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Speaker Abstracts

This is a partial list of Inter/Micro 2019 presentations that will be held on Monday-Wednesday, June 10-12, 2019 in the McCrone Lecture Room.

Abstracts and speakers are subject to change; check this page regularly for additions and updates.


Investigation into the Mechanism of Corrosion of a Pharmaceutical Glass Container
Richard S. Brown and Jake Spry — MVA Scientific Consultants
A glass container with surface corrosion on its internal diameter (ID) was examined using a combination of differential interference contrast microscopy (DIC), scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), and analytical transmission electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (ATEM). After mapping potential corrosion sites, the containers were cut with a diamond saw to expose the glass container’s ID surface for additional direct examination by DIC and SEM-EDS. Selected corrosion pits were thin sectioned using a dual beam focused ion beam secondary electron microscope (FIB). The thin section was subsequently analyzed by AEM to analyze the corrosion surface in cross-section. Sub-surface modifications of the glass were apparent by imaging the thin-section by ATEM and extended well below the surface corrosion observed by DIC and SEM-EDS.


Andreas Sigismund Marggraf and the First-Time-In-History Use of a Microscope to Prove the Identity of a Chemical Substance
Jan Burmeister
The life of Andreas Sigismund Marggraf, an 18th century Berlin chemist, will be portrayed in light of his most notable and economically important discovery (published in 1749), that Beta vulgaris contains sugar, which is identical to ‘ordinary’ sugar from sugar cane of tropical origin. The use of the microscope to prove the identity of the two compounds will be outlined as the first time in history that such an attempt was successfully made.


Continuing Adventures in Fluorescence
Charles Mazel — NIGHTSEA
NIGHTSEA primarily develops equipment for viewing and documenting fluorescence, both off-the-shelf and custom, and in doing so we encounter diverse opportunities and challenges. Some of these do not even involve fluorescence. This talk will review some of our experiences in the past year: what we have learned, what we are working on, and even how Inter/Micro itself proved invaluable in one project.


FTIR Analytical Method for the Identification of Cellulose Fibers
Jonas Hoeg Thygesen and Anders Juul Lawaetz — Novo Nordisk Pharmatech, Koge, Denmark
Regulatory agencies call for the identification and characterization of any intrinsic, inherent, or extrinsic particles present in pharmaceuticals. Among the many tools for particulate and foreign material identification, Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) microscopy has developed into one of the industry-standard workhorses. The common approach during FTIR microscopy includes measurement of the unknown fiber and comparison of the spectrum with a set of known reference spectra. This comparison is commonly based on correlation between the unknown and reference spectra. However, in the case of cellulose fibers, this approach does not allow distinction between, e.g., paper and cotton. Hence, the identification may stop once a particle has been identified as cellulose, thereby limiting the root cause analysis. This issue has been addressed at Novo Nordisk Pharmatech. Employing multivariate statistics, we have developed a method that allows us to discriminate between different cellulose fibers and to classify them into one of four groups: cotton, viscose/rayon, paper, and other cellulose fibers. This presentation will describe the knowledge gained during the development work and show how tools such as multivariate data analysis can be used to gain more insight from data already gathered.


Unwanted Connections — from Whiskers to Nanotubes
James R. Millette — Millette Technical Consulting
Electrically conductive particles, especially those with elongated morphologies, are an important concern in areas housing electronic equipment such as data centers. A number of catastrophic computer system failures have been attributed to zinc whiskers reported from zinc-plated floor materials. Metal turnings and wear debris from carbon fiber products can also provide the opportunity for unwanted connections (short circuits) between electrical components. Most recently, ultra-microscopic ‘fiber’ nanotubes have caused concern about unwanted electrical connections on the smallest scale. Microscopy is the best tool to find these very small electrical connectors among the dust particles that inhabit electronic information storage systems. Elemental analysis from scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) is very useful for zinc and other elongated metal particles. Transmission electron microscopy coupled with EDS (TEM-EDS) is necessary for the investigation of nanotubes.


The Ever-Expanding World of Microscopy, Imaging, and Microanalysis
John A. Reffner — John Jay College, CUNY
Today, microscopy is being stimulated by the barrier of the diffraction limit of resolution being breached. The ability of scanning probes to reach nano-spatial resolution and the integration of microscopy with spectroscopy is a new technology. Confocal fluorescence microscopy and near-field optical scanning microscopy are capable of resolving molecular structure. Photo-thermal infrared spectroscopy has demonstrated sub-micrometer spatial resolution and high quality infrared absorbance spectra. Combining scanning probe with tunable laser technology or synchrotron radiation makes molecular vibrational spectra with nanometer scale spatial resolution possible.

