Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute recognized its newly remodeled Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center (RNC) on Monday, Sept. 15, 2003. The RNC was founded in April 2001 under the direction of Richard W. Siegel, Rensselaer’s Robert W. Hunt Professor of Material Science and Engineering.
The RNC contains a Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, one of only six of its kind in the country. The National Science Foundation awarded the RNC a five-year, $10 million grant. In addition, the center receives gift funds from five industry partners; a matching grant of $2.5 million over five years from the New York State Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research (NYSTAR); numerous additional grants from the federal government; as well as matching funds from Rensselaer. Total annual funding for the RNC amounts to about $6 million.
The renovated facilities include an atomic force microscope, which can visualize structures as small as one nanometer in diameter. The center also houses a nanoscale particle generator as well as the equipment needed to produce and study nanotubes. This advanced facility will foster continuing research in areas including developing new materials with extraordinary strength, dramatically downsizing electronic components, and creating biologically based replacements for skin and bone. “We are very pleased with our newly renovated laboratory and office facilities for the RNC,” said Siegel. “They are providing an important core for the center about which our exciting interdisciplinary activities can flourish at Rensselaer.”
The mission of the center is to integrate research, education, and technology dissemination, and serve as a national resource for fundamental knowledge and applications, in directed assembly of nanostructures. Rensselaer researchers are part of a high-priority national effort to work at the atomic and molecular level to alter the most basic structure of materials.