For the first time, students were able to use the impressive new scanning electron microscopy (SEM) instrumentation that was installed and commissioned earlier this year in the Image and Analysis Unit.
This year, three prizes of £200 were awarded for final year undergraduate projects that the judges felt had made particularly good use of electron microscopy. The winners were Oliver Kitt, Benjamin Thompson and Hamidullah Waizy, whose projects are detailed below.
The judges were impressed by both Hamidullah and Ben’s ability to quickly learn to work independently on the SEM and EDS, together with the quality of EDS analysis undertaken and the effective use of elemental quantification in their projects.
They were also impressed by Oliver’s use of the high magnification images (obtained using the new Carl Zeiss Sigma FE-SEM) to provide visual evidence to support novel scientific findings, which would not otherwise have been possible, and was thus clear evidence of the important contribution SEM made to the project.
The prize is held within the University’s Image and Analysis Unit in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Science and awarded on an annual basis.
Course: BSc (Hons) Geology
Project supervisor: Dr Norman Moles
Project title: Petrography and geochemistry of metasediments and cherts associated with the Duntanlich barite deposit, Aberfeldy, Scotland.
Synopsis: The project utilised Zeiss EVO LS15 SEM and Oxford Inca X-Max Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS) system to investigate the elemental composition of geological samples. The results improve the understanding of the formation of barium-enriched metasediments and cherts at a Scottish geological site.
Images: Backscattered SEM images of thin section geological samples that were analysed for elemental composition using EDS.
Course: BSc (Hons) Geology
Project supervisor: Dr Martin Smith
Project title: A post-magmatic evolution of the St Austell granite, Cornwall: Alteration and mineralisation.
Synopsis: Benjamin’s project was centred on SEM EDS analysis of his samples.
Images: Backscattered SEM images of a thin section geological samples were analysed for elemental composition using EDS, to investigate the post-magmatic evolution of kaolinised areas at a Cornwall geological site.
Course: BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences
Project supervisor: Dr Ian Cooper
Project title: Investigating the morphological changes of Klebsiella pneumoniae biofilms on biomedical devices after exposure to sub-therapeutic concentrations of anti-bacterial actives.
Synopsis: The project utilised high resolution FEG-SEM to investigate the morphological changes to bacteria and biofilms in response to exposure to anti-bacterial agents.
Images: (Left) High resolution (x100,000 magnification) FEG-SEM image displaying biofilm formation and possible ‘pioneer colonies’. (Right) High resolution (x360,000 magnification) FEG-SEM image showing bacterial cells with connecting pili for plasmid exchange.