Honorable Mention - Ben Myers

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Staff, NU’s Atomic and Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center

“Silicon Peaks”

Modern electron microscopes are typically limited to the analysis of dry, solid materials. But, there is a range of interesting scientific questions that could be answered by examining nanomaterials in liquid form. However, when liquids are placed within the microscope they evaporate. Myers is working to develop a way to contain such liquids. One method involves etching pits into silicon to create nanoscale containers with electron transparent windows. These windows allow electrons to pass through, so Myers can “see” the sample, while the liquid remains sealed inside.

This image shows silicon during the etching process. Myers often takes images during the process to inspect the etch quality. 

Technique: Scanning electron microscopy, false coloring