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Pitt establishes $1.8 million partnership with Fischione Instruments for new sample preparation lab at Swanson School of Engineering

PITTSBURGH (January 27, 2016) … Citing the need for “excellence and innovation” in preparing samples for materials research with its suite of electron microscopes, the University of Pittsburgh announced the creation of a new Laboratory of Excellence in the Swanson School of Engineering. The Fischione Instruments Electron Microscopy Sample Preparation Laboratory was established through a public/private partnership with E.A. Fischione Instruments, Inc. (Export, Pa.), a company that designs and manufactures sample preparation technologies for electron microscopy and microanalysis research.

The five-year partnership will house the Fischione Lab in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science’sMicro Materials Characterization Lab and will enable collaborative research between Pitt and Fischione Instruments. The partnership value includes equipment purchased by Pitt from Fischione Instruments, as well as engineering support and expertise from the company.

“This new lab will enhance both the use of our materials characterization instruments and the quality of the work done with those instruments,” noted Brian Gleeson, PhD, the Harry S. Tack Chair Professor and Department Chair of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. “Controlled and efficient preparation of samples is critical to electron microscopy research, and thanks to this partnership with E.A. Fischione Instruments, Pitt will have a world-class facility.”

The public/private partnership creates a collaborative environment for Pitt faculty, staff and student researchers, Fischione Instruments’ applications scientists and engineers, and researchers within the region.

“This is a win-win partnership that enables our company and Pitt to leverage our skills and provide access to next-generation characterization and analysis instrumentation,” added Fischione Instruments CEO Paul E. Fischione, an alumnus of Pitt’s mechanical engineering program. “As the CEO of a company with a 50-year history of providing technology and manufacturing jobs in western Pennsylvania, I believe that it is vital that we invest in our region’s economy and people – which includes providing tools and support for emerging scientists and engineers. Giving undergraduates and graduates access to this equipment will expand their technological skills and improve their research results. It supports their growth as scientists, as well as increases their marketability to prospective employers.”

According to Professor Jörg M. Wiezorek, PhD, who directs the Materials Micro-Characterization Lab in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, the ability to conduct high-quality research involving microstructural and micro-analytical studies by electron microscopy and ion- and X-ray beam methods relies on the ability to prepare clean, artifact-free specimens.

“When you are studying surfaces and materials at a nanometer scale, it is imperative that the samples be free of contaminants and prepared efficiently and reproducibly to yield superior results,” Dr. Wiezorek said. “This new lab and partnership allows us to prepare samples on-site in a state-of-the-art environment. It serves a critical role in our research into the internal structure, composition and chemistry of engineered and naturally-occurring materials and facilitates meaningful and mutually beneficial engagement of communities here at Pitt with a well-known high-tech manufacturing company located right here in our region.”

About Pitt’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

The Swanson School’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) has core strengths in the traditional areas of bioengineering, manufacturing, microsystems technology, smart structures and materials, computational fluid and solid dynamics, and energy systems research. The department has access to more than 20 laboratory facilities that enhance the learning process through first-rate technology and hands-on experience. With the largest population of faculty and students in the Swanson School, MEMS offers traditional bachelor’s degree programs in materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering, and engineering science, as well as master’s degrees and certificates in mechanical engineering, materials science and engineering, and nuclear engineering, and PhD degrees in materials science and engineering and in mechanical engineering.

About Fischione Instruments
E.A. Fischione Instruments, Inc. is a privately held corporation located in Export, Pa., that designs, manufactures, and supports sample preparation instrumentation for advanced materials and nanotechnology applications. For 50 years, Fischione Instruments products have been used around the world in electronics, energy, industrial, life science, and research laboratories. The company’s mission is to provide the highest quality, most innovative instrumentation to the microscopy community. Pursuit of this mission has yielded three innovation awards from the industry journal Microscopy Today and numerous U.S. and international patents.


Pictured above from left: Jörg Wiezorek, Paul Fischione, Brian Gleeson

Contact: Paul Kovach