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Western Kentucky University

WKU NOVA Center

Dr. Gordon Baylis (left) and Congressman Brett Guthrie (right) make comments during the ribbon cutting of the NOVA Center featuring the  Large Chamber Scanning Electron Microscope (center) at the WKU Center for Research and Development located on the corner of Nashville  Road and Campbell Lane in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  WKU is the only university with an instrument of this size in the United States.

Inside view of the Large Chamber Scanning Electron Microscope (LCSEM)

Positioning of the microscope on an item inside the LCSEM

A colorized scan of an item taken in the LCSEM

A colorized scan of an item taken inside the LCSEM

 WKU NOVA Center Logo

 

The Large Chamber Scanning Electron Microscope has great potential for observations of deformation behavior of materials, as well as for relatively small production processes in the field of micro-system techniques.

The Large Chamber SEM also makes it possible to perform “interrupted monitoring” experiments for larger engineering parts. The parts can be in service for a specific period of time followed by an investigation of the part in the LC-SEM and returned to service immediately after the investigation is complete.

This way of monitoring a system will open a very broad field for engineering applications that will allow a more detailed understanding for preventative maintenance.

 

Precision Analysis

The Large Chamber Scanning Electron Microscope (LC-SEM) will accommodate a sample up to 40 inches in diameter, 40 inches tall and up to 650 pounds (large enough for an automobile engine block) eliminating the need to cut samples into small pieces for examination.

Equipped with a positioning system that allows views from different angles the LC-SEM gives an extended view of an object being tested. By moving the electron gun and detectors around the object the LC-SEM is capable of generating images with a resolution of better than 10nm and a magnification up to 300,000X.

The magnification capability offers high resolution imaging for surface analysis, chemical analysis, materials identification, quality control, metal microstructure, subsurface examination and more.

Nondestructive Analysis (NDA) is used to evaluate properties of a material, component or system without causing damage. NDA does not permanently alter the article being inspected and can save both money and time in product research, evaluation, and troubleshooting.

About the Equipment

High-Resolution Imaging

  • Secondary Electron Imaging (SE) for topographic imaging
  • Back-Scattered Electrons (BSE) for elemental contrast imaging

Surface Characterization

  • Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) for chemical analysis
  • Fourier Transform-Infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy for materials identification, corrosion, failure,
  • Quality control analysis

Metal Microstructure

  • Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) for crystallography
  • Focused Ion Beam (FIB) for ion milling for subsurface examination

Expanded Material Range

  • Can operate in Variable Pressure (VP) mode that allows us to make measurements on  nonconductive surfaces

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 Last Modified 9/24/14