Thursday, June 28, 2012

Imaging pollen on the SEM. Progress!

I have been working with the scanning electron microscope at Eastfield College for about four weeks and have finally made some progress on high magnification with high resolution.

Today I selected a flower from one of the planters on campus - a penstemon I believe.

I took one of these pretty little flowers back to the lab and used our Leica dissecting scope to make some images.

Now on to the SEM. (The image below is inverted so it is in the same orientation as the one above.)  Right away you see that the resolution and depth of field with the SEM are pretty sweet!

But what about those black specks in the middle of the image?  Pollen!

Part of a stamen.  (190x)

Pollen grains.  (1000x)

Pollen grains.  (3000x)

Pollen grains.  (5000x)

Pollen grains.  (10,000x)

I took me several hours, but these are the best high resolution, high magnification images I have made with the SEM.  It turns out to be a bit of an art, but I am learning.

A reminder that I am looking for science classes that would like to see and use the scanning electron microscopes at Eastfield.  I am particularly interested in students in the Dallas / Fort Worth area who might be interested in attending Eastfield.

Spread the Word!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Scanning Electron Micrographs and ART

I have had great fun the last week or so colorizing some of my electron micrographs with photoshop.  Turns out it is an amazingly simple thing to do.  Here are some of my current favorites.  Enjoy!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Have Scanning Electron Microscope - Will Travel

I have changed careers from a high school classroom teacher to the (long title) Scanning Electron Microscope Lab Coordinator for Eastfield College.  Eastfield belongs to the Dallas County Community College District and is in Mesquite, TX.

Eastfield owns and operates two Hitachi scanning electron microscopes.Our big scope is S3400-N capable of 300,000X magnfication. This is the big boy. I have been using the scope for about two weeks now and, though my skills have increased exponentially, still have a lot to learn.  A LOT.

Eastfield also has an easy to use, portable electron microscope - Hitachi TM-1000 capable of 10,000X magnfication.  Notice that this scope is on a rolling cart and can be transported in a van.  This scope is so easy to use that, once it is set up, which takes me about 20 minutes, I can have students making images in less than 10 minutes.  Below are a some images of a butterfly wing that I made yesterday using this scope. Note the magnification at the bottom right of each picture.

Needless to say, I am in biology heaven.

Here is the cool part:

(1) If you are a teacher living within about 30 miles of Eastfield College, contact me and I will bring the portable SEM to your classroom for your students to use. 

(2) If you are within driving distance of Eastfield College and want to do reasearch, contact me and we will set up a time for you to come to the lab and I will support your research.

(3)  If you are no where near Eastfield, contact me and I will Skype with your classes, explain how SEMs works, and do some imaging.  You can send me samples that I can image for you.

My time and use of the scopes is free.  The only catch is I have to charge you for mounting tabs - small tabs cost 15 cents each and large tabs cost 55 cents each.  At most you would use only a couple of each.  In other words, your costs would be a few dollars at most. 

I am asking to be a collaborator in your classroom whether it be biology, physics, chemistry, geology, forensics, art, etc.

Murry Gans
Scanning Electron Microscope Lab Coordinator
Eastfield College

It All Begins Here!