CSC’s Science Program Now Equipped with Scanning Electron Microscope

Chadron State College has recently acquired a state-of-the-art Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) worth $120,000. This equipment was funded by the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (CSLFRF) from the State of Nebraska, awarded to the Nebraska State College System for specialized equipment. The SEM has the capability to reveal the elements making up a specimen and produce images with more realism compared to typical microscopes.

The SEM functions by bombarding the specimen with electrons, which can only be done in a vacuum. To prevent an electrical charge buildup on the specimen, it needs to be coated with metal, especially if it is not already conductive. Dr. Mike Leite, a Professor of Physical Science, believes that this equipment will help students develop skills that are in demand by potential employers across various fields such as industry, law enforcement, and environmental research.

According to Dr. Leite, the ability to collect different types of data and analyze it requires different thought processes. By using the SEM, students will be able to enhance their problem-solving and creative skills. This equipment will allow students to integrate their learning across different scientific disciplines and apply it to real-world scenarios.

Dr. Joyce Hardy expressed that the SEM will greatly expand the research opportunities for both students and faculty at Chadron State College. The enhanced capabilities of visualizing surface materials with great resolution and analyzing the chemical element distribution will benefit research in medical, environmental, biological, and ecological fields, especially in the local region.

Dr. Leite, Dr. Hardy, and Dr. Ryan Morgan, the Dean of Business, Mathematics, and Natural Sciences, have extensive experience in operating an SEM and are planning to develop protocols and training sessions for faculty and students to utilize this advanced equipment effectively. With the acquisition of the SEM, Chadron State College is poised to elevate its research capabilities and offer valuable learning experiences to its students across various scientific disciplines.

By Samantha Robertson

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