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June 22, 2006

Pitt ranked 2nd for nanoscale research

Pitt is ranked second in the nation for microscale and nanoscale research in the current issue of the global trade publication, Small Times.

The magazine said, “Pitt has the resources to back up its claims of expertise, with the Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering, the Swanson Center for Micro and Nano Systems and the NanoScale Fabrication and Characterization Facility…. Its breadth of expertise, resources and publishing activities put Pitt near the top for micro and nanotech research.”

A nanometer is about one eighty-thousandth the width of an average human hair; a micrometer is 1,000 nanometers. Pitt’s major strength is in the study of nanostructures at the core nano level — 20 nanometers or below. This area of focus, known as “essentially nano,” is the level where the most significant breakthroughs are expected to occur.

Provost James V. Maher said, “The University of Pittsburgh has a strong vision for, and commitment to, nanotechnology, and we intend to continue to be in the forefront of research in this important field of study.”

Pitt’s micro and nanomicroscale and nanoscaletech research areas are wide-ranging, from biochemical sensors to quantum information processing to radio frequency identification. About 45 engineering and science faculty engage in microscale or nanoscale or nanotech research, assisted by 120 graduate students and 60 undergraduates.

The Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering allows interdisciplinary teams from the School of Engineering, Arts and Sciences and the Schools of the Health Sciences to solve complex research challenges through collaboration.

The NanoScale Fabrication and Characterization Facility, part of the Petersen Institute, is scheduled to open this fall and includes a 4,000-sq.-ft. clean room that will house advanced lithography equipment. The facility also will enable vertical integration of structures from the nano to the micro to the macro level in conjunction with other Pitt facilities.

In the research category, Pitt ranked ahead of Case Western Reserve University, Cornell, the University of Virginia, Rice University and the University of Michigan. The University of Pennsylvania ranked first in the category.

Small Times sent surveys to more than 100 research institutions; of those, 50 replied.

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