Taking a closer look into microscopy


The devices inside the Electron Microscopy building are capable of magnifying materials up to 4,500 times and etching out words on microscopic surfaces completely invisible to the naked eye.

Delta College’s Electron Microscopy program trains students to effectively use Electron Microscopes to peer into surfaces typically unseen.

With advanced eye pieces and goggles for use, students from France to Cambodia, have learned and practiced how to effectively use the multi-thousand dollar microscopes.

“It’s nice to have this program like this here, especially when they are harder to find,” said Matthieu Dailly, a Delta College student from France. “The machines are fantastic and the instructors are a great help.”

Electron microscopes have the power to see materials typical light microscopes cannot, including the ability to “magnify an object several million times,” according to the department’s page on the Delta website.

Faculty members include instructors Jonathan Krupp and Frank Villalovos and lab supervisor Kathy Davis.

According to program instructor Villalovos, the use of these microscopes paired with computer monitors and towers can be utilized to look into a variety of materials, electronics and organic substances from insects to tissue to plants.

Cutting-edge industries, such as computer science, require workers to use microscopes to look at circuit boards and functionality.

“Even in a four year you won’t get access to this equipment,” said Colby Mcnamee, a Delta College student of two years, “I came here for the microscopy program. I love it.”

The program wasn’t originally a direct microscopy training but a tangent of an engineering lab later developed to specifically teach students to use some of microscopes still in use today.

Some of the original microscopes in the campus lab are ETEC SEM, a Siemens Elmskop 1 TEM and a Hitachi HU1, purchased in 1973.

The number of microscopes since then have grown exponentially in the use of students and faculty members helping with the advanced and complicated machinery.

Programs offered are dependent on the subfield an individual would be focused on such as biological, crystalline materials or industrial materials.

The program also offers multiple certificate and degree opportunities including an Associate in Science, Electron Microscopy – Biological and Associate in Science, Electron Microscopy- Materials or Certificates, Electron Microscopy- Biological and Certificates, Electron Microscopy – Crystalline Materials.

These options are all able to be completed with 64 units for an Associate’s Degree and 54 units for a Certificate of Achievement.

Starting Spring 2017 semester, Delta College will be the only community college to offer these programs for students.

Mattieu Dailly starts up his equipment in the microscopy lab. Photo by Ramon Zuniga.