UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

August 1, 2008
Susan Beasy Latto, Director, UMD Public Relations 218 726-8830
Bryan Bandli, Laboratory Manager, Swenson College of Science and Engineering (218) 726-7362
James Riehl, Dean, Swenson College of Science and Engineering (218) 726-6397
John W Goodge, Professor, Dept. of Geological Sciences (218) 726-8486

UMD Installs High Tech Scanning Electron Microscope

Allows Scientists to Examine Materials in Great Detail
Without Destroying Material Itself

Currently Being Used to Examine Taconite Mining Particulates

Pollen Grain
Pollen Grain

Mosquito Proboscis
Mosquito Proboscis

Human Hair
Human Hair

Through a $400,000 grant by the National Science Foundation, the UMD Swenson College of Science and Engineering and the Department of Geological Sciences has purchased and installed a new scanning electron microscope (SEM) on campus. The new SEM is the only instrument of its kind in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin at a public institution.

According to UMD Professor of Geological Sciences John Goodge, the very specialized electron microscope is capable of extraordinarily high resolution imaging allowing UMD scientists to see in much more fine detail than possible with the standard optical microscope (see images here below). The microscope (SEM) is able to resolve (see) features 25,000 times smaller than a human hair. The microscope can also provide direct chemical analysis of materials without destroying the material itself.

The SEM will be used both for teaching and research in the departments of Geological Sciences, Biology, Chemical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, and will be made available to outside non-profit and industry groups. Bryan Bandli has been named Laboratory Manager. He oversees and facilitates the research needs of various user groups and manages the operation of the laboratory.

The SEM is currently being used to characterize airborne particulate produced from taconite mining.

"It will be a virtual micro analytical 'toolbox'," said Professor Goodge, "providing UMD faculty and researchers with many capabilities for detailed analyses that were never before possible."

"As nanotechnology becomes more and more prevalent in modern manufacturing, providing students access to tools such as the scanning electron microscope will be critical to help make them more competitive in the workplace," said Dr. James Riehl, Dean of the Swenson College of Science and Engineering. "Also, as part of the University's outreach mission, we want to provide the greater community access to research tools of this caliber," continued Dean Riehl.

For further information regarding the laboratory and the new microscope, please call Bryan Bandli, SEM Laboratory Manager at 218-726-7362 or email at A website detailing the capabilities of the new instrument is under construction at

Images from new Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) at University of Minnesota Duluth

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