NSF-MRI Funds Department of Chemistry Purchase of Cutting-Edge Confocal Raman Microscope


          A team of Department of Chemistry faculty lead by Dr. Sing Chong was recently awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation initiative to purchase a state-of-the-art confocal Raman microscope.  The NSF award, totaling $211,790, will allow the department to acquire a dual-wavelength Raman microscope with molecular mapping capability to support the research efforts of MTSU faculty and for training of undergraduate and graduate students.  This microscope will be capable of acquiring high resolution images with spatially resolved chemical information, allowing researchers to molecularly map heterogeneous samples encountered in analytical, materials, biological, environmental, archaeological, and forensic applications.     Additionally, this instrument can depth profile samples with varying composition as a function of sample depth and is capable of obtaining Raman data for samples such as catalysts over temperatures ranging from -196 to 600 °C.

         In addition to the added capabilities this grant provides, it will also support student research projects using Raman microscopy or spectroscopy in the departments of Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Geology, and Engineering Technology, as well as lead to classroom-based experiments on Raman microscopy for courses such as Biochemical Techniques, Instrumental Analysis, Archaeological Materials Analysis, and a new course in Raman microscopy.  Additionally, the acquisition of this instrument will strengthen spectroscopic training for STEM students planning to enter graduate schools or join the workforce in environmental testing, forensic investigation, and industrial chemistry research.

          This award follows a similar NSF-MRI award in 2016 to Dr. Keying Ding and others to purchase a single crystal X-ray diffractometer, currently housed in the Davis Science Building.  The department will continue to seek NSF support to improve major research instrumentation within chemistry and equip faculty and students to perform cutting-edge research.