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Posted: June 9, 2008
University of Waterloo breaks ground on Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre
(Nanowerk News) The University of Waterloo is breaking ground on a $160-million investment designed to propel the university and the country to the forefront of the science of the very small. The university is beginning construction of the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre (QNC).
The new centre will be home to not one but two forefront areas of science and engineering -- quantum information technology and nanotechnology. Quantum deals with the atomic and sub-atomic levels, where the usual laws of physics do not apply; things can, for instance, exist in two places at the same time. Nanotechnology deals with the fabrication and behaviour of materials, devices and systems in the size range of atoms or molecules, generally 100 nanometres or smaller.
The genius and beauty of the quantum-nano concept lies in the unique combination of strengths that result. The potential synergies produced by nano and quantum researchers working side by side will be unique and groundbreaking. No other quantum group in the world has a direct in-house bridge to a major nanotech institute and no nanotech centre has the opportunity to partner in developments at the leading edge of quantum information technologies.
"This is an exciting time for science and the University of Waterloo," says UW Chancellor Mike Lazaridis. "In addition to housing state-of-the-art research labs, this new building will provide a unique and cutting-edge environment that will bring together the brightest minds in basic and applied research to explore and advance quantum computing and nanotechnology."
The facility will be home to the Institute for Quantum Computing, the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology and UW's undergraduate program in nanotechnology engineering. It will be able to accommodate the needs of up to 400 academics, equally split between the quantum and nano sides, with most coming from the faculties of engineering, mathematics and science.
"The Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre will be the first research facility of its kind in the world," says Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. "That kind of innovation is the cornerstone of the economy we are building in Ontario in the 21st century."
The five-storey facility will be the most complex scientific building on campus. Significant features include a 10,000-square-foot class 100 and 1000 clean room with state-of-the-art fabrication facilities for quantum and nano devices, an advanced metrology suite, extensive teaching and research laboratories, seminar rooms and offices.
Mechanical and electrical systems account for close to 50 per cent of the construction costs. The building will feature low vibration, low electromagnetic interference and radio frequency interference environments employing advanced structural, mechanical and electrical designs.
"This is a significant investment, not just in the University of Waterloo, but in Ontario and Canada," says David Johnston, president and vice-chancellor of the university. "The provincial government, Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis, and all other supporters of this project should be commended for helping UW researchers excel at the forefront of quantum information and nanotechnology."
The Government of Ontario is providing $50 million for construction of QNC. Another $22 million is coming from a $50 million donation from the Lazaridis family. The remaining funding involves federal funding, private donations and university funds.
The Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre is scheduled to open late in 2010 or early 2011.