I met Rachel’s friend from college, Laura. Laura has the awesome job of being a researcher at MSU in their ICAL (Imaging and Chemical Analysis Laboratory). Of particular interest was Laura’s job of operating the scanning electron microscope!
So of course I asked if we could have a tour! Not only did we get a tour, Laura even let me operate the machine! Oh yes folks, I got to operate a scanning electron microscope!
The first we used was the Zeiss SUPRA 55VP Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope providing ultra high-resolution at low kV with resolutions of 1.7nm1 at 1.0kV2. Laura had a spider sample prepared and so we decided to use that. Here are some of the pictures I took:
We also got to use the JEOL JSM-6100 Scanning Electron Microscope, which is quite a bit older, but just as cool.
It works a bit different from the FM-SEM, using Secondary Electron Imaging (SEI) and Backscattered Electron Imaging (BEI). Rachel has a stainless steel ring she likes to wear, so we through that in and took a look at it under the scope:
I was pretty much like a kid in a candy store. I had an awesome time and got to add a new item to my Christmas list for next year.