Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Washington Nanofabrication Facility to invest $37 million

As reported today by University of Washington : For start-up companies looking to make chips with nanoscale features for sequencing DNA or wafers for industrial barcode printing, the equipment costs to fabricate those parts could easily devour every last dollar of seed funding.

The same goes for grant-funded researchers designing quantum information devices or micro-scale sensors to measure cell movement— which is where theWashington Nanofabrication Facility comes in.

Since the UW started operating the Washington Nanofabrication Facility in 2011, its users have included:
  • 84 UW faculty
  • 298 students
  • 92 companies, including 7 UW spin-outs
  • 36 outside academic institutions

The WNF makes things that aren’t practical, economical or possible to fabricate at commercial foundries — inconceivably tiny parts, chips made from unconventional materials that industrial factories won’t touch, devices that probe the boundaries of our universe. Part of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network, the lab on the University of Washington campus is the largest publicly accessible nanofabrication facility north of Berkeley and west of Minneapolis.

To serve growing demand for nanofabrication services, the UW Board of Regents has approved spending up to $37 million to renovate the facility, which is housed in Fluke Hall. The overhaul, scheduled to begin in November, will upgrade basic building systems and roughly double the amount of highly-specialized fabrication space that academics and entrepreneurs increasingly rely on to build innovative devices.

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