College of Science and Engineering


X-ray diffractometer will be installed in ISELF building

Monday, September 17, 2012

St. Cloud State University will get an X-ray diffractometer, which is used to study light and diffraction in X-rays and allows researchers to examine what’s inside a material without destroying it. It costs $350,000.

The university will get $120,000 from the state. The company is reducing its price, and the university will have to raise $140,000 by December.

“It is really going to provide our students, faculty and local industry with knowledge of a basic analytical technique that is widely used in academia and industry,” said Russ Lidberg, an assistant professor of chemistry and physics.

X-ray diffractometers are used in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, mechanical and electrical engineering, geology, earth science, ecology and anthropology.

The money for St. Cloud State is part of a $1.2 million equipment appropriation going to 15 colleges and universities in the state system. It is a combination of $457,000 the Legislature approved and more than $700,000 raised from Minnesota businesses.

St. Cloud State’s diffractometer will be installed in the Integrated Science, Engineering and Laboratory Facility, or ISELF, which is under construction on campus. It is equipment that St. Cloud State has wanted to acquire for several years. Its cost makes it rare at a university the size of St. Cloud State, which has more than 17,000 students.

The X-ray diffractometer will be available for others. The university would rent time on the machine, Lidberg said.

“We are not saying it is just for St. Cloud State students and faculty. It is a regional asset,” Lidberg said. “It is basically to help students and faculty to help economic development in the region.”

The new machine will complement the atomic force microscope and a scanning electron microscope the university has, Lidberg said.

Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, who chairs the higher education committee, said she and other lawmakers toured universities last year and saw the need for money for additional and improved equipment.

“It will be a wonderful addition to the ISELF building,” Fischbach said.

From Dave Aeikens of the St. Cloud Times
Sept. 12th edition

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