Nanotechnology Center Dedicated in California
By Ronald Roach
Officials broke ground last month on what is touted as the world’s most advanced facility for atomic-level research. The California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) at the University of California, Los Angeles will explore the power and potential of manipulating atoms to engineer new materials and devices.
“Nanotech may be one of the world’s smallest sciences, but it has the greatest potential,” California Gov. Gray Davis declared at the ceremony.
The state will provide $100 million for the facility, with another $138 million coming from private industry, foundations and federal grants, officials noted. The center is scheduled for completion in 2004.
The CNSI is one of four University of California Institutes for Science and Innovation that Davis is backing to spark innovations in the state and create new businesses and jobs. The nanotech institute is a joint project between UCLA and the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Work done there by students, professors and scientists from the private sector could lead to smaller, faster computers; medicines that target the molecular errors that cause disease while leaving healthy cells unharmed; and lighter, more durable materials to make cars, planes and other forms of transportation safer and more energy efficient.
Stanley Williams, director of quantum science research at the Palo Alto-based Hewlett-Packard Co., says the United States invests less than many other countries in the development of nanotechnology. The science works at the scale of a nanometer, or one-billionth of a meter. A DNA molecule is two nanometers wide, roughly 1,000 times smaller than a human blood cell and 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair.
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