Posted: May 1, 2007

University of York opens new nanotechnology center

(Nanowerk News) The University of York has taken a significant step into new fields of sub-Angstrom level materials research with the opening of the York JEOL Nanocentre.
The interdisciplinary research and teaching centre represents a £5.5 million investment in novel nanoscience capability by the University of York, regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward, the European Union, and by scientific instruments supplier JEOL.
The new Centre, which is already forging close links with industry, is expected to result in significant developments of new materials for everything from medical science to electronics. It combines resources from the University’s Departments of Physics, Chemistry and Electronics, with the potential for much wider collaborations.
The Centre, on York Science Park, was officially opened on April 27, 2007 by the Chief Executive of Yorkshire Forward, Tom Riordan, and senior officials of JEOL.
Co-directed by Professor Pratibha Gai of the Departments of Chemistry and Physics and JEOL Professor of Electron Microscopy, and Professor Edward Boyes of the Departments of Physics and Electronics, it includes one of the world’s most powerful electron microscopes. The sophisticated equipment should eventually allow scientists to carry out single atom analysis.
One of just four similar instruments worldwide, it is the only one set up for fully remote operation in its own purpose built pod. The other unique feature of the York equipment is a special chamber which allows scientists to observe materials during natural reactions.
Plans are well advanced to add novel facilities for dynamic in-situ chemical reaction studies, including access to metastable catalytic states, under controlled conditions of gas atmosphere (and including high vacuum), and temperature.
Supporting equipment includes a research grade dual beam focused ion beam (FIB) milling system and high performance scanning electron microscopy (SEM), both of which can be operated for custom nanolithography experiments.
Professor Gai said: "This instrumentation - a world first with planned in situ capabilities - will form the technical foundation for major new scientific initiatives in Nanomaterials research. The approaches include structure and properties of novel nanoparticles of semiconducting, catalytic and magnetic materials, and atomic and molecular-scale interactions which determine them.
"It’s going to take us into a new and completely different world of nano and molecular technology providing access at the most fundamental level - that’s the really exciting part about it. We are very grateful for the support to enable this initiative, to open up leading edge science in this area and for the opportunity to stimulate and support regional development."
Mike Hepburn, Managing Director of JEOL (UK) Ltd, said "We take on a limited number of these projects, and are delighted to be working with The University of York, as well as Professor Gai and Professor Boyes. The Centre is unique in that although York does not have a history of research in this area, this centre has been set up from almost nothing, to rival institutes on the worldwide stage. This shows the commitment and ambition of the University of York and Yorkshire Forward and is the primary reason that JEOL are proud to be involved in this innovative partnership".
The day will also feature the inaugural Cantor Nanoscience Lecture by Professor David D Awschalom, of the Centre for Spintronics and Quantum Computation at the University of California, on Spintronics and quantum information processing and Professor Gai’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture: Seeing atoms in action: Catalysis for better living.
Source: University of York