Swiss Army Knife of Science – Collaborations & Research Instrumentation

This blog post comes at a time when our center is probing the nano-bio interface (see prior blog entries below) with one of the largest collection of scientific research instrumentation to which I have ever had access. The Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology has researchers at 5 universities across the Midwest as well as the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington. By working in a multi-institutional team, each center member has direct access to each university’s analytical facilities, as well as the many state-of-the-art instruments housed at Pacific Northwestern National Laboratory. Plus, there’s bound to be at least one, if not more, expert in one of our institutions who knows how to do a particular experiment well.

This is my swiss army knife. Look at all it can do! Super multi-functional, just like our interdisciplinary research center.
This is my swiss army knife. Look at all it can do! Super multi-functional, just like our interdisciplinary research center.

Want to measure exactly how small our nanoparticles are? Use a zeta sizer, transmission electron microscope, or atomic force microscope. Need to know what’s surrounding a nanomaterial once it’s been in contact with a cell membrane? Use nuclear magnetic resonance, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, or atomic force microscopy. Wish to know if certain nanomaterials attract certain molecules within a biomembrane? Use structured illumination microscopy. Need to know how many nanograms of a given nanomaterial are attached to particular interface? Use a quartz crystal microbalance. Want to know the charges of a nanomaterial attached to an interface? Use nonlinear laser spectroscopy