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Portland State University Showcases ONAMI Signature Research Facility
Author: David Santen, Office of University Communications, 503-725-8789
Posted: October 16, 2006

ONAMI Executive Director Skip Rung speaks at dedication ceremony.

In ceremonies that included a panel discussion by leading researchers from universities and industry, and tours of the new facility, Portland State University unveiled its Center for Electron Microscopy and Nanofabrication (CEMN) this past Friday, October 13.

The CEMN is a signature research facility of the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnology Institute (ONAMI), a collaboration between Oregon’s research universities, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories and industry partners. The Center provides researchers with state-of-the-art facilities for the characterization, measurement and fabrication of nanoscale materials and devices. Researchers from participating institutions are able to access the CEMN by visiting the facility at PSU, or through remote-access high-speed Internet connections—enabling critical research to take place throughout Oregon.

“The Center for Electron Microscopy and Nanofabrication symbolizes PSU’s commitment to a partnership to make Oregon a national powerhouse in nanotechnology,” said PSU President Daniel O. Bernstine. “It is the result of hard work on the part of many people: our faculty, our students, our donors, industry leaders, the state legislature, and Senator Ron Wyden and the entire Congressional delegation, all of whom made nanotechnology a national priority. The Center affirms the role that research plays in providing our students with a high quality undergraduate and graduate education.”


Dignitaries tour CEMN facilities.

The CEMN trains students in advanced research techniques, preparing them for employment in Oregon’s high-tech economy. In addition, CEMN facilities provide technical expertise and otherwise unavailable access to state-of-the-art instruments for small and rapidly growing companies throughout the Portland metropolitan area. The development of this Center coincides with Portland State’s rise in sponsored research in recent years, growing from $15.4 million in 1995–1996 to over $40 million in 2005–2006.

Oregon Congressman David Wu called completion of the CEMN, “a significant step for Oregon and the entire nation,” and said that it was PSU’s way of “putting down a marker and saying, ‘We are here to compete.’” Rep. Wu also spoke about the Center’s importance in enabling Oregon universities to conduct the basic research that leads to new discoveries that help support and expand the economy.

Jun Jiao, CEMN director and PSU professor of Physics emphasized the Center’s mission of “serving as a training ground for students, including high school and middle school students,” as well as students at other colleges, through programs such as the National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates, which focuses on research that utilizes electron microscopy.


Students from CLASS Academy learn about nanoscience at PSU.

A panel discussion, moderated by Skip Rung, ONAMI executive director, highlighted ways in which the Center already supports ongoing research around the state. Panelist and OHSU Professor Magdalene So talked about discovering the Center at a time when her own research into bacteria and their powerful “motors” had reached a technological hurdle. The CEMN enabled her research to continue, resulting in images that “made my skin crawl,” joked Prof. So.

Media interested in touring the facility should contact David Santen, University Communications, 503-725-8789, or


Technical information about the Center for Electron Microscopy and Nanofabrication
Housed in the lower level of Science Building 1 (1025 SW Mill St., Portland), the 5,700-square-foot facility houses the most sophisticate array of characterization tools at any university in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to a prototype of a new tabletop scanning electron microscope manufactured by FEI Company, delivered just days before the dedication, the CEMN includes:

* FEI Tecnai F-20 Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM): A field emission, high resolution microscope equipped with an embedded scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM), a Gatan Imagine Filter (GIF), and an EDAX energy dispersive x-ray spectrometer (EDS). The comprehensive capabilities of this instrument make it a powerful tool for studying the structural and chemical properties of materials at an atomic scale.

* JEOL 100CX Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM): a low-acceleration voltage microscope equipped with a brand new CCD camera. This microscope is not only suitable for biological materials characterization, but is also an ideal tool for teaching and training.

* FEI Sirion XL30 Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM): A field emission high resolution SEM equipped with a high resolution Oxford EDS. The microscope can be operated both at low acceleration voltage (less than 1kv) an high acceleration voltage (30kv), and is capable of surface structural characterization and chemical composition analysis.

* FEI Strata DB-237 Dual Beam Focused Ion Bean (FIB) System: An SIE/FIB workstation equipped with gas injectors, EDS, STEM, and TEM sample preparation (nano-manipulator and flip stage, etc.) capabilities. The system is capable of nano-depositing, nano-prototyping, nano-machining, nano-characterization and nano-analysis.

* Specimen Preparation Lab: A facility well-equipped with various preparation tools for both TEM and SEM sample preparations.

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Source: Donald McClave (503-725-5025)
PSU Office of the President