South Dakota Mines Adds New Powerful Atomic Force Microscope to Boost Biological Research in Bioprocessing, Agriculture, Energy, Medicine and More

Dr. Sani in lab.

Rajesh Sani, Ph.D., a professor in the Karen M. Swindler Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and in the Department of Chemistry, Biology and Health Sciences at South Dakota Mines, has won an award from the National Science Foundation totaling $683,802, for a new atomic force microscopy-based infrared spectroscopy instrument, more commonly known as the “nanoIR3.”

“This powerful scientific instrument is the only one of its type in the region and it enables detailed imaging of biologic processes in resolutions a thousand times smaller than the thickness of a human hair,” Sani says. The nanoIR3 allows researchers to view cell activity and examine the critical interface between cells and various surfaces.

The nanoIR3 is helping to propel a wide range of research underway across campus related to developing a variety of technologically relevant bio-based materials and energy storage devices that will protect the environment, promote sustainable manufacturing, and enhance the agricultural economy in the state.

Sani is leading or assisting 17 research projects totaling more than $49 million in funded research. He says the nanoIR3 will be used in all his work. “Using nanoIR3, we will be able to answer many questions of biofilms grown from 2D materials,” he says. “The instrument will help South Dakota Mines become a hub for high-resolution AFM-IR integrated nanoIR3 support to researchers in South Dakota and the region.”

Various professors across campus also expressed their excitement at being able to use the nanoIR3.

…more here

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