ALBANY — Tennis rackets, cell phones, medicine and even some types of paint rely on nanotechnology, and innovations in a variety of nanoscale fields are happening right here in the Capital District at the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.
CNSE opened its doors to the public Saturday to kick off the third annual NANOvember educational outreach effort, featuring children’s activities, lectures, presentations from students and faculty and tours of the clean rooms on the campus.
The state-of-the-art cleanroom facilities at the CNSE’s $6.5 billion, 800,000-square-foot Albany NanoTech Complex on Fuller Road are the most advanced research enterprises in the academic world and play host to research teams from industry leaders like IBM, SEMATECH, GlobalFoundries and more. The month-long NANOvember series is an opportunity for the community to better understand and experience what is happening at the college, and Steve Janack, CNSE vice president for marketing and communications, said many of those who attend are people who are simply curious about nanotechnology.
“They’re people who drive by every day and hear about what we do, but have never been inside,” said Janack, adding that more than 1,000 people “from ages 4 to 84” visit the campus on Community Day. NANOvember is part of Nanotechnology Explorations for Science, Training and Education Promotion (NEXT-STEP), representing a partnership between CNSE and KeyBank to promote greater understanding of the changes in the economic and business environment in the Capital District and New York state that are driven by nanotechnology.
“NANOvember is an exciting extension of the NEXTSTEP initiative and its effort to help people understand the importance of nanotechnology and how and why nanotechnology is changing the Capital District,” said Jeffrey Stone, president of Capital Region KeyBank. “In the current economic landscape, this is a bright spot, as nanotech throughout Tech Valley is playing a large role in attracting high-tech jobs, companies and investment to our region and state.”
In the “Getting to Know Nantotechnology” presentation, NanoCollege professor Alan Diebold, a specialist in measurement, described how nanotechnology is changing a variety of industries, including energy, electronics, medicine, product development, aviation and the military. He said nanoscience combines physics, chemistry, biology, engineering and other fields of study to use elements in new ways.
In the NanoFab South Rotunda, research and education projects were on display, including those studying Parkinson’s disease, LED lighting and even nanoeconomics.
Michelle Pautler, a graduate student in nanoeconomics and a member of the business development team, explained that “economics is tied in very closely with nanotechnology because it’s so capital-intentive. It’s really important to consider how economics play a role in that in terms of how we can fund the research and development and also how these products will get into the market.”
NANOvember events will continue with a lecture series and hands-on workshops featuring nanotechnology as used in forensic science and video games. For more information and a complete listing of events, go to cnse.albany.edu/events/NANOvember.html.