Tag Archives: College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering

Corruption charges for New York state’s nanotechnology chief

I used to write about New York state and its College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering quite frequently as I was fascinated with their public outreach programs and the quantity of funding for nanotechnology education and research they received. Sadly, it seems the college has gotten caught up in a corruption scandal. Here’s more from a Sept. 22, 2016 article by Nathan Tempey for gothamist.com,

Alain Kaloyeros, longtime head of SUNY Polytechnic Institute and ally of Governor Andrew Cuomo, was arrested this morning along with several developers who were big-time donors to Cuomo, and two longtime members of Cuomo’s inner circle, Todd Howe and Joseph Percoco. Kaloyeros has for years been one of (if not the) highest-paid state employee, making at least $1.17 million last year in dual roles with the college and the Research Foundation for SUNY, which channels state funding to the school. In addition to boosting nanotechnology and allegedly fixing bids for signature Cuomo development projects around the state, Kaloyeros has a taste for John Varvatos threads, Italian sportscars, and misogynistic Facebook memes.

Most pertinent today is his alleged participation in rigging the Buffalo Billions project, which dedicated $1 billion in state funds to Buffalo factories, research facilities, and other developments, and the Central New York Hub for Emerging Nano Industries, a $15 million, high-tech film studio that was supposed to bring jobs to the Syracuse area (by and large, it hasn’t). The feds are charging Kaloyeros with conspiracy to commit wire fraud for allegedly helping to tailor requests for proposals in the two projects to two specific developers who were allegedly paying off Howe and Percoco, and had given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Cuomo’s campaign.

The federal charge against Kaloyeros carries as many as 20 years in prison.

“I really do hope there is a trial in this case so New Yorkers can see, in gory detail, what their state government has been up to,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara said at a press conference this afternoon [Sept. 22, 2016].

Kaloyeros is also being hit with three felony state anti-trust charges for similar alleged schemes related to dorm construction and other SUNY real estate arrangements, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced this afternoon [Sept. 22, 2016]. The charges carry 4 to 12 years in prison.

“There’s a long history of public corruption in New York state, going back to the days of Alexander Hamiltion and Aaron Burr, but it feels like we are living in a golden age of graft recently,” Schneiderman said at his own press conference.

There’s a lot more detail in Tempey’s article.

I can’t make too many comments about these allegations other than to note that the prosecutors seem to be relishing their roles.

The latest news has Kaloyeros resigning from his position in New York state and job hunting (from an Oct. 19, 2016 article by Tom Precious for The Buffalo News,

Alain Kaloyeros, accused in an alleged bid rigging in New York, is going job hunting in Pennsylvania.

Kaloyeros, the nanotechnology expert whose tasks once included overseeing Buffalo Billion projects like the SolarCity development, sought permission from a federal magistrate to travel to Pennsylvania “for employment purposes.

Science diplomacy: high school age Pakistani students (terror attack survivors) attend NanoDiscovery Institute in New York State

The visiting students are from the Peshawar Army School in Pakistan, which suffered a terrorist attack in 2014. From the Peshawar School Massacre Wikipedia entry (Note: Links have been removed),

On 16 December 2014, seven gunmen affiliated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) conducted a terrorist attack on the Army Public School in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. The militants, all of whom were foreign nationals, included one Chechen, three Arabs and two Afghans. They entered the school and opened fire on school staff and children,[8][9] killing 145 people, including 132 schoolchildren, ranging between eight and eighteen years of age.[10][11] A rescue operation was launched by the Pakistan Army’s Special Services Group (SSG) special forces, who killed all seven terrorists and rescued 960 people.[9][12][13] Chief military spokesman Major General Asim Bajwa said in a press conference that at least 130 people had been injured in the attack.[8]

As of July 29, 2015 seven of the student survivors are visiting New York State to attend a NanoDiscovery Institute program, according to a July 29, 2015 news item on Nanotechnology Now,

In support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s commitment to provide high-tech educational opportunities in New York State, SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SUNY Poly CNSE), in partnership with Meridian International Center (Meridian) and with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, today announced that SUNY Poly CNSE will host a group of students from Peshawar, Pakistan, from July 29 through August 4 [2015] at the institution’s world-class $20 billion Albany NanoTech Complex. The weeklong “NanoDiscovery Institute” will follow a custom-tailored curriculum designed to inspire the students with the limitless potential of the nanosciences. The students, who will take part in a number of nanotechnology-themed activities, presentations, and tours, survived a brutal attack on their school by terrorists last December when more than 140 students and teachers were killed in their classrooms.

