Lab Tour: Welcome to ACMAL

By Allison Mills | Published

ACMAL stands for Applied Chemical and Morphological Analysis Lab. In other words, it's THE lab on campus where basic science and fundamental materials engineering happens.

We politely call our University Marketing and Communications floor the "garden level." Anyone who has desperately looked for apartments knows that means "basement."

A lot of creativity happens in our basement. But we don't always get to see where the magic happens—or rather, The Science. So every once in a while, we set up lab tours; this time we visited ACMAL and got to see some of our most important and widely used research equipment on campus.

Lab Tour: Applied Chemical and Morphological Analysis Lab

What happens when the Michigan Tech writers and print folk and webmasters escape their garden level offices in the Admin building? Lab tours. We toured ACMAL, one of the core facilities on campus, where almost every STEM field comes to gather crucial data to characterize materials.

We joined several scientists and engineers on the ACMAL tour. They showed us equipment in each room used to characterize everything from sheets of metal to new minerals to solar panels to medical devices.

XRD: X-ray Diffraction

FIB: Focused Ion Beam

Note: tweet typo--that should be *focused, not forced and really the "cuts" are "electron beam transparent cuts" etched into a material's surface.

XPS: X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscope

TEM: Transmission Electron Microscope

Sorry for no photos of the room--it was too dark for good ones. But we're getting a new one anyway, so stay tuned for even better images.

SEM: Scanning Electron Microscope

Tweet typo note: the original question was asked in inches, but it would have been better to frame the issue of scale in centimeters vs. millimeters vs. nanometers vs. microns. Long live the metric system.

FESEM: Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope

Thanks for joining the tour. Check out more http://mcff.mtu.edu/acmal/

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.