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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

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University of Ulster Opens FEI Center for Advanced Imaging

University of Ulster has opened the FEI Centre for Advanced Imaging in Northern Ireland. The center will provide a suite of FEI (Hillsboro, Ore.) electron microscopes for all major research areas within the university's Biomedical Sciences Research Institute. It will also support academic research from other faculties within the university and beyond, including industrial R&D for the university's industrial partners within the region.

The new center is equipped with a suite of FEI tools including a Quanta™ ESEM (environmental scanning electron microscope), a Tecnai™ cryo TEM (transmission electron microscope), and a Nova NanoLab™, the world's first DualBeam™ (scanning electron microscope/focused ion beam) system to provide cryo applications. Advances incorporated in the Nova NanoLab were developed through close collaboration between FEI and Dr. George McKerr of the university. The new center is funded in part by a 1.3 million pounds sterling investment by the Department for Employment & Learning and the Office of Science & Innovation through the UK Science Research Investment Fund (SRIF) 2006-08.

"We are very pleased to have FEI as our microscopy partner for the university's new center for Advanced Imaging," said Professor Stephen Downes, director of the Biomedical Research Institute. "The advanced performance of these systems and their flexibility will truly enable the center to meet the demanding challenges faced by users and serve the multidisciplinary focus of the centre and our partners in the region."

Some of the leading applications at the center will focus on addressing potential hazards related to nano-enabled technologies. According to Professor Vyvyan Howard, head of the university's Bioimaging Research Group, the pioneering technology of the new center will enable the University of Ulster to become a world leader in supporting the safety of the next generation of nanotechnology products.

"We intend to be recognized as one of the world centers of excellence for investigating nanoparticle toxicology," said Howard. "There will be a lot more work to do in the coming years because every single product that is developed containing free nanoparticles will have to undergo a toxicological safety assessment. With funding procured within the last few months the new center will have five highly qualified research scientists working full time in this area."

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