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Department of Defense Awards $1.9 Million for Nanotechnology Research

May 5, 2004

The University of Texas at Arlington nanotechnology programs received a financial boost of $1.91 million from the Department of Defense this week. The funding is part of a $10 million grant to the Strategic Partnership for Research in Nanotechnology (SPRING), a consortium of six Texas universities conducting research in this developing technology.

The College of Engineering’s Nanotechnology Research & Teaching Facility (NanoFab) and the College of Science’s Center for Nanostructured Materials (CNM), a joint venture of the departments of Chemistry and Physics, will share the UTA funds. All of the funds will be used to outfit NanoFab and CNM labs with state of the art instrumentation for nanotechnology research, according to Dr. Ron Elsenbaumer, vice president for research at UTA.

“There are more than 25 faculty members at UTA that will make use of the new instrumentation,” said Elsenbaumer. “These instruments will be available for use in collaborations with our SPRING partners and others outside of UTA, such as researchers at other institutions and industries in the North Texas region. These investments will further propel UTA to the forefront of nanotechnology research. We’re forecasting projects such as renewable energy generation, semiconductor manufacturing, chemical, radiation and biological sensors and others. This grant reflects SPRING’s position as one of the biggest powerhouses in nanotechnology research in the U.S.”

Electrical Engineering Professor Zeynep Celik-Butler, interim director of NanoFab, expects to acquire at least three major pieces of equipment: a Chemical Vapor Deposition System, used to deposit various silicon compounds in the development of nanoelectromechanical systems; a Deep Reactive Ion Etcher, used to create structures with high aspect ratios; and a Double-Sided, High Resolution Mask Aligner, used to apply circuit and machine patterns on wafers. The Deep Reactive Ion Etcher and Double-Sided Mask Aligner would be unique to university nanotechnology facilities in north Texas.

Dr. Fred MacDonnell, director of the CNM, said that he expects to acquire a Thin Film/Powder X-Ray Diffractometer, used to investigate coating and thin film surface stresses on metals and ceramics.

SPRING is comprised of UT-Arlington, UT-Austin, UT- Dallas, UT-Brownsville, UT-Pan American in Edinburg, Rice University and Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Its mission is to foster nanotechnology-based education and research, and university/industry technology transfer in Texas.