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Oregon boosts nanotechnology funding

Posted: 12 Apr 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:nanotechnology research? wafer? mems?

Oregon Gov. Theodore Kulongoski said the state will boost nanotechnology research with $20 million in initial state funding to cover infrastructure costs at Oregon's Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute.

Kulongoski laid out the state's four-year funding plan on Thursday (April 1) at the Innotech 2004 conference.

The institute, also know as Onami is a building block for even greater potential to be the leader in nanotechnology," Kulongoski said.

Achieving that goal will require patience, focus and partnerships between industry, university and the federal government, he added, particularly at a time when Oregon and other states are suffering from budget shortfalls. "To generate more cutting-edge innovation in the future, we believe in looking at the long term, not just next quarter or election cycle, but 10- to 20-years out," Kulongoski said.

Onami is operated by the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Portland State University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Hundreds of researchers will coordinate their Efforts under Onami at the Center for Microtechnology-Based Energy, Chemical and Biological Systems at Oregon State University, the Materials Science Institute and Center for Advanced Materials Characterization at the University of Oregon, the Center for Emerging Technologies at Portland State University and the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Onami Director Skip Rung said the institute has received the first $1 million in state funding to begin operations. The group will also received federal help through the 21st Century Nanotechnology bill co-sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Onami must now present funding proposals to the federal program in order to gain a share of the $3.7 billion in federal funding.

The group has so far landed about $75 million in funding from all sources and currently has over $40 million in capital projects covering materials characterization, microfabrication, product design and test.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) provides funding to five nanotechnology research centers: Cornell University (information technology), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (direct assembly of nanostructures), Harvard University (device applications), Northwestern University (detection technologies), Rice University (biological and environmental engineering); and Columbia University (molecular nanostructures).

Onami's Rung hopes it will be better able to attract more funding because he said Oregon has better integration between industry and the universities. "We are home to the world's first 90nm/300mm wafer fab at Intel. We have the main technology site for Hewlett-Packard's thermal inkjet technology - the world's leading MEMS facility."

Onami expects to have more than 200 researchers, including about 50 from PNNL.

Prototype projects include the world's first transparent Transistors and a shoe-box-sized kidney dialysis machine that uses microfluidic channels. A new bulk superlattice thermoelectric material promises to achieve sub-watt microcombustion nano-sized power sources needed for distributed sensors and portable electronic devices.

- R. Colin Johnson

EE Times

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