Additional Participants


Matthew Hooge

Graduate Student

Regina Pfistermueller

Technician, Programmer

Justin Crouse
Kelly Edward

Other Participant

Martin Sorensen
Peter Funch

Project Period

August 15, 1999-July 31, 2002

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number


Submission Date



Biological and Materials research at the University of Maine will be strongly impacted by the acquisition of a Laser Scanning Electron Microscope as a result of this NSF-MRI award. The Leica confocal unit, along with an upright and inverted microscope and digital camera will form a multi-user facility for campus researchers working with a range of biological and materials problems. Initially, 13 faculty members from 8 academic departments have projects planned for the instrument. The microscope will be the first of its kind on the University of Maine campus.

A wide range of research problems will be attacked through use of this instrument in conjunction with existing instrumentation. Examples include: Biological research projects involve understanding the maintenance of bone structure through mapping of the distribution of proteins, the reproduction of algae in troubled marine ecosystems, and bacterial or viral diseases of fish. Additionally, improved understanding of fundamental microbe-plant symbiosis and wood decay processes will allow for future applied research to attack economically and socially important problems.

The development of biofilms for sensors of biological and chemical warfare agents will be aided through film characterization using this instrument. This $10 million effort is a University/private industry/Department of Defense partnership.

Materials-related research includes determination of morphology and fracture of wood-based composite material, microfracture characterization of cement-based materials, and characterization of paper roughness. This work, along with environmental scanning electron microscopy and X-ray microtomography, is focused on the measurement of microstructural mechanisms of material behavior and its improvement through subsequent processing changes. The ultimate benefit will include more efficient use of natural resources, better performance and lowered product costs.

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