UAlbany Establishes New School of Nanosciences and Materials

Contact: Vincent Reda, 437-4985

Building on its renowned expertise in microelectronics and advanced materials, the University at Albany is establishing a new School of Nanosciences and Materials to develop the knowledge base that prepares students for the high-tech challenges ahead in the emerging field of nanotechnology.

The school plans to offer cross-disciplinary doctoral and master's degree programs that integrate the fundamental science principles of physics, chemistry, computer science and biology with the cross-cutting fields of nanosciences, nanotechnology, and advanced materials.

"Our School of Nanosciences and Materials is a key step in our strategy to build world-class academic and research programs that both create a highly-qualified pool of future scientists and researchers and advance the high-tech industries so critical to the economic strength of our state and nation," said University at Albany President Karen R. Hitchcock.

The new school will build on the instructional capabilities and cutting-edge infrastructure of the University's Institute for Materials, which manages six interdisciplinary research centers in the fields of nanotechnology, nanoelectronics and advanced materials.

"Institute Executive Director Alain Kaloyeros, who has built the institute into an internationally recognized center for high-tech research, has agreed to serve as founding dean of this new school and bring to life our vision for it," said Hitchcock.

"By coupling the Institute's resources and University programs in the sciences, this new school will become a one-of-a-kind intellectual powerhouse offering an unparalleled education," said State University of New York Chancellor Robert King. "There is a great need for highly-skilled employees in rapidly growing high-tech fields and this new school will address the need for interdisciplinary programs in nanosciences and advanced materials."

The Institute, based at the Center for Environmental Sciences and Technology Management (CESTM), boasts facilities valued at more than $100 million, including the only pilot prototyping facility at any university in the world for the current standard in computer chip design, the 200-millimeter, or 8-inch wafer. And the University will soon break ground for a new wing to CESTM that will house the academic world's first 300-millimeter wafer prototyping and workforce training facility. The semiconductor industry is moving to the next, larger generation, 300-mm wafer platform for greater capacity and higher performance.

More than 100 U.S. and worldwide corporate partners use Institute facilities or work with Institute scientists to test approaches in advanced materials processing, and in January, Governor - more - George Pataki proposed the creation of a Center for Excellence in Nanotechnology based at UAlbany to build on that success.

Graduate students at the University who study and conduct research in the technologically sophisticated environment provided at the Institute have high-tech jobs lined up even before they graduate. Most of these graduate students currently earn their master's or doctoral degrees in physics although, at the same time, most have training that spans other disciplines.

Carlos E. Santiago, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University at Albany, points out that, "To our knowledge, this new interdisciplinary school is the first of its kind in the country devoted to research, teaching, and service activities including technology proto-typing and workforce development specifically in the up and coming area of 'nanotechnology.' We are delighted that Dr. Kaloyeros will lead this effort as founding dean."

The emerging world of nanotechnology requires expertise across a number of disciplines, and the new school will better reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the students' education.

"Put simply, nanotechnology combines the basic principles of chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering to develop the knowledge for controlling and manipulating individual atoms to yield truly novel materials, devices, and systems with unique properties and performance. The resulting knowledge base transcends the more conventional core scientific fields, and is catalyzing the creation of new academic degrees and educational curricula," said Kaloyeros.

"Through the new school, we will work closely with the University's existing departments to establish highly synergistic partnerships that are greatly beneficial to our faculty and students," he said.

The new school will offer master's and doctoral programs in the following areas: thin film single and multilayered material structures; optoelectronic materials and architectures; nanosystems sciences and technologies; materials for nanotechnology; materials characterization, analysis, and metrology; and molecular materials and architectures.

Institute scientists James Castracane and Eric Lifshin are expected to be the school's first senior faculty members, joining a cadre of UAlbany faculty currently involved in the Institute for Materials. Castracane currently serves as Institute director of technology and adjunct professor in the physics and biology departments. Lifshin recently joined UAlbany as director of electron imaging facilities and metrology after many years with the General Electric Co., where he headed a team of 75 scientists.

"Industry needs people who are multi-disciplinary, not narrowly focused," noted Lifshin. "One of the big challenges at GE was finding people with the right skill mix and recruiting them - it's more and more difficult to find these skills." With the creation of the new school at UAlbany, he said, "We are putting our heads where the potential employer's head is at."

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April 16, 2001


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