Acquisition of an X-Ray Diffractometer for a Shared-Use Facility Serving the University and the Region

  • Rowe, Harold (PI)
  • Arthur, Mary (CoI)
  • Li, Tonglei (CoI)
  • Rankin, Stephen (CoI)
  • Rimmer, S (CoI)

Grants and Contracts Details


The ability to rapidly and accurately characterize the mineralogical and/or structural composition of natural and fabricated materials is a general requirement across several research disciplines. A diverse group of researchers at the University of Kentucky has identified an analytical tool that 1) is in high demand across the campus, and 2) is best provided by the establishment of a shared-use facility. The proposed facility will house a modern, fully equipped Bruker AXS x-ray diffraction (XRD) unit and will serve at least twenty investigators in nine departments across four colleges. The analytical needs of researchers and students from at least two additional regional universities will be accommodated by the facility, which will be staffed by a full-time technical associate with a unique set of analytical, managerial, and instructional skills. The facility will make an immediate impact by providing essential access to research clusters in the geological sciences, environmental soil and forest ecosystem sciences, applied environmental sciences, and chemical/materials engineering and nanotechnology, thereby expanding the scope and greatly improving the research product of professional and student investigators currently funded through NSF and other national funding agencies. Because many of the research clusters at UK are focused on investigative and/or remedial aspects of environmental research, it is anticipated that the facility will provide a crossroads for discussion of environmental investigations and will, overall, foster a higher level of cross-disciplinary dialogue. The enhanced interdisciplinary, cross-disciplinary, and intra-institutional interaction of researchers will 1) improve mutual understanding of research objectives, 2) provide a broader scope for pursuing new scientific initiatives, and 3) promote the burgeoning interest for identifying current and future analytical needs that are best served under a shared-use charter. The proposed facility, overseen by the core group of users, is to be managed as part of an existing cost recovery center based on an annuallyaudited user fee. Because of the "shared-use" status of the facility, support will also be obtained through the UK Research Office, which maintains several core research facilities on campus. Broader impacts of the shared-use facility include 1) the enhancement of graduate- and undergraduate-level research capabilities that translates into more detailed, more complete research products and the acquisition of valuable analytical skills, 2) the integration of the proposed analytical tools into existing cross-disciplinary lab-based courses that currently incorporate NSFfunded instrumentation (IRMS, ICP, GFAA, XRF, IC), and, 3) the enhanced ability to recruit, educate, and train women, minorities, and those with disabilities. The overall outcome of these impacts is a tighter, more engaging environment for student researchers to be mentored by investigators at multiple levels (peers, technical associates, postdoctoral investigators, and senior professionals) from multiple disciplines representing unique backgrounds. The collective track record of the Pis and major users of the proposed initiative underlines their commitment to enhancing opportunities for all student researchers, with emphasis on training underrepresented groups and developing a stronger coupling between classroom-, field-, computation-, and laboratory-based education. Acquisition of the proposed instrumentation and further development of the 'teaching through research' focus will provide the new generation of scientists with the necessary skills that allow them to work freely and efficiently across several scientific disciplines. The current request constitutes a re-submission of a 2004 NSF-MRI proposal (#0420916) submitted by the same group of Pis. The proposal received positive reviews from the panel, and the current proposal has been modified to address the comments and criticisms of the previous reviewers which emphasized the need for 1) a stonger long-term facility maintenance and cost recovery plan, 2) a more detailed management plan, 3) a stronger justification for the "high-end" instrumentation, and 4) an estimation of sample throughput. The current proposal places greater emphasis on the aforementioned issues.
Effective start/end date9/1/058/31/06


  • National Science Foundation: $289,497.00


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