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  • URochester Awarded $1.8M for Nanotech Initiative
Apr 2007
ROCHESTER, N.Y., April 11, 2007 -- The University of Rochester will receive $1.8 million in federal funding to begin its Nanosystems Initiative, a nanotechnology research center that will develop fuel cells and optical biosensors, university and government officials announced on Tuesday.

"With the creation of the Nanosystems Initiative, the University of Rochester has an unprecedented opportunity to be one of the dominant players in the future of fuel cells and biosensor technology," said University of Rochester President Joel Seligman, who made the announcement with US Rep. Louise Slaughter.

The university plans to completely renovate and equip the Institute of Optics Annex building, adjoining the Wilmot building and Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics. The university said its nanosystems center will be unique from other New York nanotechnology centers in its ability to handle high-temperature nanomaterials found in fuel cells, and for optical interactions with molecular and genetic tracers.

Nicholas P. Bigelow, professor of physics and of optics and senior scientist at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, said equipment needed for nanoresearch is often highly specialized and difficult to obtain. The new nanotechnology initiative will allow the creation of a center that will be shared by many scientists across the campus, and from a variety of different disciplines.

"The center will be truly interdisciplinary, and will involve faculty and students in optics, chemistry, physics, and biomedical, chemical and electrical engineering, as well as the University of Rochester Medical Center and all members of the community," said Bigelow. "In this sense, the new center will bring together researchers from across the university, allowing the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts."

Projects of nanotechnology teams will span a wide range of nanoscience and technology. One group, for example, is developing fast, sensitive biosensors for pathogens such as the H5N1 "bird flu" using nanoengineered optical structures. Another project involves developing new and highly efficient transfer membranes for fuel cells, the university said.

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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.
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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