NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is developing a successor to the Hubble telescope and the Mars Rovers with help from Lehigh’s aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopes and its Nano- and Micro-Mechanical Behavior Laboratory (NMBL).

Lehigh is the only university in the world with two aberration-corrected TEMs, which can determine the chemical identity of individual atoms in crystalline materials. The university has hosted an annual two-week microscopy school, the largest of its kind, since 1970.

Under a cooperative agreement signed in 2006, NASA will support three research projects at Lehigh, including Production and Properties of Advanced Nanomaterials, as well as Design and Reliability of NEMS and MEMS.

Lehigh’s NMBL will help researchers design and test the microshutters that will serve as an aperture on the new James Webb Space Telescope. NMBL’s instruments can characterize the mechanical behavior of nanometer-thick metal films in the extreme temperatures of space.

The NMBL and the aberration corrected TEMs are housed in Lehigh’s Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology (CAMN).

CAMN is directed by Martin Harmer, professor of materials science and engineering, who received a Research Award for Senior Scientists from Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2006.

CAMN is also collaborating with Harvard, Rice, Georgia Tech, UCLA and the Illinois Institute of Technology to study the economic and environmental impacts of nanotechnology. The project is funded by a grant from NSF’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center.

CAMN also receives nanotechnology research funding from two Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers – the Pennsylvania MRSEC and the National Science Foundation MRSEC at Carnegie Mellon University. Martin and Andrea Harmer also lead the Materials Pennsylvania Coalition, through which Lehigh and five other Pennsylvania schools use web-based technologies to share courses.

In 2005, Small Times, the nation’s top business journal devoted to micro and nanotechnology, ranked Lehigh third among the nation’s universities for “micro industry outreach.”