New technology center opens Friday

    The largest and most technologically advanced electron microscopy and nanofabrication lab in the northwest will opens its doors at Portland State on Oct. 13.

    PSU’s new lab will have with the widest selection of nanotechnology instruments available in any northwest university campus.

    ”I’m very excited,” said Jun Jiao, director of the new center and professor of physics and electrical engineering at PSU. “The facility will be fully loaded with state-of-the-art equipment.”

    The Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnology Institute (ONAMI) is opening three signature research facilities throughout the northwest, one of which was opened this past summer at the University of Oregon, and one of which will be opening for operation later this year at Oregon State University.

    The center will be made up mostly of a complex of laboratories, but will also contain a small laboratory teaching facility available to both graduate and undergraduate students, as well as researchers from Oregon universities. The bulk of all the teaching, however, will be held in Science Building 1.

    Nanoscale fabrication requires very precise measurements to ensure proper production and testing, and the new center will rank among the technologically elite. The center will also be very diverse, focusing on all aspects of nanotechnology – including biology, chemistry, and appropriate technology.

    Nanotechnology is the branch of technology that deals with the dimensions and tolerances of individual atoms and molecules. “As an example, a printer itself contains a base of microtechnology,” said Donald McClave, assistant to the Portland State president for corporate affairs and economic development. “But the nanosized technology is in the ink.”

    ONAMI will provide a minimal amount of funding for the facility because the corporation was created by the legislature to link university research and to build a knowledge base for the economy. The bulk of the funding will come from a user’s fee charged to students and researchers. The facility was designed to be self-supporting.

    ”It’s a working research link,” McClave said. “The center was created to bring together the best researchers from all Oregon Universities.”

    The facility will provide a space for researchers and students from neighboring universities to work together. “The universities have quite complimentary skills,” McClave said. “Even though they are very different, they work like perfect pieces in a puzzle.”

    The official opening ceremony will run from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 13 at the Native American Student and Community Center, 710 S.W. Jackson St. The event will include a keynote address and a panel discussion moderated by Skip Rung, president and executive director of ONAMI.

    A panel discussion will include industry leaders, as well as key faculty and researchers from Portland State, Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, ON Semiconductor, and Oregon Health and Science University. The ceremony is intended to demonstrate the variety of uses of the facility to the public, and the ways in which nanotechnology research can help the state of Oregon, specifically in the vein of economic and technological growth.

    David Chen, the ONAMI board chair, will be delivering the post-lunch keynote speech. “He is an absolutely excellent speaker,” McClave said. “Anyone who has not yet seen him should do so.”

    After the keynote address, the facility will be dedicated at Science Building 1, on 1025 SW Mill Street. Complimentary tours will be available. The lab spaces will be filled with students, faculty, and members of the public. A first test model of a new type of desktop microscope will also be on display, because the new center is the first official beta site.