohr and Tim Kelly, the MSE department’s former Electron Microscopist and Spectroscopist respectively, plus many of the faculty, staff, and graduate students, served as key players throughout the founding of the facility and its transition. This true team effort resulted in the MCF growing from a departmental to a university-wide resource.

“This facility makes Drexel University a regional center for material characterization at micro- and nano-scale,” said Dr. Yury Gogotsi, Director of the A. J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute.  “It has already attracted many companies, which have become members of our Materials and Nanotechnology Consortium. It also attracts users from the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Penn State, Temple, Lehigh and other universities, increasing Drexel’s reputation among its peer institutions.”

The grand opening was also noted in Philadelphia Business Journal, the area’s leading breaking business news provider.

Tagged as Richard Knight Philadelphia Business Journal