On Sunday, Tony and I received great instruction, both classroom and hands-on in the use of the SEM, or Scanning Electron Microscope. Wow, this is pretty impressive (and expensive!) technology. During his hands-on session, Tony looked at dirt on a computer microchip, and I looked at dirt and a crack on a computer "pin" of some sort. It is unbelievable, the level of detail we saw! At this point, we are only certified to use the machine, and not to prepare samples ourselves, but there are currently 8 samples located in the chamber to view. I had initially thought regular microscope slides samples could be used, but I don't think this is the case. Ryan, our teacher and SEM guru, said he would be happy to prepare and load samples for us in the meantime. There will also be a further class down the road to prepare samples, but neither the equipment / supplies or curriculum is available just yet.
For my future purposes, here is the link to the SEM page on the Pumping Station: 1 Wiki.