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Powerful microscopes to give UT research a boost

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News,Science and Technology

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The University of Tennessee is boosting its research capabilities with two new powerful electron microscopes.

George Pharr, with UT's Joint Institute for Advanced Materials, told the Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/ZA9Lr6) you can't do good research without good microscopes. And these are really good.

The $2.5 million Zeiss Libra 200 transmission electron microscope is one of only four or five like it in the world. The microscope is housed in a 12-foot-high column, is about three feet in diameter and weighs more than a ton. It has a magnification power of 1 to 10 million times.

The Joint Institute for Advanced Materials includes a team of scientists from UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Lead scientist Gerd Duscher and facility manager John Dunlap said there are numerous uses for the Libra, which is so powerful that it can image individual atoms.

"We are working with companies in the semiconductor business to make new power transistors that you need for electric cars," Duscher said.

Dunlap added, "We have a group studying the by-products in milk and yogurt. They're looking at better ways to pasteurize products before going to market. It takes a microscope like we have to see the small protein molecules."

The school's second new microscope is the $1 million Zeiss Auriga crossbeam, with a magnification power of 100,000.

Both microscopes will eventually be housed at a new Joint Institute for Advanced Materials facility that is expected to open in late 2014 or early 2015.

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Information from: The Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com

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