Micro-Notes from NMCF

New, images, observations and tips from the microscopy team at UVA's Nanoscale Materials Characterization Facility

    Pristine Apollo soil samples examined with NMCF's state-of-the-art X-ray photoelectron spectrometer (XPS)

    September 09, 2019

    To the Moon!

    In preparation for future Moon missions, NASA scientists stored away small quantities of returned Apollo samples in special containment vessels for later analysis.These containment modules were devised to meticulously preserve fragile and transitory sample characteristics (e.g., solar wind volatiles, volatile coatings). Fifty years later, with advent of new and more sensitive analytical techniques, these vessels will be opened and the lunar core samples analyzed on our imaging XPS . UVa's NMCF will be part of that process, as Research Scientist Catherine Dukes, studies the volatile species deposited on the surfaces of volcanic pyroclastic grains found at different depths within the lunar core tube. 

    Research scientist Catherine Dukes inserts a vacuum tube into an X-ray photoelectron spectrometer to get a precise look at lunar material. (Photo by Chris Tyree)

    Research scientist Catherine Dukes inserts a sample using the vacuum transfer vessel into an X-ray photoelectron spectrometer to get a precise look at lunar material. (Photo by Chris Tyree)

    We're on the move! NMCF Raman/AFM and Hardness Testing instrumentation have relocated.

    July 31, 2019

    NMCF Raman/AFM and Hardness Testing instrumentation have relocated.


    1) UVa's Raman spectrometer with integrated AFM has moved from the second floor of the Materials Science Building (MSB) to the first floor, MSB 142.

    2) All hardness testing instrumentation has relocated to MSB 162.

    3) The post-processing computer for XPS analysis has also relocated to MSB 162.


    Microscopy Competition: Science as Art

    June 14, 2019
    Cropped Hanagasumi (Scene with Many Cherry Blossoms).jpg

    Science as Art: Microscopy Image Competition (2019)

    Each year the Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Student Board hosts a competition for the most stunning images in electron or optical microscopy taken on NMCF instrumentation. The images are evaluated not on their scientific merit, but on their artistic aesthetic. This year's winning micrographs are all scanning electron microscopy images taken using the Quanta 650 or 200 LV SEM instruments. Congratulations to all who participated! And the winners are......

    How Does NMCF TEST?

    April 11, 2019

    Reseachers from the Multifunctional Materials Integration (MMI) research initiative and the Multi-Functional Integrated System Technology (MIST) rely on both the state-of-art characteriation equipment as well as the deep technical knowledge of NMCF's team to provide answers about the physical microstructure, chemical make up and mechnical properties of the materials that will use to create the next generation of devices.  

    VIDEO: Multi-Functional Integrated System Technology (MIST)


    New technique added to Quanta 250

    April 11, 2019


    The  has FEI Quanta LV200 been upgraded has new environmental scanning electron microscopes (ESEM) software. Getting data is now even  faster than before.


    Samples of standards.