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Electron Microscopy Facility

Hitachi Fellowship

The Hitachi High-Tech Electron Microscopy Annual Fellowship provides $25,000 each year to support a graduate student using the Clemson University Electron Microscopy Facility to conduct research as part of their doctoral studies. Hitachi has been a long-time supporter of the Electron Microscopy Facility, helping to create the high-tech lab in the mid-1990s and establishing the fellowship in 2014. Nominations for the Fellowship are accepted each Fall.

Hitachi Fellowship Recipients

2023 Recipient: Afreen Sultana

Food, Nutrition and Packaging SciencesAfreen at left with faculty advisor Scott
Advisor: Scott Whiteside
Clemson University Ph.D. student Afreen Sultana is working to engineer higher barrier, biodegradable, paper-based packaging enhanced by cellulose nanocrystals taken from the proliferate kudzu plant.

Nearly 400 million tons of plastic waste is generated globally each year, only about 9 percent of which is recycled, according to the international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Paper-based packaging holds promise as an environmentally friendly, biodegradable alternative to petroleum-based plastics. The problem, however, is that paper is permeable to liquids, water vapors and gases. Current cardboard packaging often relies on synthetic polymer coatings to protect its contents. Recycling such materials can be challenging and costly.

Sultana is working to strengthen starch-based coatings by using cellulose nanocrystals taken from the invasive kudzu plant to improve paper-based packaging’s resistance to liquids and gases. For the starch, Sultana extracts from pearl millet, a summer hay crop that is inexpensive to grow. She’ll analyze materials at the molecular level using advanced equipment at Clemson’s Electron Microscopy Facility to finetune these biofilms.

Sultana is studying under the supervision of professor Scott Whiteside in the Department of Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences. Whiteside noted that Sultana has published nine research publications in the past three years and has successfully worked closely with packaging industry partners on sustainable packaging research.

  • 2022 Recipient: Zehua Jin

    2022 Recipient: Zehua Jin Zehua Jin
    Chemical Engineering
    Advisor: Ming Yang
    Jin is doing research on the development of advanced catalytic materials to convert carbon dioxide into value-added chemicals. The research aims to support the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and production of renewable fuel. Jin is studying electrocatalytic carbon dioxide reduction, a process by which catalysts are added to solids or liquids to induce beneficial chemical reactions. In this case, Jin would selectivity disperse platinum-group metals (PGM) as isolated atoms on copper nanoparticles.

  • 2021 Recipient: Hongkui Zheng

    2021 Recipient: Hongkui Zheng Hongkui Zheng
    Materials Science and Engineering
    Advisor: Kai He
    Zheng is working to develop and implement transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques that will allow for the investigation of materials used in batteries. Most battery materials contain lithium, which is highly reactive with air. Zheng is working on a method to safely transfer material into the vacuum within the microscope without exposure. He also is working to cycle the battery within the microscope to mimic its working condition in a real battery cell. Then, he can watch the real-time evolution of the structures and chemical reactions.

  • 2020 Recipient: Saheem Absar

    2020 Recipient: Saheem Absar Saheem Absar
    Mechanical Engineering
    Advisor: Hongseok Choi
    Ph.D. student Saheem Absar is using advanced electron microscopy techniques to analyze the effect of nanoparticles on the behavior of gas bubbles during the solidification of molten metal. Knowledge gained through Absar’s experiments could be useful for controlling the pore formation during the manufacture of metal foams. Metal foams are lightweight, energy absorbing materials that are desirable in automotive and aerospace applications.

  • 2019 Recipient: Allison Domhoff

    2019 Recipient: Allison Domhoff Allison Domhoff
    Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
    Advisor: Eric Davis
    Domhoff, a chemical and biomolecular engineering student, is working to develop nanocomposite materials for batteries that support energy generation at large wind and solar farms. The technology could reduce the cost of renewable energies, thus making them more prevalent in utility portfolios. Electron microscopy allows Domhoff to research nanometer-sized particles in the battery’s membrane so she can manipulate its surface chemistries to improve battery life and performance.

  • 2018 Recipient: Kathryn Peruski

    2018 Recipient: Kathryn Peruski Kathryn Peruski
    Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences
    Advisor: Brian Powell

    Using Hitachi’s super-magnifying microscopes, Peruski has captured the miniscule fragmenting of neptunium, a radioactive byproduct of nuclear power generation that is stored underground. Through her research, Peruski hopes to better understand what causes neptunium to break so engineers can design effective storage methods for nuclear waste. She analyzed several neptunium samples exposed to environmental variables and documented their changes over time.

  • 2017 Recipient: Brandt Ruszkiewicz

    2017 Recipient: Brandt Ruszkiewicz Brandt Ruszkiewicz
    Automotive Engineering
    Advisor: Laine Mears
    Ruszkiewicz used Hitachi electron microscopes at Clemson to examine how a super-strong type of aluminum reacts to electricity. His research could lead to new ways of forming and joining together automotive parts. This work could help make cars lighter and more fuel efficient.

  • 2016 Recipient: Monsur Islam

    2016 Recipient: Monsur Islam Monsur Islam
    Mechanical Engineering
    Advisor: Rodrigo Martinez
    Islam was using renewable resources instead of coal and petroleum to create carbides that are important for products ranging from surgical tools and jewelry to hot-gas filters and shock absorbers. Using the Hitachi microscopes. Islam was able to examine the properties of the carbides he creates. He can see critical elements that are invisible to the naked eye, such as porosity, composition and grain size. Islam can then make adjustments to the mix of raw materials that go into the carbide.

  • 2015 Recipient: Zhaoxi Chen

    2015 Recipient: Zhaoxi Chen Zhaoxi Chen
    Materials Science and Engineering
    Advisor: Fei Peng
    Chen's research was based on the development of coatings for high-speed jets and protection for electrical equipment in harsh environments.The lab’s electron beam microscopes allow researchers to magnify specimens at a much higher resolution than optical light microscopes. One of the lab’s microscopes - the H-9500 Transmission Electron Microscope - is so powerful it can make individual atoms visible.

  • 2014 Recipient: Yunsong Zhao

    2014 Recipient: Yunsong Zhao Yunsong Zhao
    Electrical and Computer Engineering
    Advisor: Lin Zhu
    Zhao’s work was focused on making semiconductor lasers powerful while maintaining good beam quality for use in research and industry. The microscopes use electrons to magnify specimens at a much higher resolution than optical microscopes. The super-magnification has a wide range of uses in research and industry. For example, electron microscopes are used for quality control, computer-chip manufacturing and analyzing viruses.

Electron Microscopy Facility
Electron Microscopy Facility | AMRL Building 81 Technology Drive Anderson, SC 29625