BERKELEY, Calif., Feb. 2 -- Ground was broken at a ceremony here Friday for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Molecular Foundry, a six-story, $85 million, 94,500-square-foot research facility that will be one of the centerpieces of the Department of Energy's Nanoscale Research Program.
When completed in 2006, it will house more than 200 scientists and support staff, using state-of-the-art instrumentation for imaging and manipulation.
The Molecular Foundry -- actually the research building around which Foundry programs will be developed -- will include six facilities available to users from around the world. These include labs and experts devoted to inorganic nanostructures; nanofabrication; organic, polymer/biopolymer synthesis; biological nanostructures; imaging and manipulation; and theory. Its focus will be on the design, synthesis and characterization of both "soft" (biological and polymer) and "hard" (inorganic and microfabricated) substances and the integration of these into complex assemblies.
"Like the foundries of the industrial revolution, this new concept, on a nanoscale, promises to revolutionize the way the world works," Berkeley Lab said of the Foundry, one of five facilities in the DOE Nanoscience Research Program to be constructed over the next few years. Others will be developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories/Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The possibilities from this and other initiatives dedicated to the field of nanoscience are limitless, Berkely Lab said in a statement. Some potential outcomes include the development carbon nanotubes, sheets of graphite rolled into extremely narrow tubes a few nanometers in diameter, that could be the building blocks of future electronic devices; the ability to detect disease on the cellular level and to target treatment only to tissues where it is needed, potentially alleviating side effects; the nanomanufacturing of parts and materials on an atom-by-atom basis to reduce waste and pollution in the manufacturing process; nanosensors to monitor everything from chemical attacks to environmental leaks; and nanomaterials that make more efficient solar cells and catalysts and membranes in hydrogen-powered fuel cells.
For more information, visit: www.lbl.gov