Newsletter August 2014

MCL Newsletter logo
MCL Inc. | Materials and Chemistry Laboratory, Inc. | Linking Technology to Solutions |
Welcome to the MCLinc Newsletter
In this issue of the MCLinc newsletter you will find articles on:

• X-ray Diffraction at MCLinc
• Roane Imagination Library Thanks MCLinc
• CASA “Helping Hands” award
• Upcoming events
• The MCLinc customer appreciation Ice Cream Social
• Educators in the Workplace
• MCLinc’s Summer Intern, Lindsay Holt
• The first wedding at ETTP, held at Heritage Center
• Tennessee Valley Corridor (TVC) Summit

X-ray Diffraction at MCLinc
By Dr. Mark R. Colberg

Figure 1 Figure 2

When x-rays are mentioned, most people recall images of broken bones and internal organs. Like radio waves, x-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, unlike their lower energy counterparts, x-rays can pass through living tissue (as well as other materials) allowing us to image the interior of the body. The medical uses of x-rays alone justify giving the very first Nobel prize in physics to their discoverer, Wilhelm C. Röntgen, in 1901. Besides their uses in medicine, x-rays have proved to be an extraordinarily powerful tool in studying everything from atoms to galaxies. In astronomy, the study of x-ray sources lead to the observational discovery of black holes, which appear to form the cores of most galaxies. On a more down-to-earth scale, x-rays are used to study the elemental composition of materials, and to determine the arrangement of atoms in crystalline solids.

The atoms in crystalline solids are arranged in a geometric pattern, or lattice. Within the lattice, atoms are arranged along planes which diffract (or scatter) x-rays, a phenomenon known as x-ray diffraction (XRD). The simplest way to visualize XRD is to think of the x-rays “reflecting” off of numerous stacked, parallel mirrors. When a beam of x-rays strikes a crystalline solid, the x-rays are diffracted (“reflected”) from the crystal at angles that depend on the spacing between lattice planes (“mirrors”), and the angle between different sets of lattice planes. The manner in which x-rays are diffracted from a crystal is controlled by “Bragg’s” law discovered by the father and son team of William H. Bragg and William L. Bragg. For their discovery, both were awarded the Nobel prize for physics in 1915.

FIgure 3

Different crystalline materials, having different chemical compositions and unique arrangements of atoms in their lattice, will diffract x-rays in unique ways. Because of this, XRD provides powerful tools for studying crystalline materials. At its most basic (and possibly most important) level, XRD provides information about the structural arrangement of atoms in newly discovered or newly studied materials. For example, studies of his type are used to characterize newly discovered minerals, monitor how atoms rearrange themselves under extreme pressure conditions, and study the arrangement of atoms in proteins and other biomolecules. Indeed, XRD was the essential tool needed to decipher the double helix structure of DNA (even more Nobels here).

Figure 4

A second powerful application x-ray diffraction is to identify and quantify unknown compounds in natural, industrial, and environmental materials. XRD data for thousands of inorganic and organic materials is stored in numerous, readily available databases. XRD data can be collected from single crystals on film, but most common methods record diffraction data from powdered samples on a spectrum-like plot called a diffractogram. An unknown material can be identified by matching it’s diffractogram to diffraction “finger prints” stored in a database. Diffraction data for many thousands of inorganic and organic materials have been collected in numerous databases.

MCLinc uses powder x-ray diffraction in a number of ways, including;

  • Identification of unknown compounds: For relatively pure materials, material identification is a relatively simple process, especially when coupled with compositional data obtained using SEM/EDS. Knowing what elements are present can drastically narrow down possible identifications.
  • Identification of unknowns in a mixture: This is not as straight forward as the identification of a pure compound. In this case, the diffraction patterns for a number of compounds are superimposed leading to a complex series of peaks in a diffractogram. It is the analysts job to interpret the diffractogram and separate the superimposed diffraction patterns. These interpretations are facilitated by elemental data, and the knowledge and experience of the analyst.
  • Estimated proportions of components in a mixture: XRD data can be used to estimate the proportions of materials in a mixture using the height if peaks in a diffractogram. However, since the height of a peak in a diffractogram depends on factors other than the quantity of a component, this method should be considered semi-quantitative at best.
  • Quantitative analysis: Numerous methods are available for the quantitative analysis of x-ray diffraction patterns. A commonly used method, the Reference Intensity Ratio (RIR) method, is based on the diffraction characteristics for a pure material. RIR data is for many compounds, but this data is far from complete. Tabulated RIR values are also highly dependent on sample preparation and instrument settings that are outside of the control of a laboratory using the RIR data. Because of this, MCLinc uses standards-based methods where necessary. MCLinc has developed quantitative XRD methods measuring quartz, chrystobalite and trydimite (silica polymorphs) for ceramic and fused silica sample for a number of clients. Quantitative methods for other materials can also be developed.

