University of Pittsburgh
September 28, 2006

Pitt to Open $6.1 Million Nanofabrication Facility, Serving the University's Gertrude E. and John M. Petersen Institute for NanoScience and Engineering, Sept. 29

Dedication to feature talk by NSF senior nanotechnology advisor Mihail Roco and symposium titled "Frontiers in Nanoscience"
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh will unveil its new $6.1 million NanoScale Fabrication and Characterization Facility at a dedication ceremony at

4:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, in the foyer of Benedum Hall, 3700 O'Hara St., Oakland.

Following the dedication, tours will be available of the 4,000-square-foot facility, which serves the University's Gertrude E. and John M. Petersen Institute for NanoScience and Engineering. In the last three years, three start-up companies and one major corporation have licensed nanotechnology developed by researchers at Pitt, which recently was ranked second in the nation in nano- and microscale research by Small Times. Since spring 2005, Pitt has hired 13 new nanoscience faculty, bringing the total number of faculty affiliated with the institute to 48.

The dedication will be preceded by a luncheon featuring speaker Mihail Roco, National Science Foundation senior advisor for nanotechnology, and a symposium titled "Frontiers in Nanoscience, in which researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Columbia University, and Pitt will discuss their latest discoveries.

In February of this year, the University received a $5 million gift from alumnus John M. Petersen and his wife, Gertrude, to create an endowment supporting research in nanoscale science and technology. John Petersen, the retired president and chief executive officer of the Erie Insurance Group in Erie, Pa., earned the Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Pitt in 1951. The Petersens have maintained a strong relationship with the University through their support of a variety of University programs, including their $10 million gift to name Pitt's John M. and Gertrude E. Petersen Events Center, home of what is considered the nation's premier on-campus basketball arena. Both avid fans of Pitt athletics, the Petersens continued their longstanding support of the Department of Athletics with a gift of $600,000 to support baseball and swimming scholarships.

Work done by Petersen Institute researchers already has resulted in the development of color-shifting paints, a contact lens-embedded sensor with the potential for noninvasive glucose-level monitoring for diabetes, and scaffolding to heal damaged hearts._

The new facility will promote multidisciplinary research, scholarship, and education among Pitt's School of Engineering, School of Arts and Sciences, and Schools of the Health Sciences.__ Key technologies available in the facility include a transmission electron microscope, an electron-beam lithography system, and a modular X-ray diffraction system.

A full schedule of the Sept. 29 events follows.

11:30 a.m. Luncheon featuring speaker Mihail Roco, Senior Advisor for Nanotechnology, National Science Foundation

Connolly Ballroom, Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland

In his talk, Roco will assess the research frontiers and applications of nanotechnology in an international context. He will address the implications of a National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) report, delivered Thursday, Sept. 21, to Congress, titled "Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials."

A key architect of the NNI, Roco chaired the first five years of the NNI organization. Under Roco's coordination, federal expenditure in nanotechnology research has grown from $116 million in fiscal year 1997 to $1.2 billion in 2005. Roco is credited with 13 inventions and has authored or coauthored more than 200 scientific and engineering articles as well as 12 books and manuals.

1-4 p.m. "Frontiers in Nanoscience" Symposium

Connolly Ballroom, Alumni Hall

1 p.m. John T. Yates Jr., R.K. Mellon Professor of Chemistry and Physics, University of Pittsburgh, Introductory Remarks

1:05 p.m. Louis E. Brus, S. L. Mitchill Professor of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Applied Chemistry, Columbia University, "Optical Properties of Carbon Nanotubes"

1:55 p.m. Arthur J. Nozik, Senior Research Fellow, NREL, "Multiple Exciton Generation in Semiconductor Quantum Dots: Applications to Third Generation Solar Photon Conversion"

2:45 p.m. Jeremy Levy, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh, "Nanostructured Materials for Quantum Computation and Other Applications"

3:10 p.m. Sanford Asher, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh, "Self-Assembling Smart Photonic Crystal Materials"

3:35 p.m. Hrvoje Petek, Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Codirector of the Petersen Institute, University of Pittsburgh, "Imaging Light With Light in Nanostructured Metal Films"

4:30 p.m. Facility Dedication and Tour

Foyer, Benedum Hall, 3700 O'Hara St., Oakland

5-6 p.m. Reception

Foyer, Benedum Hall

Pitt's Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering is an integrated, multidisciplinary organization that brings coherence to the University's research efforts and resources in the fields of nanoscale science and engineering. The University's focus at the "essentially nano" level (less than 10 nanometers), where the greatest breakthroughs in nanoscience are expected to occur, offers the potential for a broad range of applications, including environment and energy, materials and computation, biomedical and health care, and devices and systems. For more information, visit