A July 29, 2015 SUNY (State University of New York) Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SUNY Poly CNSE), news release, which originated the news item, describes the purpose of the visit to CNSE in more detail,

“Governor Andrew Cuomo’s innovation-based educational blueprint not only offers unprecedented opportunities for students in New York State, it also enables the exchange of scientific know-how far beyond its borders and we are thrilled to be able to host these students from Pakistan and engage and inspire them through the power of nanotechnology,” said Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, President and CEO of SUNY Poly. “It has been a pleasure to work with Meridian to create this positive educational experience for these students who have endured more in their young lives than most of us will see in a lifetime. We hope their visit will give them a greater understanding of the nanosciences, as well as an appreciation for America and New York State and our commitment to progress through education, the cornerstone of a better world.”

“We are proud to connect these science-oriented students from Pakistan with the globally recognized educational resources of SUNY Poly CNSE,” said Bonnie Glick, Senior Vice President of Meridian. “This exchange will expose these students to the nanotechnology world through a weeklong visit to SUNY Poly CNSE’s unmatched facilities. This is a perfect way to show Meridian’s mission in action as we seek to share ideas and engage people across borders and cultures to promote global leadership and to help to form future leaders. For these students in particular, this first-of-a-kind opportunity will not erase what happened, but we hope it will provide them with tools to enhance their educations and to foment global collaboration. Through the Nanotechnology Institute at SUNY Poly CNSE, these students will see, concretely, that there is more that unites us than divides us – science will be a powerful unifier.”

During their visit to SUNY Poly CNSE, the visiting Peshawar Army Public School students will create business plans as part of a Nanoeconomics course designed by SUNY Poly CNSE staff members, and they will also participate in nanotechnology career briefings. Two Pakistani high school teachers and a military liaison are accompanying the students as they attend the five-day NanoDiscovery Institute facilitated by SUNY Poly CNSE professors. Four students from the U.S. with similar academic interests will join the group, encouraging cross-cultural interactions. The group will become immersed in the nanosciences through hands on experiments and engaging presentations; they will learn how small a nanometer is and see first-hand New York State’s unique high-tech ecosystem to better understand what is underpinning technological progress and how an education focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) can lead to exciting opportunities. As part of the U.S.-Pakistan Global Leadership and STEM program designed by Meridian to promote global collaboration through the sciences, the students will also engage in a global leadership skills training in Washington, D.C., and participate in cultural activities in New York City.

For a description of all of the activities planned for the students’ two week visit to the US, Shivani Gonzalez offers more detail in a July 29, 2015 article for timesunion.com,

“I am so thankful for this opportunity,” said Hammad, one of the students. (Organizers of the trip asked that the student’s last names not be used by the media.) “I know that this education will help us in the future.”

In December [2014[, the Peshawar school was attacked …

International outrage over the attack prompted the Pakistani government, which has been criticized for its lackluster pursuit of violent extremists, to strengthen its military and legal efforts.

The students are in the country for two weeks, and are being hosted by the Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C., where their packed itinerary began earlier this week. In addition to tours of the Pentagon and Capitol, the group met Secretary of State John Kerry.

After that [NanoDiscovery Institute], the students will go to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown for a different kind of cultural exchange: The visitors will learn how to play baseball, and their U.S. counterparts will learn the fundamentals of cricket. A dual-sports tournament is planned.

The students will also visit West Point to see the similarities and differences with their military school back home.

To finish up the trip, the students will present their final nanotech projects to SUNY Poly staff, and will fly back to Washington to present the projects to U.S. military officials.

What a contrast for those students. In six months they go from surviving a terrorist attack at school to being part of a science diplomacy initiative where they are being ‘wined and dined’.

If you are interested in the Meridian International Center, there is this brief description at the end of the CNSE July 29, 2015 news release about the visit,

Meridian is a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, DC. For more than 50 years, Meridian has brought international visitors to the United States to engage with their counterparts in government, industry, academia, and civil society. Meridian promotes global leadership through the exchange of ideas, people, and culture. Meridian creates innovative education, cultural, and policy programs that strengthen U.S. engagement with the world through the power of exchange, that prepare public and private sector leaders for a complex global future, and that provide a neutral forum for international collaboration across sectors. For more information, visit meridian.org.

The Meridian website is strongly oriented to visual communication (lots of videos) which is a bit a disadvantage for me at the moment since my web browser, Firefox, has disabled Adobe Flash due to security concerns.

