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Governor Perdue Announces Major Nanotechnology Initiative

Tuesday, October 21, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


New Center Targets Next Science and Technology Wave

Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue announced today the creation of one of the nation's most advanced facilities for nanotechnology during a speech at the Georgia Technology Celebration, sponsored by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). The Nanotechnology Research Center (Center) will be located on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology and will be launched thanks to a $36 million contribution from an anonymous donor. To leverage this generous donation, Governor Perdue will include state matching funds over the next several years as part of his economic development budget recommendations to the Georgia General Assembly.

"Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor who recognizes the tremendous economic potential of this opportunity, Georgia will jump to the front of the pack in the world's next technology revolution," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "For Georgia to emerge as a leader in nanotechnology, we need to take advantage of the opportunity to build one of the nation's premier centers for this cutting edge technology and research."

The Center will be the most advanced nanotechnology facility in the Southeast, the first of its kind in the region, and will be one of the most sophisticated in the country. Located on the Georgia Tech campus, the 160,000 square foot facility will feature 30,000 square feet of clean rooms critical to nanotechnology research. It will enable the state to compete with other places where such facilities are planned or under construction - MIT and Cornell in the Northeast, Purdue and the University of Illinois in the Midwest, and Stanford and UC Berkeley in the West. The Center will offer access to nanotech researchers from other Georgia universities as well as industry partners.

Nanotechnology, sometimes referred to as the "science of the small," allows scientists to manipulate individual atoms and molecules making it possible to build machines on the scale of human cells or build structures or materials that assume dramatically different properties by virtue of their size. The prefix "nano" comes from the Greek word nanos and represents one-billionth of a unit. Scientists working in the field of nanotechnology work at the nanoscale, dealing with materials measured in a billionth of a meter - about 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

Currently, Georgia Tech researchers are working to develop structures at the micrometer level. With this facility and the purchase of an electron beam nanolithography system, researchers will be able to fabricate structures with features as small as 10-50 nanometers.

Many experts have hailed nanotechnology as the next great scientific and technological breakthrough. Nanotechnology research has led to such simple advances as the development of the flat screen television, and holds the potential to create microscopic machines that could repair damage at the cellular level in the human body.

The primary purpose of the Center is to dramatically expand clean room capacity, a critical element in nanotechnology research. Currently, Georgia Tech has 10,000 square feet of clean room research areas. The new building would quadruple clean room space on campus, providing academic and industry researchers with a volume of clean room space that could make Georgia the nanotechnology research hub of the Southeast.

Clean rooms are so expensive because of the air filtering requirements for nanotechnology research. This building will be designed to be a Class 10 clean room, meaning that there will be a maximum of 10, 0.5 micrometer particles/cubic foot of air. A typical office contains more than 1 million particles/cubic foot.

Georgia Tech is home to some of the nation's leading nanotechnology researchers. Dr. Uzi Landman is the 2003 recipient of the Feynman Prize, named in honor of the father of nanotechnology, Robert Feynman. Professor Z.L. Wang was ranked fifth in the world by the Institute of Scientific Information in the number of nanotechnology research papers published. Georgia Tech was ranked 12th in the world in the same issue. Professor Jim Meindl, director of the National Science Foundation-funded Microelectronics Research Center at Georgia Tech, is a world-renowned expert in semi-conductor and integrated circuit technology. Professor Ralph Merkle, director of Tech's Information Security Center, is a national expert in nanotechnology research and policy.

Additional information on nanotechnology may be found at