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Ramping up the region's nano-future

Jan 12, 2011 8:37 am
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Nanotechnology, as illustrated by the Nanotechnology Investing website."][/caption]A pair of story's in today's Albany Business Review support the regional push to make the Capital District and Hudson Valley the nation's new nanotechnology center, akin to what Silicone Valley was in the 1990s and Austin was last decade, computer-wise. In one story, they report that the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering has been awarded nearly $5 million in federal funding for research, education and work force development, based on a January 11 CNSE announcement that it had received federal money for clean energy, nanotechnology, nanoelectronics and nanomedicine activities. "The funds come from several sources including the federal stimulus and multiple agencies including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory," the story says. At the same time, there's also a report on how computer chip manufacturer GlobalFoundries, who are building a massive new plant in Saratoga County north of Albany that's spurring talk of feeder manufacturers and businesses in Columbia and Greene counties as well, has announced that it will double its capital expenditures to $5.4 billion this year as the company builds its new plant in Malta and expands operations in Germany and Singapore. "GlobalFoundries is investing a total of $4.6 billion to build its Malta plant. Much of that money will be spent this year as the company begins to install multi-million dollar chip making tools," the story reads. "The news comes after Gartner Inc., a Connecticut-based IT research company, announced last month that worldwide semiconductor capital spending more than doubled to $38.4 billion last year from $16.6 billion in 2009.... That competition is being pushed as more integrated-device companies look to spin off or contract out chip manufacturing to reduce overhead costs."

Nanotechnology is the study and practice of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with structures sized between 1 to 100 nanometer in at least one dimension, and involves developing materials or devices within that size. Nanotechnology is very diverse, ranging from extensions of conventional device physics to completely new approaches based upon molecular self-assembly, from developing new materials with dimensions on the nanoscale to investigating whether we can directly control matter on the atomic scale.