URBANA – The administration of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, including Capital Development Board Chairman Anthony Licata, today joined University of Illinois officials to dedicate the recently expanded Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory (MNTL) at 208 N. Wright Street on the Urbana campus. The facility puts Illinois in position to capitalize on the worldwide high demand for these physically small but hugely important products and services.
“I’m pleased that the University of Illinois is thinking big on a small scale with this newly expanded facility,” said Governor Blagojevich. “The Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory will keep this state among the world leaders in this vital and rapidly growing field.”
“Today’s dedication is about more than cutting a ribbon,” said Ilesanmi Adesida, Dean of the College of Engineering. “It is an affirmation of the University’s continued leadership in the ever-expanding field of nanotechnology, as well as the state’s support of these efforts. What we are researching now will impact our society and planet for decades to come, and play a ubiquitous role in maintaining our nation’s global competitiveness.”
“The expansion of the laboratory makes it the par excellence university-based facility for semiconductor, nanotechnology and biotechnology research,” said MNTL Director Rashid Bashir. “We have a rich tradition of innovation, excellence and leadership evidenced through the research and development of many paradigm-shifting and revolutionary innovations.”
As part of today’s building dedication, artwork was unveiled in the building’s atrium. The piece, entitled “Light Array Rhythm Catcher” by S. Thomas Scarff, was inspired by light emitting diode (LED) technology advanced at the University of Illinois.
The contractors for the MNTL expansion include: Teng & Associates, Chicago, design work, $1,534,000; general contractor CORE Construction, Morton, $9,477,000; A & R Services, Urbana, $4,281,000; Coleman Electric, Mansfield, $1,712,000; and F.J. Murphy, Springfield, $235,000. The project was managed by the Capital Development Board (CDB), which oversees all state-funded construction projects.
“This facility is the latest evidence of the state’s commitment to world-class training and research at the University of Illinois,” said CDB Chairman Anthony Licata. “It will join the Institute for Genomic Biology, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Tech Transfer Incubator, Electrical and Computer Engineering Building, Post Harvest Processing Center, and the planned Lincoln Hall renovation to help the university keep its global reputation as a technology leader for the 21st century and beyond.”
Illinois has a strong track record of investing in research and development infrastructure that supports all of the high-technology sectors. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has committed more than $238 million to support world-class research and development facilities, and $79 million to support the development and construction of research and technology parks and incubators in Illinois. DCEO has administered more than $40 million in grants to support the emerging field of nanotechnology.
Micro and nanotechnology refers to controlling matter on an atomic or molecular scale, building and using devices approximately 100 nanometers or smaller. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter; a typical human hair is between 50,000 and 100,000 nanometers wide.
Already considered one of one of the world’s most advanced centers of nanotechnology, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was ranked among the top three academic institutions in nanotechnology research, education and facilities by Small Times magazine. Researchers at MNTL are pushing the frontiers in many aspects of nanotechnology, including:
· Nanofabrication – The design and manufacture of devices with dimensions measured in nanometers. Nanofabrication is of interest to computer engineers because it opens the door to super-high-density microprocessors and memory chips.
· Nanocharacterization – The design and use of instruments required for nanotechnology research and the manipulation of the tiny elements involved.
· Nanophotonic crystals – Synthetically manufactured crystals with special electronic and magnetic properties that have a wide range of uses.
· Nanomedicine – The treatment of patients on a molecular level, including novel techniques for diagnostics, and advanced drug and gene delivery for cancer therapeutics.
· Nanobiosensors – Tiny sensors that replicate human senses, such as smell, that can be used to locate and identify specific conditions at a molecular level, with applications in national security, agriculture and food industries.