Home > SVCPulse > News Archive


Public Relations
Posted: Friday Jul 27, 2012

July 27, 2012

A Hitachi Variable Pressure Scanning Electron Microscope (VP SEM) has been acquired by the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing at Saint Vincent College for student research in the instrument laboratory of the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion. Hitachi High Technologies America, Inc. (HTA), whose Nanotechnology Systems Division (NSD) distributes VP SEMs, recently donated the sophisticated microscope to the College.

“HTA has made quite a gift to Saint Vincent,” commented Dr. Paul Follansbee, James F. Will Professor of Engineering Science at the Boyer School, an experienced VP SEM user who will train students to utilize it in their senior research projects. The need for a microscope capable of viewing extremely small samples at a magnification of more than 100,000 times was identified by Dr. Follansbee during his teaching and research over the past four years. “We have a very impressive digital imaging laboratory which is state of the art,” Dr. Follansbee noted. “It utilizes the commonly used optical microscopy. But this new instrument is capable of viewing objects at far beyond the 1,000 times magnification of an optical microscope.” Electron microscopes are capable of viewing viruses, biological samples, metals, electronic or polymeric materials, micro-particles, nanomaterials, and other samples.

This achievement by Saint Vincent was born from an informal meeting with HTA at the annual Materials Science & Technology Conference in Columbus, Ohio last fall. “While I was visiting the trade show displays, I wanted to see the Hitachi microscope which is considered the very best instrument available,” Dr. Follansbee explained. “After that visit, Saint Vincent submitted a proposal to HTA. An HTA representative visited our campus and was quite impressed with our new Science Pavilion. As a result of our proposal, when the model S-3200N microscope became available, HTA was generous enough to donate it to Saint Vincent. We are very fortunate to have acquired this new addition to our laboratory.”

The donated Hitachi microscope, model S-3200N, is Hitachi’s fourth generation VP SEM. According to HTA, the S-3200N incorporates high-speed digital electronics and a column and chamber design to achieve the highest performance available when the model was released. A mouse-controlled graphic user interface and many automated functions provide ease of operation and flexibility for both novice and experienced users.

On behalf of HTA, Phil Bryson, General Manager of NSD, commented, “We are pleased to have this opportunity to engage with Dr. Follansbee and his colleagues in their pursuit of elevating the programs at Saint Vincent College. We live in an increasingly “nano” world, and we believe access to Hitachi VP SEM technology will accelerate learning by Saint Vincent students.”

“This instrument will be used primarily by our chemistry and biology students doing undergraduate research,” Dr. Follansbee said. “I would expect students to develop concepts for research projects that utilize this new capability. One student is already exploring the feasibility of doing a forensic study of oil paintings that will involve analyzing the chemical paint elements and how they have changed over the centuries.”

“Experience in using this equipment will be very valuable to students who are planning to continue to graduate school or to go into research after they graduate,” Dr. Follansbee said. “They will be standouts.”

Dr. Follansbee predicted that the availability of the VP SEM should also be impressive to college-bound students who are interested in studying science. “Scanning electron microscopes are not commonly available for student use in undergraduate laboratories,” he noted. He is in the process of acquiring from local materials companies some material samples that can be viewed in demonstrations by students and other visitors interested in seeing the capabilities of the equipment.


Photo: Dr. Paul Follansbee demonstrates the newly-acquired Hitachi scanning electron microscope in the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion at Saint Vincent College Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing. 


Follow us on Twitter: @SVCPublicity
Like us on Facebook: Saint Vincent College Public Relations


About Hitachi High Technologies America, Inc.:
Hitachi High Technologies America, Inc. (HTA) is a privately-owned global affiliate company that operates within the Hitachi Group Companies. HTA sells and services semiconductor manufacturing equipment, analytical instrumentation, scientific instruments, bio-related products as well as industrial equipment, electronic devices, electronic and industrial materials, consumer electronic products, wireless mobile telephones, and hard disk manufacturing systems. HTA has sold and supported scientific instruments in the U.S. for over 40 years. For further information, please visit the company’s website at http://www.hitachi-hta.com. Hitachi is a registered trademark of Hitachi, Ltd.