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Tirzah AbbottTirzah Abbott, SEM Laboratory Manager


What technical expertise do you offer?

“My main role here is to assist the users and help them get the most out of the instruments for their research. I’m familiar enough with all SEM microscopes to train users to use them and characterize their materials. I’ve been working a lot recently and have just started going full force into wave dispersive spectroscopy. I’m drawn to this technique because it’s useful for looking at trace elements in crystals that are formed in nature.”

How do you facilitate research collaboration?

“I don’t do primary research (yet) so I don't specifically collaborate with other researchers… I think if I were to facilitate collaboration it would be by offering advice and resources for researchers to connect with other researchers and equipment within NUANCE.”

What inspired your interest to work in this field?

“So my background is in geology. When I started studying geology I wanted to be a micro paleontologist and I used the SEM a lot during (that phase of my education). There’s a whole other way of looking at the history of life from a paleontological standpoint on the micro scale. I was drawn to micro paleo because you have large sample size and it can tell you a lot about environmental conditions at the time. … I just love science in general! I also love teaching and interacting with students. I wanted to stay in science but not necessarily in academia. … The idea of learning more about (electron microscopy) excited me. My journey made this feel like the perfect next step.”


What are the everyday practical applications of your research/work? How does what you’re doing make a difference to non-scientists?

“I know Jinsong does a lot of work that has a lot of applications in terms of electrical devices (like batteries) that will be applicable to everyday life sometime in the future. I’ve worked with people that look at toothbrushes, hair, contaminations on smaller electronic pieces… There are a lot of things that we don’t realize when we look at things that we use every day that have nano- or micro scale components that need to be analyzed.”

What excites you most about the future of nanotechnology?

“The things that excite me the most are the applications that help solve larger, harder problems. The things I continue to learn excite me.”