News

January 2017
MARL is switching from the venerable ORS scheduler to CORAL. It will allow instrument logging in addition to scheduling. That should allow us to phase out the paper logbooks.

The system will use ISU NetIDs to validate users.

Reservations and use will require a valid account number in advance. Users will need to notify staff of changes to account numbers before a session can be logged to that account.

Please be patient with us as we make this significant change.


Summer 2016
MARL installed a heating stages for the X-ray powder diffractometer. It can heat samples up to 500K (227C). Contact Scott Schlorholtz to discuss its use.


May 2015
MARL installed a new Amicus X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer (XPS) system from Kratos. XPS reveals the chemical nature of the elements (i.e., bonding state) as well as analyzing their relative abundance. It is particularly sensitive to the top few nanometers of sample. It is also equipped with an ion mill for fast removal of material which permits studies of the chemistry with depth. Contact Dapeng Jing or checkout the XPS instrumentation page for more details.


April 2015
Jerry Amenson retired as manager of MARL after 46 years of service to the university. Warren Straszheim has assumed managerial duties while continuing as the point-of-contact for scanning electron microscopy and x-ray ray analysis.

Dapeng Jing was hired as a new staff member. His primary duties will be in the operation of the new Amicus XPS system (see May news). He will also assist with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive analysis (EDS) as time permits.


July 2014
MARL launches new website.


March 2014
MARL has updated the Oxford Instruments Aztec EDS system to version 2.2. It adds capabilities for large area mapping (montaged x-ray maps).


July 2013
MARL has upgraded equipment for microscopy, thermal analysis, and x-ray fluorescence. Funding was provided by the Iowa State Regents Innovation Fund, the Office of Biotechnology, the College of Engineering, and MARL.
The FEI Quanta SEM has been upgraded with the addition of a heating stage. It offers dynamic, in-situ analysis of samples over a temperature range from ambient up to 1000°C. Software allows for creation of movies showing changes with temperature.
The thermogravimetric analyzer has been replaced with a TA Instruments Discovery TGA system. It is used for measuring weight changes as samples are heated in a controlled atmosphere from ambient up to 1200°C. It is fully automated with a 25-position auto-sampler and a gas-switching/blending module. It also offers automated sample pan piercing while in the selected atmosphere. Off-line analysis software is available for installation on an unlimited number of user computers. 
For x-ray fluorescence, a new, automated sample fusion system from PANalytical has been installed. It permits unattended fusion of one or two samples at temperatures up to 1200°C. It also provides in-furnace pouring which allows for the crucible and casting dish to be at the same temperature. 


May 2013
MARL has updated the Oxford Instruments Aztec EDS system to version 2.1. It adds capabilities for Auto-Phase in conjunction with x-ray mapping.


April 2013
The FEI SEM has been upgraded with beam deceleration and a concentric backscattered (CBS) electron detector. Beam deceleration allows the use of lower voltages (a few hundred volts) while maintaining image quality. The CBS detector is more sensitive at lower voltages and will replace our split-ring BSE detector for many applications. The concentric rings allow for choosing the energy of the backscattered electrons that are detected especially when using beam deceleration.


December 2011
MARL has purchased and installed an Oxford Instruments Aztec EDS system on the Quanta FEG 250 SEM. This system has an 80 mm2 detector to allow x-ray analysis under lower beam currents (smaller spot sizes) than is normally possible. The system also includes Oxford's Tru-Map software which allows for background removal and deconvolution of overlapping elements.


June 2010
MARL has purchased and installed an FEI Quanta-250 field-emission with high vacuum, variable pressure, and extended vacuum (i.e., environmental) modes of operation. The FEI's stated resolution is just over 1 nm which is a three-fold improvement over MARL's previous JEOL and Hitachi SEMs.