In 1997, the physics department purchased a Scanning Probe Microscope (AutoProbe CP). The microscope was upgraded in early 2003 for $67,000, or which $33,000 went towards electrochemistry features.
The microscope is capable of atomic force microscopy, non-contact a.f.m., scanning tunneling m., magnetic f.m., and a few others. A small tip approximately 200 microns wide is attached to the end of a triangular cantilever. A laser is reflected off the back of the cantilever and into a photodiode, which tracks its vertical motion. In this way, a 3D map of the sample surface is created.
Past work has been done on carbon nanotubes and anaylsis of impurities in steel. Current work is being done in conjunction with the department's new vapor deposition system, specifically in analyzing the deposited material.