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World Class Nanotechnology Research Center Opens 51

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the can't-see-it-anywhere dept.
Eh-Wire writes "The University of Alberta and Edmonton are mighty proud to be home to the new National Institute of Nanotechnology. The $52.2-million(Canadian) facility is designed to provide the optimal conditions for nano-scale research and to foster collaboration between researchers. Apparently it is Canada's quietest space and engineered that way to minimize vibration and acoustical noise. Even the electrical wiring has been twisted to reduce electro-magnetic interference. Curiously enough the head project architect, Donna Clare of architectural firm, Cohos Evamy was also the head project architect for Edmonton's highly acclaimed Winspear Centre, a concert hall designed specifically to enhance acoustics. There's likely going to be some big things coming from this state-of-the-art research facility for the really really small."
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World Class Nanotechnology Research Center Opens

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Bloody Stupid Johnson [wikipedia.org] – it's so small, you can get lost just looking for it!
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wellington Grey (942717) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @10:55AM (#15596243) Homepage Journal
    Curiously enough the head project architect, Donna Clare of architectural firm, Cohos Evamy was also the head project architect for Edmonton's highly acclaimed Winspear Centre, a concert hall designed specifically to enhance acoustics.

    What's curious about that? If you want a quiet building, I'd think you'd want to hire a guy who's an expert in sound and architecture.

    -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]
    • "What's curious about that? If you want a quiet building, I'd think you'd want to hire a guy who's an expert in sound and architecture."

      Seems they got off on entirely the wrong foot with head project architect Donna Clare, then.
  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara DOT huds ... a-hudson DOT com> on Saturday June 24, 2006 @10:56AM (#15596246) Journal

    There's likely going to be some big things coming

    ... big things ... nano-tech ... is this like "jumbo shrimp"?

    • I think we should focus on building a nanotech device that will build nanotech devices that build nanotech devices. My worry is that this has already happened. How would I know?
      • I think we should focus on building a nanotech device that will build nanotech devices that build nanotech devices. My worry is that this has already happened. How would I know?

        .. you'll know that the recycling nanobots have been created (and let into the wild) when your tires (and everything else) is turned into "grey goo".

        Far from being a joke, disassemblers would be the absolute worst possible plague imagineable.

        They could get into the wild on a single piece of paper.

        You might notice it as a ing

        • Look, grey goo exists, and it's called microbes. Just leave food outside for a couple of days, and you'll see. And generalized dissassemblers can't work simply due to not having enough energy/kg available in the environment (unless you use fire, which could be construed to be a general dissasembler... :-) )
          • General disassemblers don't have to be fast ... store up energy (say, sunlight) for a few minutes, disassemble one molucule, repeat. It works in nature - plants do it all the time. So lets say that a disassembler weighs the same as one cell that makes up the solid tissue in a human body ...

            So say that each disassembler replicated once a week ...

            10 weeks - 1,024 disassemblers
            20 weeks - 1,048,576 disassemblers
            30 weeks - 1,073,741,824 disassemblers
            34 weeks = the same number of dissassemblers as the cells makin
    • ...from this state-of-the-art research facility for the really really small.

      Moreover, the proper term for us is dwarves.
  • by karvind (833059) <karvind@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Saturday June 24, 2006 @10:59AM (#15596256) Journal
    Even the electrical wiring has been twisted to reduce electro-magnetic interference.

    This is done in all the high precision instruments and the facility in which they are installed. TEM [wikipedia.org]s and electron beam lithography [wikipedia.org] tools often have a separate foundation isolated from the rest of the building to minimize vibration issues.

    Probably they should mention about the tight control over temperature, humidity and airflow as well.

    • I was thinking the same thing when I read it. It's worded as if twisted pairs are some sort of new fangled idea. Anbody who is plugged into the internet via an ethernet cable is benefitting from this "twisting to reduce electro-magnetic interference".
  • Careful not to step on it!
  • Minatec (Score:5, Informative)

    by GrAfFiT (802657) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @11:07AM (#15596279) Homepage
    You might be interested by the recently launched european equivalent : Minatec [minatec.com].
  • This makes me worry (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    U of A does have some nano technology expertise. On the other hand, this does sound like some administrator dreamed up a way to tap the 'obscene' pile of money in Alberta.

    Call me a cynic but I've seen this happen too many times. If you use the right sexy words, senior administrators and politicians are willing to dump huge amounts of money in your lap. Public money should go into pure research (nano technology in my mind is mostly applied research because most of it seems aimed at applications). That's
    • by Pulse_Instance (698417) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @11:30AM (#15596358)
      The University of Alberta has their own nano tech lab called the NanoFab [ualberta.ca] and it is good for what it did. However it is an open access research facility and the space inside of it was almost all used up by the time I finished working there 2 years ago. This new lab is huge and has tons of room for more equipment and has taken advantage of new construction techniques in order to allow for more sensitive equipment. There is a lot of research in nano-tech happening in Alberta and this will allow it to continue.
    • If you want to do research that actually will have an impact on people's lives, get the heck out of universities as fast as possible. Given the vast amount of money that the government pours into research, it is obvious that SOME useful things will come of it. However, this amount is incredibly small given the money put in.

