NTC obtains scanning electron microscope

Nov 6th, 2012 | By | Category: 24-2: The Future of the Tribal College Movement, Tribal College News
By Daniel Vandever

In attempt to enhance its programs of study in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, Navajo Technical College (NTC, Crownpoint, NM) obtained a scanning electron microscope (SEM) through a National Science Foundation grant to be used for various forms of instruction and research.

The scanning electron microscope images a sample by scanning it with a beam of electrons in a raster scan pattern. The electrons interact with the atoms that make up the sample producing signals that contain information about the sample’s surface topography, chemical composition, and other properties such as electrical conductivity.

The SEM has many advantages over traditional microscopes in that it has a large depth of field which allows more of a specimen to be in focus at one time. The SEM also has much higher resolution, so closely spaced specimens can be magnified at much higher levels and in a three-dimensional image. Magnification in a SEM can be controlled over a range of up to six orders of magnitude from about 10 to 500,000 times.

According to Dean of Instruction Dr. Casmir Agbaraji, the SEM will be used for several of NTC’s programs of study including industrial engineering, environmental science and natural resources, material science, and various biomedical sciences.

“With this microscope I’ll have a better knowledge of what my degree program has to offer,” says industrial engineering major Julian T. Smith (Jemez Pueblo). “The machine will be best for all the programs at Navajo Tech that are into technical research, but I want to get into quality assurance or health care and be a field tester.”

For more information on NTC’s scanning electron microscope, please contact Dr. Casmir Agbaraji at (505) 786-4113.

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