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An investment of $500,000 by the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology will create infrastructure at Rutgers in the Institute for Advanced Materials and Devices including equipment and expert support for collaborative use of the facilities by research universities and industry in New Jersey.  These collaborations will result in both the understanding of nanoscale phenomena and facilitate the commercial application of this knowledge.  

NJ Nano @ RU will

  • make equipment available to nanotech and other industries in New Jersey
  • make equipment available to other New Jersey research institutes
  • facilitate collaboration among all research universities and industries using nanotechnology
  • train students with the skills to move into nanotechnology jobs

Leveraging resources

The investment in NJ Nano @ RU will leverage over $5 million in existing state-of-the-art equipment obtained through donations and federal grants and allow for the acquisition of equipment donated by Lucent Bell Labs and NiroPharmaSystems, making these resources available to all. Contributions from Merck and Pfizer will support advanced equipment development for the pharmaceutical industry.

NJ Nano @ RU facilities will be used by numerous industries including:

  • chemical and petrochemical industry (e.g. catalysis),
  • pharmaceutical industry (e.g. chiral catalysis for drug manufacturing),
  • biotechnology companies who require the characterization of organic thin films that provide the key interface between inorganic substrates and the biological world (e.g. DNA or protein arrays, biochips, biosensors), 
  • energy enterprises dealing with hydrogen storage and hydrogen-based processes, solar energy, and
  • electronics, photonics and telecommunications industries.

NJ Nano @ RU will coordinate the use of the equipment and thereby make it possible to address the needs of New Jersey industries in a more effective and integrated manner.  A facility coordinator will provide a single point of contact for industry to collaborate with research universities or to use the facilities. The coordination will include:

  • Coordinating the use of facilities by industry and academia
  • Coordinating internships and recruiting of students by industry
  • Matching industry with university researchers for collaborative R&D projects
  • Licensing of Intellectual Property
  • Maintaining a web site with an overview of the facilities, procedures for interactions, a calendar listing colloquia and other events of interest to the nanotechnology R&D community

NJ Nano @ RU is an initial step that will lead the way toward developing greater opportunities to support the growth of nanotechnology in New Jersey. NJ Nano @ RU will initially acquire the following equipment for use by New Jersey institutions and industries:

  • Transmission/scanning transmission electron microscope (TEM/STEM) – with sub-nanometer resolution, this microscope will be the most powerful microscope in New Jersey and can give high resolution atomic images.
  • Facility to measure hydrogen content in inorganic and organic nanostructures. Rutgers currently houses the leading facilities in the country for ion scattering to measure materials composition. This addition will allow the instruments to also quantify hydrogen in many materials such as fuel cells or biomaterials.  It will be the only such facility in the US.
  • Laboratory for Continuous Organic Macrocomposite Manufacturing – developing new methods of granulating and blending dry powders to form tablets for pharmaceuticals.
  • Facility for high sensitivity electrical measurements of inorganic and organic nanostructures – important for sensor development, micro- and opto-electronics where the ability to measure weak changes in electrical signals is critical
  • Facility for growth of wide band gap nanostructructured materials such as Zinc Oxide.  Applications include bio-sensors, environmental monitoring of chemicals, and novel low power RF wireless devices.

Rutgers faculty overseeing NJ Nano @ RU facilities are:

  • Yves Chabal, Professor, Departments of Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering, and Physics
  • Eric Garfunkel, Professor, Department of Chemistry
  • Yicheng Lu, Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Fernando Muzzio, Professor, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Many New Jersey companies are expected to use NJ Nano @ RU facilities. Those who have already expressed interest include:

  • Cerionx in Pennsauken
  • NEI Corporation in Somerset
  • Exxon-Mobil
  • Semorex
  • Polymerix
  • Pfizer
  • Merck
  • Lucent