First Under the Microscope winner selected!

Porcupine quill

Porcupine quill

In March 2023, the Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre (nmRC) launched its new public engagement initative called Under the Microscope where members of the public were asked to submit suggestions for items to be imaged by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). After the entries were shortlisted and put to a vote by staff at the nmRC, the winning entry was A Porcupine Quill suggested by Susannah Goh who explained her reasoning behind the choice, saying "Porcupines are always rather fun and interesting in all of their aspects".

It turns out that porcupine quills are rather fun to study using electron microscopy. The quill obtained was first coated in gold to make it conductive for SEM and then imaged using the JEOL JSM IT-200 SEM by our electron microscope technician Lorelei Robertson. The imaging showed that the exterior surface was scaly/flaky at the microscale which is completely unexpected when you view a quill with the naked eye. The quill was also cut in half to examine the cross section and was shown to consist of support segments (similar to that of an orange). Results are shown below.

If you would like to suggest an object to be imaged by electron microscopy for next month, don't forget to visit our Under the Microscope website here

Under the Microscope April_Porcupine Quill


Posted on Monday 24th April 2023

Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre

Cripps South building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 95 15046
email: nmcs@nottingham.ac.uk