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Clemson University to Build Photonics Centers

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CLEMSON, S.C., Nov. 7 -- Clemson University announced Wednesday it will invest $70 million in the Clemson Research Park over the next five years, including a $21 million facility for photonics research. The facility will be used to study fiber optics and provide research support for existing companies attempting to create new products.

A $21 million complex will initially house two proposed Research Centers of Economic Excellence in electron imaging and photonics. The 111,000-square-foot advanced materials complex is being built on a 31-acre site in the Clemson Research Park, a mile off Interstate 85 in Anderson County. The brick, glass and steel facility will include two wings with an electron microscopy facility, laser and chemical labs, office space and one of the nation's most advanced university optical fiber draw towers, used to produce optical-communication materials. Clemson's nanotech-related research will also be housed there. The facility is scheduled to open in summer 2004.

The centers will be backed by what could become one of the finest electron microscopy research laboratories in the US, said a Clemson press release. Access to electron imaging -- essential for advanced materials R&D because it gives researchers the ability to "see" objects at the atomic and molecular level -- will make existing state industries more competitive and help attract new industries, said the college.

Clemson said it anticipates external research support of at least $25-$30 million over the next five years. That figure is based on the track record of Clemson’s photonics research group, which brought in more than $13 million in sponsored research its first three years, and the additional funding expected if Clemson’s request for endowed chairs is approved.

Clemson has submitted proposals for $10 million through the state’s Research Centers of Economic Excellence program, which earmarks lottery funding for research related to economic development. The proposals require Clemson to raise matching funds of $10 million.

Clemson’s Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies is the only university R&D lab in the region focused on the development of new optical materials.

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Nov 2003
Basic ScienceClemson Universityfiber opticshotonics researchlectron imaginglectron microscopyMicroscopyNews & Features

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