      Having not so long ago switched from the academic lab to the corporate lab, let me just say I am thrilled with the relative effectiveness and sensibility of R&D at the corporate
    • The distinction between the fundamental and applied research at the nanoscale is basically that between nanoscience and nanotechnology. But this distinction is currently a lot fuzzier than similar boundaries in the more traditional branches of science (e.g., fundamental life sciences vs. biotechnology) simply because there has not been enough nanoscience done yet to enable most of the nanotechnology, especially in the way the latter is typically presented to the general public.

      Take electronics, for example

  • It would have been done sooner if a major investor hadn't backed out:

    Derek Zoolander: What is this? A nano-research center for ants? How can we expected the researchers to learn about nano-technology... if they can't even fit inside the building?

    Canada: Derek, this is just a small...

    Derek Zoolander: I don't wanna hear your excuses! The building has to be at least... three times bigger than this!

  • The University of Massachusetts in Lowell is building a new $23 million dollar nanotechnology center, with area for corporations to rent for use as assembly systems:
    http://www.uml.edu/Media/News%20Articles/article34 6.html [uml.edu]
  • There are some grandious title on doors that turn out to be wood shops if you open them. The Condensed Matter Physics labs. I found that very funny.
    • Grandinous isn't even a word o.O I'll admit the U has a bit of trouble playing up its strengths. Look at the old Nanofab lab in the basement of ETLC.You wouldn't know it was there if someone didn't tell you. In spite of that, that lab houses millions of dollars worth of very expensive equipment. As for the CMPL... Yeah... I say that place should be knocked down with Vwing and the physics building.
      • I'd say they hyped the existence of the Nanofab pretty extensively, and even if you're an undergrad in Engineering or a few of the Sciences (Physics comes to mind) you've probably heard of the existence of the Nanofab. It's been overshadowed by NINT, but you still hear about the Nanofab in conjunction with nano research at the U of A (and will probably continue to until they get their facilities fully up and running)

        They've also started demolishing V-Wing and Physics, and Physics will be moving to BRAND NE
  • Apparently it is Canada's quietest space and engineered that way to minimize vibration and acoustical noise.

    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNew s/20060523/reporters_harper_060523 [www.ctv.ca]

    I thought, the quietest place in Canada was Stephen Harper giving press release in Ottawa.
    • Actually since becoming single again my bedroom was the quietest place in Canada!

      Knowing one of our governments just pissed away another $52.2 million on something
      that a private business should've built & paid for.
      My bedroom won't so quiet anymore, not with another round of tossing & turning coming on.
  • I saw the new nanotechnology building a few months ago... and its a lot bigger than I expected.
  • For example, looking at atomic level resolution of material surfaces using an Scanning Tunneling Microsope [wikipedia.org] which is fairly routine for a nanoscience experiment requires very low vibration so that the ultra fine tip does not drift with time. Usually this is accomplished by installing these multi-million dollar machines in the basements of research buildings. Lower vibrational thresholds would be always be welcome.
    • FYI:

      requires very low vibration so that the ultra fine tip does not drift with time

      The vibrations have absolutely NOTHING to do with drift. The drift is caused by temperature gradients in the microscope. One part of the microscope thermally expands/contracts more than another part and the tip and sample will drift. The vibration issue is another matter related to image noise. The feedback used to maintain a tunneling junction has limited bandwidth and excessive vibrations will show up in images as
  • God is a nanotechnologist.
  • Its 160,000 sq ft with 30,000 sq ft of clean rooms. Of course it won't be done till the summer of 2008 and cost $80M. The biggest private contribution has been from Bernie Marcus, one of the founders of Home Depot, for $15M.

    Georgia Tech Nanotechnology Research Center [gatech.edu]
    Nanotech @ Tech [gatech.edu]
    • I can't find the link right now, but I beleive my university (Univeristy of Waterloo) and Georgia have signed a nice little deal. Both are investing huge amounts of money into nanotechnology (our Centre for Nanotechnology and Quantum computing is supposed to be completed in 2010). I'm actually lucky enough to be in that first batch of graduating Nanotechnology engineers. Cost of ours is around the same, we're getting tons of money from RIM. Here's the link :)
      http://www.nanotech.uwaterloo.ca/research/qnc [uwaterloo.ca]
  • err, perhaps a link to the actual Nanotech Institute website would be helpful? http://nint-innt.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/home/index_e.html [nrc-cnrc.gc.ca]
  • It's interesting to note that this center was built using "soft money", i.e. limited time funding that is actually expiring at more or less the same time that it is opening. There are other things of concern with this center, such as how the investment is dwarfed by investments being made by other countries... This is not the only example of photo ops masquarading as research initiatives staged by the federal government. The uncertainty over future funding is causing the NRC to re-evaluate everyting that is

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