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Virtual world is sign of future for scientists, engineers
Date:7/16/2008

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University is operating a virtual environment that enables scientists and engineers to interpret raw data collected with powerful instruments called dynamic atomic force microscopes.

The online tools, believed to be the first of their kind for the instruments, represent a research trend, with tools for other applications also being developed, said Arvind Raman, a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering.

"We will see more and more of this sort of thing for many other types of instruments that are being used around the world," he said. "This allows researchers to spend more time doing research and less time and money developing simulations."

More than 300 researchers from around the world have used the "virtual environment for dynamic atomic force microscopy," or VEDA, since it went online about a year ago.

The virtual environment is described in a research article featured as a cover story in the June issue of the journal Review of Scientific Instruments, published by the American Institute of Physics. The article focuses on two simulation tools needed for atomic force microscopes.

"This is a hardware-based journal and they put a virtual instrument on the cover, which should tell you that people regard this as a practical tool," Raman said. "I think it shows that even in that community there is a feeling that the cyberinfrastructure can really be used in beneficial ways for the experimental scientific community."

The online tools are provided through the nanoHub, operated by the Network for Computational Nanotechnology at Purdue, led by Mark Lundstrom, Purdue's Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

"These are the first Web-based simulation tools for atomic force microscopy available online," Raman said. "There are a dozen or so research groups around the world with the capability of doing accurate simulations the way we do
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Contact: Emil Venere
venere@purdue.edu
765-494-4709
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert  

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