The tentacles of microscopy extend to many disciplines and levels of complexity. The circus of life seen with a microscope in a drop of pond water has inspired many to pursue scientific careers. The hand lens gave us the means to explore the minutia of a fingerprint or discover the many minerals in rocks and sand. The pathologist’s diagnoses of diseases, by studying the microstructure tissue sections, play a vital role in public health. Metallurgists and material scientists use microscopy in many ways to improve materials or to determine why materials fail. Where will the new technologies take us? How will we become educated about these technologies and their application to real-world problems?


Form Birefringence: Variable Birefringence?
Andrew A. “Tony” Havics — pH2, LLC
ASTM E2228 defines birefringence as “the numerical difference in refractive indices for a fiber, given by the equation: n|| – n⊥.” For crystals, it could be defined as the differences of refractive indices (RIs) of ε – ω for uniaxial crystals or γ – α for biaxial crystals. This is perhaps a simplification, as practical measurement of birefringence truly relates to the sum of four types of birefringence: intrinsic, form, strain, and circular. We will ignore circular birefringence for the time being and focus on linear birefringence. Most are aware of intrinsic birefringence and recognize it as being due to anisotropic periodicities in crystalline chain lattice that affect the velocity of linear polarized light. Many are also aware of strain birefringence, wherein stress modifies the polarizability of the molecules leading to a change of birefringence, typically from zero birefringence (isotropic) to some value of birefringence greater than zero. The concept of form birefringence has been limited in its description in texts and teaching materials for microscopy. Form birefringence could be described as the birefringence derived from a system of two periodically arranged components with anisometric forms with different RIs, where the size of the components must be small compared to the wavelength of light (< 500 nm). It comes in rodlet birefringence and layer or platelet birefringence. Form birefringence theory and practical examples help explain the phenomena and its observation in polarized light microscopy.


Three Char and Soot Fire Cases
Andrew A. “Tony” Havics — pH2, LLC
Over the past two decades, restoration of fire- and smoke-impacted buildings has increased dramatically. In response to these impacts, inspection protocols and microscopical analysis methods have been devised by the Restoration Industry Association, in cooperation with the Indoor Environmental Standards Organization. The analysis can be supplemented by the ASTM method on soot, if so desired. Other techniques can also be used to help identify or supplement identification of sources of fire impact and the level of impact. A set of three fire cases involving the analysis of char and soot are used to illustrate the methods and techniques available in these cases. Two of these were from two-story residential properties and the third is from a multi-story commercial property.


Polymerography: Chemical Etching of Polymers
Andrew A. “Tony” Havics — pH2, LLC
There are many polymers for which etching techniques have been published. These include:
• polyolefins: polyethylene (LDPE, HDPE) and polypropylene (PPE)
• polycarbonates (PC)
• polylactide (PLA)
• natural rubber (NR)
• butadiene rubber (BR)
• nitrile rubber (NR)
• polyvinyls: polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), polystyrene (PS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and polyacrylonitrile (PAN)
• styrene/acrylonitrile (SAN)
• acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
• fluorocarbon polymers: polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), polyvinyl fluoride (PVF), and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF)
• polyethers
• polyesters: polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
• poly(aryl ether sulfone)s (PAESs)
• aliphatic polyamides (nylon)
• aromatic polyamides: aramids (Kevlar, Nomex)
• cellulose polymers (CELL)

This presentation will cover the theory behind polymer etching, followed by examples of what etching can reveal with light microscopy.


The Mystery of Leeuwenhoek’s Canoe
Brian J. Ford — Cardiff University
Recent publications in London have shone an unexpected light on the work of the pioneering microscopist Antony van Leeuwenhoek. It seems that he produced wooden paddles; while the unendingly fascinating investigation of his original microscopical specimens, discovered after more than three centuries by the speaker, has now been recast in a very different light. Illustrated with the latest video reports, this presentation will attempt to rectify some current misapprehensions.


Plastics in a Refreshing New Light
Brian J. Ford — Cardiff University
The news is dominated by reports about the evils of plastic, and there is a rash of current books promoting the idea of a plastic-free future. Curiously, many plastics are biodegradable and can be metabolized by fungi, including Aspergillus and Penicillium, while expanded polystyrene has recently been shown to be a suitable foodstuff for insect larvae. Microbial polymers can offer us plastics for the future that are easily biodegradable, and even the massive drifts of plastic waste (like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch) could be usefully harnessed.


Force Feeding Physics
Brian J. Ford — Cardiff University
The current fashion for physics has encouraged the view that functioning of living microorganisms can be reduced to elementary constructs. However, many of the explanations under this Cartesian tradition are unduly simplistic, and their proponents fail to grasp the intricacies of living systems. In this presentation, we will contrast some current examples with the realities observed by microbiologists, proposing that greater effort should be taken to promulgate a more realistic interpretation of life under the microscope.