Figure 5

MCLinc uses a RIGAKU MiniFlex II powder diffractometer equipped with a high count DTEX II detector. With this combination, MCLinc analysts can very high quality, low noise diffractograms needed for material identification and quantitative analysis. MCLinc used the PDF-2 database from the International Center for Diffraction Data (ICDD) which currently contains over 799,700 entries. Other databases are available when needed.

Dr. Mark R. Colberg, the Technical Manager of Microscopy at MCLinc, received his PhD in geology from the University of Georgia in 2001. Dr. Colberg specialized in mineralogy and metamorphic petrology, and has nearly 20 years of experience with optical and electron microscopy, as well as x-ray diffraction. Prior to coming to MCLinc, Dr. Colberg taught in the geology departments of Central Michigan University and Southern Utah University.

Roane Imagination Library Thanks MCLinc


Roane Imagination Library wishes to thank Materials and Chemistry Laboratory, Inc. for its continuing support. Materials and Chemistry Laboratory, Inc. has been a lead contributor for the last two years. Such contributions are essential to the operations of our literacy program. Of equal importance is the willingness of Materials and Chemistry Laboratory, Inc. to help us address the ever-present issue of sustainability.

During our current fundraising campaign Materials and Chemistry Laboratory, Inc. has offered to match dollar-for-dollar the first $2,000 in donations made by individuals who are willing to make a 3-year pledge to Roane Imagination Library. This incentive is working. While we are still in the early days of the campaign, approximately one third of the donations are accompanied by the 3-year pledge. This is extremely important to our future and Materials and Chemistry Laboratory, Inc. made it possible.

The mission of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is to provide free, age appropriate books to all preschool children; to instill in the children a love of books and reading; to help develop their vocabulary; and to promote school readiness. Every month, enrolled children receive a book in the mail, addressed to them. The children become their own advocates: “Read to me” makes a difference. Multiple studies have proven that this approach of placing books in the home is effective.

The Roane County affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was formed in September 2004. Yes, we are celebrating our 10th Anniversary this year. In those years we have mailed more than 186,000 books to local children. Currently, there are almost 1900 children enrolled, each getting a book every month. This number represents 77% of the eligible children.

In 1996, Dolly Parton decided to “give back” to her Sevierville neighbors. She started mailing books to all children from birth to age 5. The impact of these gifts was evident as the recipients entered school. This success drew the attention of academic and state leaders.

In 2004, Governor Phil Bredesen created the Governor’s Books From Birth Foundation (GBBF) with the objective of having Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library available statewide.

Several things happened quickly. Governor’s Books From Birth Foundation agreed to pay one half of each county’s book bill. All 95 Tennessee counties created Imagination Library affiliates with a local 501.c.3 (tax exempt) status. The Dollywood Foundation (Dolly’s representatives and action officers) established a Blue-Ribbon Panel of academics to select quality age-appropriate books. The Penguin Group publisher understood Dolly’s vision and became a partner, providing excellent books at low quantity prices.

Word spread! Currently there are Imagination Library affiliates in 47 states. (Only Tennessee has Imagination Library throughout the state, but other states are getting close to full coverage.) Dollywood Foundation mails 720,000 books each month.

Imagination Library has spread to Canada, the United Kingdom and this year to Australia. Many other countries wish to participate and those discussions are underway.

Dolly Parton does not buy books. Roane Imagination Library and the Governor’s Books From Birth Foundation split the book bill 50/50. However, through her Dollywood Foundation, Dolly pays for the highly secure computer database of children’s enrollment information, the book selection committee, the packaging and mailing contract, volunteer training, and much, much more.

