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UK, U of L win $3.76 million grant to create nanotechnology center of excellence

For his nanotechnology research, UK professor Paul Bertsch is using tobacco plants. They are cultivated in a nutrient solution and then grown in a nano-suspension for about a week.
For his nanotechnology research, UK professor Paul Bertsch is using tobacco plants. They are cultivated in a nutrient solution and then grown in a nano-suspension for about a week.

The University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville have won a $3.76 million grant to create a national center of excellence in micro and nanotechnology. The grant was one of just 16 awarded by the National Science Foundation.

The joint center will be part of a national network to make university facilities, tools and expertise in nanoscale science, engineering and technology available to outside users. Nanotechnology is generally described as the manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular and supramolecular scale.

Eight key nanotechnology and advanced-manufacturing facilities at UK and U of L will provide a center to "build miniature solutions for applications in health care, energy, security and beyond," said Todd Hastings, director of the UK Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

The five-year grant will be used to upgrade advanced manufacturing equipment at UK and U of L research centers, add staff to help train and support as many as 500 additional external users, provide seed money for new manufacturing research areas, and engage more minorities and women in nanoscale science, engineering and technology.

"The next generation of commercial, medical and industrial products will contain embedded tiny sensors and miniature wireless communication electronics," said professor Kevin Walsh, director of U of L's Micro/Nanotechnology Center. "New manufacturing technologies will need to be developed so these smart products can be made quickly, reliably and economically. U of L and UK are tackling those challenges."

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