Various common pollens as seen through an electron microscope.

The National Science Foundation, through a major research instrumentation program grant, awarded the College of Arts and Sciences’ Dewel Microscopy Facility at Appalachian State University $562,842 for a new scanning electron microscope (SEM).

The SEM contains detectors that allow for rapid, detailed analysis of materials and make Appalachian’s microscope the only one of its kind in the UNC system.

Since its installation last spring, the SEM is in heavy use for teaching and research across academic disciplines at Appalachian.

The tool is being applied in the Biology, Anthropology, Geological and Environmental Sciences, and Physics and Astronomy departments to further research in a variety of studies such as meteorite classification, metamorphism of ultra-high pressure rocks in the Caribbean, early fossil assemblages, the effect of climate change on Fraser fir trees, vascular changes during pregnancy and the microbial ecology of peat bogs, among a variety of other archaeological studies.

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Originally published Sept. 21, 2017.

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