Monday, August 31, 2009

Nanoblog: Check out nanotech in action

Have you been wondering what nanotechnology is? What does it look like? How is it used?

The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering of the University at Albany and the Capital District Transportation Authority have put together an exhibit that might answer some of your
questions and show the growing impact of nanoscale technologies in the 21st century.

In an exhibit now on display at the Rensselaer Rail Station, you can see high-tech items from CNSE's Albany NanoTech Complex.

Silicon wafers, computer chips and biochips, and solar and fuel cells with nanotechnology-enabled consumer products, including an Xbox, iPod Touch, clothing and cosmetics - will be located through September at CDTA's Rensselaer Rail Station.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Nanoblog: It's Evident nanotech not a sure thing

Evident Technologies Inc., a Troy-based nanotechnology company formed at the start of the decade, filed for bankruptcy protection last month.

According to the Business Review in Albany, the company listed $4.8 million in debts in a filing at U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The company, which continues to operate, cites a patent infringement lawsuit as a source of the problem.

Evident developed nanocrystal quantum dots, which the Business Review said is used in items including flat screen TVs and Christmas lights.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Nanoblog: No shoes allowed

Fashion doesn’t matter when it comes to nanotechnology.

When a group of local editors and reporters toured the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany Thursday, they got to see a couple of the schools’ four clean rooms up close.

But to ensure dirt wasn’t carried into the clean rooms, everyone had to cover their shoes with blue, disposable booties.

Not possible if you’re wearing heels.

So one editor and one reporter left their shoes behind and padded down the hallway with their bare feet covered in booties.

At least, they didn’t have to put on the full clean room suits.

Nanoblog: A room mom would have loved

A lot more clean room space should be available in about a year at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany.

In nanotech parlance, a clean room is not every mom's wish for their children's bedrooms, but instead a research area kept free of contaminants such as dust or bacteria, according to answers.com.

The nanoscale college currently has four clean rooms, where scientists do research and make tools needed by nanochip manufacturers.

A new room currently is being completed and will account for about 15,000 square feet of 80,000 square feet of clean room space at the college.

Mohawk Valley moms, take note: SUNYIT in Marcy also will be getting a clean room when the Computer Chip Commercialization Center is built over the next two years. That one will be about 10,000 square feet.

Nanoblog: Researchers' competition akin to Coke vs. Pepsi

A large part of the success at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany comes from scientists from multiple companies collaborating on nanotechnology research and development.

Even when those companies are competitors in the business world.

Applied Materials – the world’s leading seller of semiconductor manufacturing equipment – and Tokyo Electron – No. 2 in the same sector – have proprietary clean room space right next to each other at the college. It’s separated by only a transparent glass wall.

In fact, their offices at the college are next to each other, too.

“It’s like having Coke and Pepsi next to each other,” Steve Janack, vice president for marketing and communications for the college, said during a tour of the facility Thursday.

Nanoblog: Is nanotech reflection of a post-industrial economy?

The Mohawk Valley, like much of the rest of the Northeast, has seen its manufacturing base erode for decades. What's been lost are thousands of well-paying jobs that provided the foundation for the Utica area's middle class.

Now, as SUNYIT begins its partnership with the University at Albany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering on nanotechnology research, our region's economy might be evolving to its post-industrial form. The partnership is supposed to create 475 jobs and eventually attract private semiconductor chip firms to Marcy.

The future, according to an article in The New York Times on Dresden, Germany, might well be in research, not production, of things such as nanotechnology and wireless technology. Such jobs can be lucrative, and the research involved can be in high demand.

“Silicon Valley isn’t a factory anymore,” one source in the piece says. “It’s a think-tank.”

What do you think? Can our economy thrive on research without manufacturing? Please post your thoughts.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Nanoblog: Is there a nanodoctor in the house?

Nanotechnology at first glance might not seem to have anything to do with medicine, but one of the latest hires at the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering says otherwise.

A medical doctor, Dr. Sara Brenner, will head up an effort to focus on the health and safety implications of nanoparticles and how to reduce exposure to them in research facilities and elsewhere, according to an article in The Business Review of Albany.

Brenner is 29 and has earned a master’s degree in public health from the University at Albany, the publication reports. Alain Kaloyeros, CEO of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, told The Business Review that Brenner has “keen intellect, contagious energy, comprehensive knowledge and responsible ethics.”

SUNYIT in Marcy is joining forces with the University at Albany nanotechnology research efforts through a new Computer Chip Commercialization Center that will bring the first "clean room" for such research to the Mohawk Valley.