Women In Electron Microscopy - An Opportunity to Broaden Horizons

Author: Sarah Chapman

Women In Electron Microscopy- An opportunity to broaden horizons

Women In Electron Microscopy- An opportunity to broaden horizons

On April 20, 2016 an announcement was made that Harriet Tubman would be the new face on the American twenty dollar bill.  In many ways this is a significant event because it symbolizes recognition.  Harriet’s efforts were not to gain recognition for herself but nearly everyone that she knew and even for future generations to come.  Although the world is perpetually changing, some things still seem to stay the same.  One could wonder what change might occur from this small act of respect and appreciation.  It is this recognition and perhaps acceptance that many in our society still long for and desire.

The efforts of Mina Asghari Heidarlou and her female colleagues here on the campus of Notre Dame are working towards creating an avenue for women globally to be recognized and more accepted in their field of study and occupation.  Mina came to the University of Notre Dame from Tabriz, Iran with her husband in 2012.  She studies Electrical Engineering here on campus and has been quite active by serving as the President of the Notre Dame Electron Microscopy Club (NDEMC).  Mina recognized in her own country that women seem to be a minority in her field and are not always recognized for their worth in skills and knowledge.  There she belonged to a similar society that helped to highlight the talents of women in her field and build confidence in order to prepare women better for industry. 

Currently, Mina is working on fabrication and characterization of atomically thin layer two dimensional (2D) materials that is used for new generation transistors. These 2D materials are novel and promising materials for future nano-electronic devices; making nano-devices on these thin layer large-area materials should provide a systematic and statistically based assessment of the capabilities of these materials. Also, she is working on optimization of low leakage back gate oxide for mentioned transistors using high quality bilayer oxide. Because electron microscopy is a key metrology for nano-science and nano-technology, her research involves a wide variety of electron microscopy techniques including scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Dual Beam SEM and Focus Ion Beam (FIB) tool, high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and elemental analysis. 

As a President of NDEMC, Mina will be assisting in the 3rd Midwest Imaging and Microanalysis Workshop (MWIMW) that will be held on campus on May 17th and 18th.  She will be leading the spin-off meeting of female students on May 18th to meet and discuss women roles and career paths in science and technology with female professionals such as Dr. M. Zahozheva of DENS Solutions and to increase interest in women in the field of nano-science, nano-technology and nano-metrology.  She also will provide insight and share a personal representation of how she has been able to build a vast network to showcase her professional worth.  Mina’s work and focus in her field is directed towards nanostructures and nanodevices.  She feels that electron microscopy is vital towards the work that she is doing and is excited to be available to speak at such a conference.  The recognition that Harriet Tubman has received for her efforts is a prime example of how we can have a goal and work together to not only meet that goal but to provide more of a presence and a sense of recognition to those who so often get pushed by the wayside.  Women in nearly every country have been gaining momentum but perhaps it is this confidence when joined with a network of other women and colleagues that will truly provide opportunity.

The MWIMW  will provides students excellent opportunity to learn about new developments in electron microscopy and nano-technology from leading professionals from industry as well as from academic institutions within the Midwest.  This is an opportunity for students and faculty as well as the general public and surrounding areas to meet and congregate in one venue to explore emerging ideas and evolving technology/applications in the field.  This workshop will be suitable for all levels of knowledge/experience spanning from beginners who are starting to explore interest in the field to experts who are actively engaged in research and further developing their focus and careers.  For more information about the topics and times of each of the presentations please visit our website at https://ndiif.nd.edu/.

We encourage all to attend this workshop which has allowed the University to bring technology to campus and is invaluable for networking and to stimulate collaboration.  Sponsors and guest speakers that span over three states will be present. 

Originally published by Sarah Chapman at conductorshare.nd.edu on April 29, 2016.