Dolly Parton also provides the priceless celebrity endorsement and a passion for the cause. She proudly calls herself, “The Book Lady.”

In Roane County, we are addressing a critical need. Director of Roane County Schools, Dr. Gary Aytes explains it this way: We have children coming to pre-Kindergarten programs with vocabularies of only 45 words. We have children coming to school who do not know their colors and do not recognize the word “banana” having never seen one.

Volunteers run Roane Imagination Library, with financial oversight by our 501.c.3 umbrella organization, Mid-East Community Action Agency. Our overhead is a mere 5% as we pay for MECAA oversight, printing, marketing, postage, a post office box, etc.

There is no “down side” to Roane Imagination Library. The children win, their families win, and the community wins. Donors reap the benefits of the Dollywood Foundation’s quantity purchases, and the Governor’s Books From Birth Foundation matching funds. A quality book mailed to a Roane County child costs Roane County only $1.00. IMAGINE THAT!

With support from Materials and Chemistry Laboratory, Inc. and its sustainability challenge, Roane Imagination Library will continue to provide educational materials free to our youngest neighbors.

For more information, to enroll a child, or to contribute to Roane Imagination, contact:
Jill McMaster, Coordinator
Roane Imagination Library
P. O. Box 128
Kingston, TN

CASA “Helping Hand” Award


Each year, hundreds of children in Anderson, Blount and Scott Counties are removed from their homes because of abuse and neglect. Currently, CASA of the Tennessee Heartland is able to give a voice of hope to about half of these children. CASA of the Tennessee Heartland was founded in 1988 and since that time has served countless numbers of innocent children who, through no fault of their own, have been brought into the court system. On August 5th, CASA of the Tennessee Heartland recognized MCLinc as it’s’ oldest corporate sponsor by presenting them with the “Helping Hands” award.

There are over 300 children currently waitlisted for a CASA in Anderson, Blount, and Scott Counties. To serve the needs of these children, CASA of the Tennessee Heartland must recruit 85 new volunteers and increase their budget by $100,000. You can be a part of the incredible movement to ensure that these helpless children involved in a complex court system are not forgotten.

You can be their voice and save the life of a child. To learn more about how you can become a Corporate Sponsor, Individual Sponsor, or a Court Appointed Special Advocate visit or contact Executive Director Naomi Asher at (865) 425-0888.

Join Us for the Ice Cream Social August 21


MCLinc is excited to announce that their annual Ice Cream Social is planned for Thursday, August 21st, from 4:00 – 6:30. Stop by the MCLinc Conference Center to enjoy freshly made waffle cones, delicious ice cream, lots of toppings, and great company. The MCLinc Conference Center is located at:

East Tennessee Technology Park, 2010 Highway 58
400 Heritage Center Blvd, Building K-1000
Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830-1702

MCLinc’s special guest during the ice cream social is Ken Rueter who will be making remarks at 4:30. Ken has been named president and project manager of UCOR. He will replace Leo Sain to lead the URS Decontamination and Decommissioning and Waste Management
Strategic Business Group, which is based in Oak Ridge.

Please join us in welcoming Ken Back to the ETTP site.

Educators in the Workplace


Materials and Chemistry Laboratory hosted the educators in the workplace program on June 11th. This program was created by The Roane Alliance and their partner, Innovation Valley, Inc., with the purpose of “providing educators with ways to show students the relevance of what they learn in the classroom, ideas about incorporating workplace expectations into the classroom, and to observe firsthand how businesses operate.”

This was the sixth year that The Roane Alliance and Innovation Valley, Inc. conducted the Educators in the Workplace program, and their first visit to Materials and Chemistry Laboratory. MCLinc employees enjoyed hosting this special event as part of our continuing contribution to the education of our
students and future workforce.

We encourage you to participate in the program. Contact Allen Lutz at or by calling 865-376-2093 for more information about how you can get involved.

Special Thanks to Lindsay Holt, MCLinc’s Summer Intern

As part of a continuing program MCLinc provides summer employment for employees children who are enrolled in post-secondary education.
Lindsay, daughter of MCLinc employee Jeff Holt, graduated from Halls High School this year and has interned at MCLinc throughout the summer.

Lindsay says, “I’ve loved my summer at MCLinc. Everyone
was so incredibly loving to me and was always willing to help me when I needed it. Working here, I’ve spent most of my time prepping air filter samples for fiber counts. I also did some light clerical work, along with working in reception. I’ve enjoyed so much working here, and I look forward to seeing
everyone again soon.”

We wish Lindsay the best of luck as she begins the next chapter of her life at East Tennessee State
University this fall.

MCLinc Supports Tennessee Valley Corridor (TVC)


On June 4th and 5th MCLinc helped to sponsor the Tennessee Valley Corridor’s National Summit at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. MCLinc provided door prizes that were awarded at drawings held at the beginning of each session.

This year’s summit focused on capabilities of three cities in the corridor – Chattanooga, Oak Ridge, and Huntsville. Each session highlighted features of the city being discussed and panelists representing agencies and businesses within the city discussed how the combined strength of the area influenced economic development in the TVC.

The First Wedding at ETTP, Held at Heritage Center

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Merle Keever who were married here at the ETTP on Friday evening, July 18, 2014. Mrs. Keever, formerly, Michelle Register, is employed by UCOR. The wedding ceremony and reception that followed were held at the MCLinc Conference Facility at Heritage Center. We checked with local historians and found that not only is this the first wedding to be performed at Heritage Center, it is the first wedding to be performed at ETTP (formerly K-25 site).

Best wishes for a happy future for Michelle and Merle from the employees of MCLinc.

Upcoming Events

MCLinc Customer Appreciation Ice Cream Social – Stop by the MCLinc Conference Center anytime between 4:00 – 6:30 on August 21st to enjoy freshly made waffle cones, delicious ice cream, lots of toppings and great company. Remarks by Ken Rueter at 4:30.

Health Insurance and Small Business – August 12th, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce, David Vudragovich will discuss options for small businesses with fewer than 25 employees. Please register by calling 865-457-2559 or by email.

Safety Fest TN 2014 – From September 8-11th at the New Hope Center, the Oak Ridge Business Safety Partnership will host free safety classes and workshops. Please register to participate by visiting this site.

ETEBA Conference – From November 18th through the 20th at the Knoxville Convention Center, the Energy Technology and Environmental Businesses Association (ETEBA) will be hosting their 15th annual Business Opportunities Conference. MCLinc is a proud Hospitality Sponsor of this event, providing conference bags. Be sure to stop by the MCLinc booth, number 322, during the conference to enter your businesses and become eligible to win a door prize to be awarded at the close of the conference. For more information about the conference, visit .

ASP Workshop – From September 15-18th the ASP Workshop will be held in Albuquerque, NM. If in attendance, be sure to visit the MCLinc booth where President/CEO, Barry Stephenson, and Laboratory Manager, Michele Sanders, will be representing MCLinc. We hope to see you there!

Governer Haslam’s Books From Birth Bus tour makes a stop in Roane County: On September 19th at 2:00 the Governor’s Books from Birth Bus will be at the Midtown Kroger parking lot ( Exit 350 off of I-40) for a brief program and presentation of the MCLinc donation. This year, MCLinc is providing matching donations to encourage sustained giving to the Roane Imagination Library. Following the program there will be an “open house style” time to visit where you can learn more about the Imagination Library and how you can get involved in a program that is instilling in children a love for literacy, one book at a time.

Materials and Chemistry Laboratory, Inc.

Industrial Hygiene and Environmental
• Asbestos
• PCB’s
• Metals
• Beryllium

• Uranium
• Highly Corrosive/Reactive Materials
• Method Development
• Radiological
• Waste Treatment
• Industrial Forensics

Microscopy and Characterization
• Scanning Electron Microscopy
• Transmission Electron Microscopy
• Optical Microscopy
• X-ray Diffraction
• Ion Chromatography

Michele Sanders, Laboratory Manager
(865) 574-3896

Barry Stephenson, CEO
(865) 576-0201

Mary Hall, Quality Assurance Specialist
(865) 574-9923

Materials and Chemistry Laboratory, Inc.
East Tennessee Technology Park, Building K-1006
400 Heritage Center Blvd.
Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.