RTD-NEWS/© European Communities---The Irish government
has unveiled details of what will be Ireland's first
purpose-built research institute.
The new Centre for
Research on Adaptive Nanostructures (CRANN), which
will open in early 2006, will have for its mission
'to advance the frontiers of nanosciences where physics,
chemistry and biology converge'.
'This new facility
will have world-class facilities; house the activities
of over 150 scientists and have ultra-low vibration
laboratories [...], to allow highly sensitive measurements
of nanoscale structures, and state-of-the-art clean
rooms where even particles of dusts are carefully
filtered out to allow high-purity fabrication of these
tiny objects,' said Minister for Enterprise, Trade
and Employment, Micheál Martin.
A total of 60 million
euro has been invested in CRANN since 2001, with 11
million euro going towards the construction of the
specialised vibration-free laboratory facilities.
These laboratories will permit development of the
point-probe microscopes needed to image the topography
and chemistry of the nano-world, explained Mr Martin,
adding that state of the art equipment will sculpt
or assemble atomic and molecular building blocks.
The first phase of
CRANN's scientific programme will focus on the physics
and chemistry of materials, including biomolecules,
which may be structured at the nanoscale with the
aim of achieving novel device functionality. The four
major research areas will be: membrane-fluid interface;
self-assembled nanostructures; nanoscale contacts
and spin electronics.
'As a centre of excellence,
CRANN will seek to attract outstanding scientist and
industrial partners,' said Mr Martin. 'This centre
will also provide an ideal platform for Irish researchers
to collaborate with their counterparts in the EU as
nanotechnology is expected to form a significant plank
of the forthcoming Seventh Framework Programme (FP7),'
of CRANN at the end of next year provides Ireland
with the opportunity to make nanotechnology what the
software and pharmaceutical sectors have been to our
economy in recent decades. It is in the nano-world
that discoveries will be made and technologies developed
which are likely to change our lives in the coming
decades. Ireland's aim to develop as a knowledge-based
economy requires an internationally competitive presence
in research in this field,' concluded the minister.
CRANN involves collaboration
between Trinity College Dublin, University College
Dublin, University College Cork, the INTEL corporation
and several Irish high-technology companies.