Innovators In Electron Microscopy

Kennedy Nguyen

  • Kennedy Nguyen

    Kennedy Nguyen is the Imaging and Microscopy Facility (IMF) Manager at the University of California Merced. Here, he discusses what is important to his users, how quickly they learn the instrument, the type of research they are engaged in, and more.

Kennedy Nguyen

“As a core facility we have various instruments being shared by the entire university. Each lab has specific users with research that involves the SEM. Usually I help in the initial phases of their research and once they’re comfortable on their own, they operate the tool themselves. This instrument is nice because it’s one of the easiest SEMs to use, in my opinion.

Kennedy Nguyen
Imaging and Microscopy Facility Manager
University of California Merced
Materials Science and Electron Microscopy
3 Years ZEISS-Specific EM Experience

Kennedy Nguyen is the current Lab Manager for the Imaging and Microscopy Facility (IMF) at the University of California, Merced. Nguyen is also an alumnus of UC Merced, graduating with a Masters in Biological Engineering and Small-scale Technologies in 2016. As the IMF manager, Nguyen trains students and researchers on how to use the equipment, such as microscopes, for their research. Topics may range from biology to physics and environmental sciences

What is the most exciting aspect of your role?

“We have a variety of researchers with different backgrounds in chemistry, physics, bioengineering, plant and microbiology. If they want to physically view something, I work with them. The most exciting aspect is that everyone is always researching something new. When you’re helping somebody out, they’re always doing something different that will contribute to science. Someone might work with plant fibers one day and with platinum nanoparticles on carbon another day.”

For decades ZEISS FE-SEM has been enabling researchers in facilities where new users need to hit the ground running. Kennedy Nguyen has been the IMF Manager for three years. He discusses different research projects and how quickly his students get up to speed on imaging with their GeminiSEM.

Do your users find the microscope easy to use?

“For a lot of researchers and users I’ve trained, after the first few times using the microscope, it’s like driving their car or riding their bike. Personally, I like the auto brightness and contrast; you can adjust resolution easily and there’s basically only two alignments – wobble and stigmatism. It’s convenient."

Are there any projects you’d like to highlight?

“It’s difficult because there’s so many different projects. I can give a few examples. There’s research on gold nanoparticles in liquid crystals. They image the liquid crystal gold particles which are broken up in shells. Liquid crystal is hard to image but they’re able to image it in our SEM when it forms spheres. Imaging of protein fibers has also been very interesting. The fibers are 10 – 20 nm in thickness and roughly 50 – 100 nm long. They can see the different fibers in the SEM and when they bring it to our TEM, they see similarities in the structure.”

What kind of samples do your users work with?

"Most of the time they’re looking at carbon nanotubes or small structures. Mostly hard gold, platinum, lots of materials samples. Our users look at biological samples too. We operate the SEM at 3 kV or lower almost all of the time for more surface information.”

ZEISS GeminiSEM for the Microscopy Innovator


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