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  • ORNL to Host Nanotech Forum
Oct 2006
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Oct. 13, 2006 -- Nano Nexus 2007, a nanotechnology-oriented forum bringing together academia, industry and budding entrepreneurs will be held April 2-4, 2007, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). It is the first time this type of event has been hosted by a national laboratory.

Nano Nexus 2007 is designed to foster innovation and increase collaboration between universities, government, industry and the investment community -- all critical players for commercializing new nanotechnology. It will also serve as a component of the Innovation Valley Nano Initiative, an effort to cultivate nanotechnology business in the region.

"This is the first time this type of event has been hosted by a national laboratory," said Alex Fischer, director of technology transfer and economic development at ORNL. "We have been working to open our doors to business and outside research institutions. This forum will help crown those efforts. It will also help to put east Tennessee on the map as a center of nanotechnology innovation."

Nano Nexus 2007 features three main events:
  • Idea to Product or I2P, a nanotechnology business competition for university graduate students with a $25,000 prize.

  • Nano Industry Forum, where representatives from top corporations will present their toughest research problems and connect with researchers who can meet those needs.

  • Nano Venture Showcase, a venture capital forum showcasing the most promising nanotechnology startup companies.

Several of ORNL's core university partners will be participating in the event, including University of Tennessee, Duke University, Florida State University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Vanderbilt University.

ORNL officials said Nano Nexus will also allow researchers and industry representatives to learn more about its capabilities. The lab recently completed construction of the Spallation Neutron Source, a $1.4 billion facility that allows scientists to examine the structure and properties of materials at a molecular level using powerful beams of neutrons. Next door, the recently finished $65 million Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences provides instrumentation, fabrication, synthesis, characterization and modeling capabilities for nanoscale materials and has already hosted nearly 100 outside users from research institutions around the world and industry.

A privately developed nanotechnology research center will also be constructed at ORNL and will serve as a link between basic research being done at the Spallation Neutron Source and the nanoscience center and the business community, lab officials said.

Sponsored by the Department of Energy, ORNL has contracted with Oak Ridge economic development organization Technology 2020 to organize the event.

"This event will be a unique opportunity for universities, government agencies, industry and the investment community to better understand the resources available at ORNL, to make valuable contacts and to interact with students and companies interested in commercializing nanotechnologies," said Technology 2020 President and CEO Tom Rogers. "It will be the first conference of its kind at a national laboratory -- in fact, the nation's premier national laboratory in nanoscience."

For more information, visit:

The use of atoms, molecules and molecular-scale structures to enhance existing technology and develop new materials and devices. The goal of this technology is to manipulate atomic and molecular particles to create devices that are thousands of times smaller and faster than those of the current microtechnologies.
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