News

January 13, 2010

UAlbany NanoCollege Receives Nearly $4M in Federal Funding to Enable Nanoscale Education and Research

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Grants support acquisition of specialized Atomic Force Microscope for nanobioscience research, as well as novel innovations for health care, clean energy, military, aerospace and automotive sectors

Albany, NY - The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering ("CNSE") of the University at Albany announced today that it has been selected to receive nearly $4 million in federal funding for a variety of educational and research initiatives that will support nanotechnology-enabled innovations across multiple sectors, from health care and clean energy to the military, aerospace and automotive industries.

The funding includes $610,000 received through the National Science Foundation's ("NSF") prestigious Major Research Instrumentation ("MRI") program for the acquisition of an Atomic Force Microscope ("AFM") that employs specialized Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy ("LSCM"). This cutting-edge instrumentation - the first of its kind in upstate New York - provides the unique capability to deploy non-invasive, high-resolution optical imaging technology to obtain 3D images of biomolecules and other cellular structures, which is increasingly critical for biological research conducted at the nanoscale.

Dr. James Castracane, Professor and Head of CNSE's Nanobioscience Constellation, and Dr. Nathaniel Cady, CNSE Assistant Professor of Nanobioscience, will lead programs utilizing the AFM/LSCM to enable advanced cross-disciplinary research, including dynamic measurement of cell-surface and nucleic acid-protein interactions, mechanical studies of stem cell differentiation, and the elucidation of 3D tissue development. Additionally, the AFM/LSCM will serve as a flagship instrument for bridging research collaborations between CNSE and a variety of institutions, including the UAlbany Department of Biological Sciences and the New York State Health Department's Wadsworth Institute.

George M. Philip, President of the University at Albany, said, "These awards provide critical resources to enhance the world-class educational paradigm and unparalleled research infrastructure at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. This funding further supports UAlbany's recognition as one of the world's leading research universities, and offers new and exciting opportunities for our students and faculty to compete and succeed in the innovation economy."

Dr. Alain E. Kaloyeros, Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of CNSE, said, "The pioneering education and leading-edge research funded by these prestigious grants underscores the UAlbany NanoCollege's growing global recognition as a nexus for world-class nanoscale education and innovation, as well as the ability of nanotechnology to enable critical solutions that address real-world challenges. I congratulate Professors Castracane, Cady, Shahedipour-Sandvik, Lee, Huang and Efstathiadis on the receipt of these awards, and look forward to seeing the results of their research, which promises game-changing advances with important 21st century applications."

Dr. Shadi Shahedipour-Sandvik, CNSE Associate Professor of Nanoengineering, was awarded three federal grants for innovative nanoscale research initiatives: $450,000 through the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command ("RDECOM") to improve the operation and failure mechanisms in radio-frequency power devices to support a host of military applications; $400,000 through the NSF for an integrated educational and research program focusing on advanced optoelectronic materials, in partnership with Penn State University; and $400,000 through NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for two programs to develop solid-state technologies that enable improved performance for advanced imaging systems, addressing one of NASA's major scientific priorities.

Dr. Ji Ung Lee, CNSE Empire Innovation Professor of Nanoscale Engineering, received federal funding to support two research initiatives: $525,000 through the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory ("NRL") to develop novel nanomaterials for advanced CMOS devices for use in military and space applications, and $300,000 through the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory ("AFRL") to examine novel methods for growing carbon nanotube and graphene materials for a wide range of applications, including post-CMOS electronics, low-loss transmission lines, and the development of super-strength, lightweight composites.

Dr. Cady was awarded $700,000 through the AFRL to use nanomaterials to develop and deploy novel computer chip circuitries for memory storage and complex logic functions, such as neuromorphic computing, which uses silicon-based digital technologies to enable high-performance computing. The research will support a variety of defense-related applications, including improved radar detection, enhanced aircraft aerodynamics, and more effective simulations and modeling processes and systems for military readiness.

Dr. Mengbing Huang, CNSE Associate Professor of Nanoscience, was awarded $234,000 through the NSF for innovative research designed to develop and deploy improved sensors and monitoring systems for combustion processes that are used in a variety of industrial applications. His efforts will focus on the use of ion beam methods for fabricating robust optical waveguides within single-crystal sapphire fiber optics technology to address common challenges caused by high temperature, high pressure and highly reactive chemicals used in harsh environmental conditions.

Dr. Harry Efstathiadis, CNSE Associate Professor of Nanoengineering, received $100,000 through the U.S. Department of Energy ("DOE") to further research for the development of quantum well thermoelectric technologies for use in improving air conditioning systems for automobiles and trucks. The new technologies will produce cooling that is superior to current vapor compression systems, while reducing fuel consumption, eliminating environmentally harmful refrigerant gases, and enabling reductions in noise, vibration and overall vehicle maintenance costs.

About CNSE. The UAlbany CNSE is the first college in the world dedicated to education, research, development, and deployment in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanobioscience, and nanoeconomics. CNSE's Albany NanoTech Complex is the most advanced research enterprise of its kind at any university in the world.  With over $5 billion in high-tech investments, the 800,000-square-foot complex attracts corporate partners from around the world and offers students a one-of-a-kind academic experience. The UAlbany NanoCollege houses the only fully-integrated, 300mm wafer, computer chip pilot prototyping and demonstration line within 80,000 square feet of Class 1 capable cleanrooms. More than 2,500 scientists, researchers, engineers, students, and faculty work on site at CNSE's Albany NanoTech, from companies including IBM, AMD, GlobalFoundries, SEMATECH, Toshiba, Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron, ASML, Novellus Systems, Vistec Lithography and Atotech. For more information, visit http://www.cnse.albany.edu/.

CNSE Contact
Steve Janack, CNSE Vice President for Marketing and Communications
(phone) 518-956-7322 (cell) 518-312-5009
(e-mail) sjanack@uamail.albany.edu