Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis to revolutionize materials research

Posted: June 13, 2013

a Titan transmission electron microscope

Lee Casalena

One of two Titan transmission electron microscopes—the most powerful in the world—operating in CEMAS

Construction is complete on The Ohio State University’s new Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS) facility. The $15 million center aims to be the materials characterization hub for business and academia worldwide.

The College of Engineering center will offer Ohio State researchers, other academic institutions and industry tremendous microscopy capabilities under one roof. A ribbon cutting event, with world-renowned microscopy scholars, dignitaries, and industry leaders in attendance, will be held on September 18, followed by an all-day microscopy lecture series on September 19 at Scott Labs (see full schedule).

Electron microscopes are traditionally used to investigate hard materials such as metals and ceramics. However, being able to examine materials such as polymers, tissues, organic membranes, nanoparticles and gels with those same electron microscopes is a relatively new technique and lends itself to innovations in transportation, aerospace, electronics, healthcare and consumer goods, among many other fields.

“This truly unique facility exemplifies The Ohio State University’s excellence-to-eminence trajectory,” said College of Engineering Dean David Williams. “CEMAS is one of the largest advanced materials characterization centers in the world, and now companies, researchers and students from anywhere can connect with Ohio State in ways that will facilitate groundbreaking innovation across disciplines.” 

Medicine, environmental science and energy materials are among a long list of fields that will yield direct benefits from CEMAS partnerships and research. Public and private partners will be able to collaborate with CEMAS in ways that will spark revolutionary advances, said David McComb, director of CEMAS, and professor and Ohio Research Scholar of materials science and engineering.

“I was very impressed during my recent visit to CEMAS. It is truly a benchmark facility in North America and globally. The team at Ohio State really thought through the details when they designed it,” said Don Kania, president and CEO of FEI, the world-leading manufacturer of electron microscopes, including CEMAS’ collection of advanced devices. “We look forward to seeing exciting results emerging from CEMAS in the coming years.”
Lee Casalena
Located on Ohio State’s west campus in Columbus, the new center comprises ten FEI electron microscopes, including two aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopes optimized to perform analysis on the atomic scale, three additional transmission electron microscopes (TEMs), two dual-beam focused ion beam (FIB) instruments and three scanning electron microscopes (SEMs). There are also two X-ray diffractometer (XRD) systems, facilities for nanoindentation and an extensive array of sample preparation facilities. CEMAS faculty members anticipate that this center will be ranked among the top ten electron microscopy facilities worldwide and may hold the highest concentration of these high-end microscopes in North America. 

“Essentially, we are putting together the best sample preparation with extremely high point-to-point resolution of structural and chemical information, and high-speed, high-capacity data transfer and analysis,” said Rudy Buchheit, chair and professor of materials science and engineering. “This allows us to visualize, characterize and understand the make-up of materials at the atomic length of scale where interesting and important physical phenomena occur that govern macroscopic material behavior.” 

CEMAS faculty and staff took occupancy of the new research building in March with microscopes following suit shortly after in May—less than one year after construction began. 

The Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis was established through funding from Ohio State’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering, Office of Research, Office of Academic Affairs and Institute of Materials Research, and by the Ohio Development Services Agency and Ohio Board of Regents through the Ohio Third Frontier Program.

In the news: Ohio State’s souped-up electron microscope collection ready for industry research partnerships | Columbus Business First