SANTA BARBARA, Calif., March 21 -- Digital Instruments/Veeco Metrology Group (DI/Veeco) has been selected as a key corporate partner in the State of California's NanoSystems Initiative. As part of the partnership, DI/Veeco has agreed to provide key instrumentation devices to help support the California Nanosystems Institute of the University of California at Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. The goal of the California NanoSystems Institute is to exploit the realm of the very small -- at the scale of a nanometer, one billionth of a meter or about one one-thousandth the thickness of a human hair -- to create new methods to build products and solve problems. "The ability to engineer and control materials at the nanometer scale gives us the opportunity to create entirely new materials with properties that would uniquely suit them for specific applications," said Evelyn Hu, a UC Santa Barbara professor of electrical and computer engineering and materials who is scientific co-director of the Institute. "As nature does, we can optimize the operation and performance of the system by engineering the performance of the nanostructure components, making materials that are more optically efficient, more environmentally friendly, or more durable." The Institute already has agreements with companies ranging from information technology giants like Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems to smaller specialized nanotechnology firms, like Digital Instruments/Veeco Metrology Group.