World's most powerful microscope is up and running at UTSA

Microscope

From left are UTSA President Ricardo Romo, Professor Miguel Yacaman, John Alexander, Emory Hamilton, Helen Groves and Caroline Forgason. (Photo by Mark McClendon)

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(May 11, 2010)--Through the generous support of a $1.2 million gift from the Robert J. Kleberg Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation, the world's most powerful microscope is now up and running at The University of Texas at San Antonio. The JEOL transmission electron microscope model JEM-ARM200F will propel the development of new cancer therapies and disease treatments by allowing nanotechnology researchers to see samples magnified 20 million times their original size.

"We now have access to resolutions that will give us a tremendous scientific advantage to solve problems that need to be attacked," said Miguel Yacaman, professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the UTSA College of Sciences. "We'll be able to watch nanoparticles behave one atom at a time. This is the Holy Grail for us."

UTSA will house the new microscope in the Kleberg Advanced Microscopy Laboratory, a specially designed space on the Main Campus that inhibits intrusive vibrations. Its atomic resolution will propel world-class research in nanotechnology, biology, chemistry, geology, engineering and medicine. Yacaman's team of researchers already is using the microscope to study how to develop optimally shaped nanoparticles that will be placed on a tumor and with an infra-red laser will pinpoint and burn away the damaged cells without harming surrounding healthy cells.

UTSA also will use the microscope to study Alzheimer's disease, to develop new materials and for many other applications. The microscope will be accessible to researchers around the world, operating every day around the clock. The ARM200F, nicknamed "Helenita" for Helen Groves, is the fourth UTSA microscope to be funded by the Robert J. Kleberg Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation and the seventh addition to the university's microscopy lab.

"The board of the Kleberg Foundation is pleased to have been part of bringing this state-of-the art microscope to the wonderful state of Texas and UTSA to enable UTSA and its researchers to continue to advance their knowledge for the benefit of all of us in South Texas and beyond, and I'm honored to have the microscope named after me." said Helen Groves, president of the Robert J. Kleberg Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation.