Nano Lab is Expected to Benefit Research, Health Care and the Economy
University of Rochester officials joined U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter (NY-28) today to mark the opening of the Integrated Nanosystems Center (URnano), dedicated to researching and fabricating materials on a microscopic level.
The new center will bring together experts in physics, optics, chemistry, biomedicine and bioengineering to expand the research and technology commercialization of fuel cells, biosensors and other high-tech devices important to industry, medicine, national security, and the economy.
"Thanks to the incredible leadership of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, this impressive, state-of-the-art facility will be a source of innovation and commercialization for the Rochester region and New York State," said University President Joel Seligman. "The Nanosystems Center offers unprecedented capabilities in nanoscience research that will build on our historic strengths, encourage the development of new technologies, and facilitate collaborations with industry."
The Integrated Nanosystems Center consists of a 1,000 square-foot metrology (measurement) facility and a 2,000 square-foot, cleanroom fabrication facility. The cleanroom lab was designed and equipped in a way that ensures it is virtually free of dust, foreign particles, and chemical vapors. Congresswoman Slaughter secured a total of $4.4 million in federal money across three funding cycles to make the project possible.
"I am very pleased to be back at UR today to see the results of the work we started in 2007. Back then the University approached me with the dream of having a state-of-the-art cleanroom and lab that would allow them to train the next generation of scientists and engineers in nanotechnology and contribute immediately to our knowledge in this important area," said Slaughter. "I'm particularly excited because I know that this lab will create jobs, not only in the lab itself, but also in new companies catalyzed by the research taking place in the lab."
Nanotechnology is important to a wide range of fields, including the development of energy systems and bio-sensors. Advanced fuel cell and battery designs, which promise greater portability and less frequent recharging, can be applied to mobile communications, GPS systems, computers, and night vision devices. Biosensors with embedded nanosystem components can be used to detect biological warfare agents, such as anthrax, at very low concentrations.
"URnano will complement nanotechnology research at other New York State universities, such as Albany, Cornell, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute," said Nicholas Bigelow, the Lee A. DuBridge Professor of Physics, department chair, and Director of URnano. "The nanosystem programs at the University of Rochester are unique because they allow for the production of high temperature nanomaterials and incorporate the University's expertise in optics and optical device technology."
URnano is part of the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.