An atomic force microscope that can visualize structures as small as one nanometer in diameter is one new feature of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's (RPI) remodeled Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center (RNC), which opens today. The center also houses a nanoscale particle generator and the equipment needed to produce and study nanotubes. The facility will foster research in areas including developing new materials with extraordinary strength, dramatically downsizing electronic components and creating biologically based replacements for skin and bone. The center, founded in April 2001 under the direction of Professor Richard W. Siegel, includes a Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, one of only six of its kind in the country. The RNC has a five-year, $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation and funds from five industry partners, a matching grant of $2.5 million over five years from the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research; numerous federal grants and matching funds from RPI for annual funding of about $6 million. . . . Thermo Electron Corp. announced today it has opened a customer demonstration center in Les Ulis, France. It opened similar centers earlier this year in Yokohama, Japan and Frankfurt, Germany. Each features a laboratory equipped with the company's advanced chromatography, mass spectrometry and spectroscopy product lines; sample preparation and storage equipment; and laboratory informatics software. Thermo Electron also announced it has combined its sales and marketing offices into single facilities in Madrid, Spain; Milan, Italy; Beijing, China; Breda, The Netherlands; and Helsinki, Finland.