At the opening of the Southampton Nanofabrication Centre yesterday (9 September), Professor Ian Diamond, Chair of Research Councils UK, described it as a “beautiful building”, which will place Southampton as part of an excellent UK network better than anywhere in the world.
Commenting on the Centre, which is housed in the University of Southampton’s new Mountbatten Building, Professor Diamond said:
‘When I was asked to speak at the opening of this facility, it took me all of a nanosecond to say how privileged I felt to be asked ...We have supported the University of Southampton for the past 60 years and feel sure that this new facility will result in the University continuing to win a very high number of grants from the research councils.’
Professor Harvey Rutt, Head of the University’s School of Electronics and Computer Science welcomed over 200 industrialists to the occasion which is the culmination of a four year journey, and has culminated in a £55M facility - one of Europe's leading multidisciplinary and state-of-the-art clean room complexes.
‘When our clean room facilities in the old Mountbatten building were lost in a fire in 1995, our Vice-Chancellor made a pledge that we would deliver a facility that was better than anything we had ever had,’ said Professor Rutt. ‘As a result of that pledge, we have a truly fantastic facility that positions us at the cutting edge of nanotechnology.’
The equipment in the new facility, which includes an Orion Microscope and a Focused Ion Beam, will make high-speed, non-volatile and low-power computer memory a reality and make it possible to carry out fast prototyping and to develop smaller, faster and more powerful single electron devices. Research teams are also working on a method of mass producing point of care blood testing kits.
Other guest speakers at the opening event included: Dr Larry Scipioni, Director of Applications Research, Carl Zeiss SMT Inc.; Dr David Williams, Chief Research Scientist and Lab Manager, Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory; Dr Chris Winter, Partner, New Venture Partners UK and Professor Peter Ashburn, Head of the Nano group at the School of Electronics and Computer Science.
The opening presentations were followed by clean room tours where industrialists viewed the training and research potential afforded by the facility.