Meet the MCF Staff: Neal Lewis

Monica Cooney

Jan 8, 2024


For Neal Lewis, the transition from CMU's Nanotechnology Laboratory over the past year has allowed him the opportunity to use his expertise on familiar tools, as well as to learn about new equipment in the Materials Characterization Facility. Lewis keeps the Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM) and other instruments operating smoothly, and will play a key role as new instruments are added to the facility this year. 

How or why did you get involved with MCF?
I was working for the Nanotechnology Laboratory here at CMU when a position opened with the MCF. Being a materials scientist with a background in microscopy, I decided to apply because I missed characterization quite a bit. I ultimately decided my knowledge and expertise is more useful to the CMU research community in the MCF.

Is there a particular equipment in the facility that you are most familiar with? 
I work with the SEMs and FIBs mostly. In terms of experience, I’m most familiar with our Quanta 600 SEM because I’ve used one at other schools in the past. Since joining the MCF I have made an effort to learn as much as possible about our Tescan Mira SEM, which isn’t one I’d seen before. There are modes on the Mira that aren’t common to all SEMs, so that is quickly becoming my favorite as I learn more and more about the microscope.
Neal Lewis

What's your favorite part about working at MCF?
Getting to see all the devices and research that went on in the Nanofab while I was there has been really cool. As a materials scientist I always wanted to characterize processes and devices in the cleanroom as much as possible. Now I’m getting to do that and be a resource for students between the two facilities. I’ve always enjoyed working with students to help progress their research, and that is still the most rewarding part of working at CMU. 

What is one thing you would want the campus community and its partners to know about MCF?
The variety of techniques we have available and how accessible the instruments are. We have new equipment coming in over the next six months and it will be exciting to see our capabilities grow and improve as we bring everything online. 

What do you like to do away from MCF?
I like to play golf as much as possible in my free time. Moving to Pittsburgh from North Carolina has limited the amount of golf I can play, so I like to cook and bake as an indoor activity. I also spend a lot of time with my dog.