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New Stanford center probes nanoscale material

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $7.5 million over five years to establish the Center for Probing the Nanoscale (CPN) at Stanford. Kathryn Moler, associate professor of applied physics and of physics, and David Goldhaber-Gordon, assistant professor of physics, will be co-directors. The CPN is one of six new centers that the NSF is funding to support science and engineering at the scale of the nanometer — one billionth of a meter, roughly the size of atoms and molecules. Through nanoscale advances in manufacturing, biotechnology, electronics, medicine and more, nanotechnology may account for a $1 trillion annual market and employ 2 million people within 10 to 15 years, according to an NSF report.

"There's a huge effort in this country in nanoscale research, but we don't have the tools," Moler said. "We want to engineer what's at the nanoscale. We need to be able to see it, and we need to be able to handle it in order to engineer it, and that's what our center's all about."

The CPN, which will have offices and a teaching lab in the Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials, is a partnership between researchers at Stanford, IBM and other companies to develop novel nanoprobes and apply them to answering fundamental questions in science and technology.

"What's different about our [center] is that we're developing new tools to enable nanoscale science and technology, and we're excited to see what possibilities these tools will open up," Goldhaber-Gordon said.

The probes will enhance the capabilities of the nanotechnology community to observe, manipulate, measure, image and control nanoscale phenomena. Researchers hope to develop probes with revolutionary capabilities, such as mapping a single electron's behavior in a semiconductor and controlling a single electron's magnetic orientation, or "spin."

The probes will help researchers address questions such as: At what length scale does quantum mecha
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Contact: Dawn Levy
dawnlevy@stanford.edu
650-725-1944
Stanford University
4-Oct-2004


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