The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mr. Micheál Martin, TD announced the commencement of construction of Ireland’s first purpose-built nanoscience research institute, The Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN) on 10 February. The planned 6,000 m2 research institute, will be known as The Naughton Institute in recognition of a €5m donation from Dr Martin Naughton, who is Chairman of the Glen Dimplex Group and a member of the Board of Trinity Foundation.
The Centre will house 150 scientists, technicians and graduate students in a state of the art facility and provide them with the tools required to explore the world of nanoscience. Science Foundation Ireland has committed €21m to CRANN to date, with almost €10m being used to fund research activity and €11m for the construction of specialised vibration-free laboratory facilities.
Projected to cost €29m and to be completed by the end of 2006, the Institute will be situated at the corner of Pearse Street and Westland Row. Researchers and scientists at the Institute will be able to develop apparatus and techniques to build new structures and devices atom by atom, which has endless possibilities for biotechnology, information and communications technologies.
Dr John Hegarty, Provost of Trinity College stated, “CRANNwas established in 2003 in advance of completion of the new building. Over the last few years Trinity has attracted and built up a critical mass of world-class expertise in nanoscience and we have a number of excellent people in the area who have been externally assessed as one of the best groups in the world. The College is determined to confirm its position as one of the world's leading universities and the Naughton Institute and its work will go along way to enhance that.”
The Institute will have ultra-low vibration, temperature and humidity controlled laboratories to allow highly sensitive measurements of nanoscale structures, state-of-the-art clean rooms where even the finest particles of dust are carefully filtered out to allow high-purity fabrication of nanotechnology devices. There will be specialist laboratories for nanoscale and biomolecular mechanics, magnetics, optics, chemistry and computation. It will also house a Science Gallery which will spearhead an innovative outreach programme.
The SFI funded first phase of CRANN's research focuses on the physics and chemistry of materials, including biomolecules, which may be structured at the nanoscale with the aim of achieving novel device functionality.
From nanoscience, technologies are already emerging that will change our lives in the coming decades, and the range of possible future products and applications is constantly growing. Nanotechnologies are set to yield the next generation of microelectronics to meet the ever-growing demand for smaller and faster electronic devices. Novel drug delivery systems are anticipated, which can deliver medication directly to the source of pain or illness. Other potential applications range from medical imaging techniques and prosthetics to computer memory and fuel cells.