P.C. Rossin College of
Engineering and Applied Science
Professional association honors electron microscopy expert for outstanding leadership and innovation

Masashi Watanabe, an associate professor of materials science and engineering and a former president of the Microanalysis Society (MAS) has been recognized by the professional association as a member of its inaugural class of Fellows.

The MAS Fellow distinction was established to recognize MAS members—influential scientists, engineers, and technologists in the field of microanalysis of materials and related phenomena—who have “distinguished themselves through outstanding research, outreach and teaching, and service to the microanalysis community,” says current MAS president Rhonda Stroud.

“We take pride in recognizing those among us who excel and lead us toward greater achievement,” says Stroud. “Such recognition helps the young see the paths that have been successful.”

Watanabe, who served as the MAS president from 2016 to 2018, was honored for outstanding leadership in analytical electron microscopy and the pioneering development of zeta-factor technique for quantitative STEM-XEDS microanalysis.

Other MAS Fellows elected into the inaugural class include Charles Lyman, professor emeritus of materials science and engineering and a former MAS president, and Lehigh alum Joseph R. Michael ’85 PhD, a senior scientist/engineer at Sandia National Laboratories. The MAS Fellows were honored in August during the Microscopy & Microanalysis 2019 Meeting in Portland, Oregon. 

“The achievements of these three exceptional scientists are not a surprise to anyone in our community and reflect on Lehigh's strength in the field of electron microscopy,” says Wojciech Z. Misiolek, chair of materials science and engineering and director of the Loewy Institute at Lehigh.

Watanabe's research emphasizes materials characterization using various electron microscopy approaches involving analysis via X-rays and energy-loss electrons in analytical electron microscopes (AEMs) and atomic-resolution high angle annular dark-field (HAADF) imaging in scanning transmission electron microscopes (STEMs). He developed the zeta-factor method for quantitative X-ray analysis and implemented multivariate statistical analysis (MSA) for spectrum images of X-rays and energy-loss electrons. 

“It is a high honor to be part of the inaugural class of MAS Fellows,” says Watanabe, whose work is supported by federal grants from the National Science Foundation, as well as by industry (including Bechtel Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory, Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, and Northrop Grumman/Nano TEM Inc.). “It confirms that the research activities we are so deeply focused on are headed in a direction that’s supported by the greater microanalysis community.”

Watanabe is affiliated with Lehigh’s Materials Characterization Facility as an associate director under the Institute for Functional Materials and Devices (I-FMD) and has served as an organizer and lecturer for the world-renowned Lehigh Microscopy School since 2001. He has been a lecturer in for other microscopy schools, including the Arizona State University Winter School on High Resolution Electron Microscopy (since 2008) and the Nano Science Education Program in Osaka University in Japan (since 2015). 

Watanabe has more than 250 research publications in scientific journals and conference proceedings, and has given more than 150 invited presentations and seminars at numerous conferences and institutions. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the  K.F.J. Heinrich Young Scientist Award from the Microbeam Analysis Society (2005), the Kazato Prize from the Kazato Research Foundation (2008), and the Seto Award (the Society Award) from the Japanese Society of Microscopy (2011).

Masashi Watanabe
"It is a high honor to be part of the inaugural class of MAS Fellows. It confirms that the research activities we are so deeply focused on are headed in a direction that’s supported by the greater microanalysis community."
Masashi Watanabe, associate professor of materials science and engineering