Hitachi teams with Clemson University on electron microscopy

Matches $1.65 million state award

CLEMSON -- Thanks to a partnership with Hitachi High Technologies America Inc. and the South Carolina Legislature, Clemson University now has one of the best university electron microscopy laboratories in the United States, giving researchers the capability to view molecules and atoms at several million times their actual size.

Hitachi High Technologies America Inc. has provided money that, when matched with a grant from the South Carolina Research University Infrastructure Act, resulted in $3.3 million worth of new and updated electron microscopes for Clemson University. The equipment, housed in the new Advanced Materials Research Laboratory, uses a beam of electrons to produce an enlarged image of a minute object.

"It is highly unusual for a university to have this quality of equipment," said Chris Przirembel, vice president of research and economic development. "With this investment, Clemson arguably has the finest university electron microscopy (EM) lab in the country for viewing objects at the atomic and molecular level."

Clemson has partnered with Hitachi High Technologies America for the last five years in electron microscopy.

"We are delighted with our strategic partnership with Clemson," says Robert Gordon, vice president and general manager of Hitachi High Technologies America Inc., Electron Microscope Division. "We are working hand-in hand in advanced materials research looking at emerging technologies in such areas as biomedical, pharmaceutical and automotive."

In advanced materials the backbone of such industries as automotive, microelectronics, chemicals and ceramics scientists look for new ways to make existing materials stronger and more efficient. Nanotechnology allows engineers to build materials atom by atom, giving them unprecedented control over their properties.

With this equipment, students and industry scientists alike can view or test microscopic samples of items that range from live cells to carbon nanotubes, which are typically one-hundred thousandth the size of a human hair.

JoAn Hudson, senior scientist at the electron microscope facility, says with the new $1.9 million KVTEM9500 electron microscope, scientists can see detail like never before.

"With nanotechnology, everything in research is getting smaller and smaller. This equipment is essential to becoming a top research university. We now have the capability to look at everything from cancer cells to imaging structures on the atomic level."

The S.C. Research University Infrastructure Act provided $1.65 million to Clemson for the equipment. Hitachi matched that award to create the total of $3.3 million. The university used the award to update or purchase, install and maintain three electron microscopes, adding to the five in the lab.

Joe Kolis, director of Clemson University Research Foundation, said this makes Clemson a key player in research and industry partnerships using this kind of equipment.

"We can manipulate, visualize and analyze just about anything here for industry. It's important to have it all under one roof in one place. At Clemson, it is a one-stop, efficient process. It is research capabilities like this that make industries and universities globally competitive."


Editor's Note: Digital photographs of the electron microscope are available online. To download the photographs, go to

WRITER: Susan Polowczuk, (864) 656-2063
e-mail: [email protected]

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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