Building Materials : Microscopic Images

Very well done page showing mostly SEM images of buliding materials.

I love it when images are presented that show how beautiful everyday materials can be when imaged at the microscopic scale. The folks at Healthy Heating have done just that. Microscopy of building materials has created an entire industry, based initially, on identifying and quantifying asbestos. This has evolved into any possible indoor air contaminant including mold and chemical irritants.

Artistic use of SEM images

Those crafty folks in CA love their public artwork. An artist in La Jolla has created a public mural using a micrograph of beach sand taken with a scanning electron microscope. See an article about the work here.

DIY scanning electron microscope

OK, here's a project for all the do-it-yourselfers out there. Build your own SEM! This guy did it and does a really good job of explaining how an SEM actually works.

I guess first hand knowledge on how one is put together really helps to understand the fundamentals of how all the pieces work together to make a microscope.

Makes me wish I had more time and a better supplied garage.

Hitachii FE-SEM updates

Hitachii High-Technologies announced today that it is updating it's family of high resolution FE-SEM instruments, the SU8000 family. Their FE-SEMs are best in class in terms of resolution and they offer several detector configurations and stage/sample chamber options. The release also gives interesting tidbits on how many of these microscopes are already installed and their projected sales figures for the updated line.

Here's what they had to say in their press release.

Very Small (and temporary) Holiday Greeting

Some folks at the University of Leeds, with a ton of holiday cheer, (and perhaps not enough work to do) have created a video showing how they put a Merry Christmas greeting onto a snowflake. The fine folks at Wired Magazine have the details.

Arsenic Bacteria SEM Image

The big science news of the day is the announcement by NASA that their scientists have found a species of bacteria that thrives in an arsenic rich environment and is unlike any other life forms on our planet. While the ramifications of this announcement are significant, a minor part of the announcement on was the use of a scanning electron microscope image on the front page! The link is to the article, but the SEM image was the eye candy used on the CNN main page this afternoon.

ASPEX "Name That Sample" Contest - Week 6!

It's time again for the latest installment of the ASPEX "Name That Sample" contest! They have an image of some random thing collected with one of their PSEM instruments

The week 5 image was tough, fly ash isn't something the average Joe (or Jane) would think of, or even know about, but it is an interesting material. This week's image looks just as tough, could be almost anything, but at least they put a scale marker on this image!

Good Luck!