From monitoring glucose in kidneys to climate change in trees

That headline is almost poetic but I admit It’s a bit of a stretch rhymewise, kidneys/trees. In any event, a Feb. 6, 2015 news item on Azonano describes research into monitoring the effects of climate change on trees,

Serving as a testament to the far-reaching impact of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s commitment to maintaining New York State’s global leadership in nanotechnology innovation, SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SUNY Poly CNSE) today announced the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $837,000 to support development of a first of its kind nanoscale sensor to monitor the effects of climate change on trees.

A Feb. 5, 2015 SUNY Poly CNSE news release, which originated the news item, provides more details including information about the sensor’s link to measuring glucose in kidneys,

The NSF grant was generated through the Instrument Development for Biological Research (IDBR) program, which provides funds to develop new classes of devices for bio-related research. The NANAPHID, a novel aphid-like nanosensor, will provide real-time measurements of carbohydrates in live plant tissue. Carbohydrate levels in trees are directly connected to plant productivity, such as maple sap production and survival. The NANAPHID will enable researchers to determine the effects of a variety of environmental changes including temperature, precipitation, carbon dioxide, soil acidity, pests and pathogens. The nanosensor can also provide real-time monitoring of sugar concentration levels, which are of signficant importance in maple syrup production and apple and grape farming.

“The technology for the NANAPHID is rooted in a nanoscale sensor SUNY Poly CNSE developed to monitor glucose levels in human kidneys being prepared for transplant. Our team determined that certain adjustments would enable the sensor to provide similar monitoring for plants, and provide a critical insight to the effects of climate change on the environment,” said Dr. James Castracane, professor and head of the Nanobioscience Constellation at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. “This is a perfect example of the cycle of innovation made possible through the ongoing nanotechnology research and development at SUNY Poly CNSE’s NanoTech Complex.”

“This new sensor will be used in several field experiments on measuring sensitivity of boreal forest to climate warming. Questions about forest response to rising air and soil temperatures are extremely important for forecasting future atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, climate change and forest health,” said Dr. Andrei Lapenas, principal investigator and associate professor of climatology at the University at Albany. “At the same time, we already see some potential commercial application for NANAPHID-type sensors in agriculture, food industry and other fields. Our collaboration with SUNY Poly CNSE has been extremely productive and I look forward to continuing our work together.”

The NANAPHID project began in 2014 with a $135,000 SUNY Research Foundation Network of Excellence grant. SUNY Poly CNSE will receive $400,000 of the NSF award for the manufacturing aspects of the sensor array development and testing. The remaining funds will be shared between Dr. Lapenas and researchers Dr. Ruth Yanai (ESF), Dr. Thomas Horton (ESF), and Dr. Pamela Templer (Boston University) for data collection and analysis.

“With current technology, analyzing carbohydrates in plant tissues requires hours in the lab or more than $100 a sample if you want to send them out. And you can’t sample the same tissue twice, the sample is destroyed in the analysis,” said Dr. Yanai. “The implantable device will be cheap to produce and will provide continuous monitoring of sugar concentrations, which is orders of magnitude better in both cost and in the information provided. Research questions we never dreamed of asking before will become possible, like tracking changes in photosynthate over the course of a day or along the stem of a plant, because it’s a nondestructive assay.”

“I see incredible promise for the NANAPHID device in plant ecology. We can use the sensors at the root tip where plants give sugars to symbiotic fungi in exchange for soil nutrients,” said Dr. Horton. “Some fungi are believed to be significant carbon sinks because they produce extensive fungal networks in soils and we can use the sensors to compare the allocation of photosynthate to roots colonized by these fungi versus the allocation to less carbon demanding fungi. Further, the vast majority of these symbiotic fungi cannot be cultured in lab. These sensors will provide valuable insights into plant-microbe interactions under field conditions.”

“The creation of this new sensor will make understanding the effects of a variety of environmental changes, including climate change, on the health and productivity of forests much easier to measure,” said Dr. Templer. “For the first time, we will be able to measure concentrations of carbohydrates in living trees continuously and in real-time, expanding our ability to examine controls on photosynthesis, sap flow, carbon sequestration and other processes in forest ecosystems.”

Fascinating, eh? I wonder who made the connection between human kidneys and plants and how that person made the connection.

Nano in New York State: Nano Utica builds chip facility and California’s The Film House relocates

New York State has been engaged in a processi of building a ‘nano hub’ for some years now and one of the latest developments in this effort is the Nano Utica initiative which recently passed a milestone with regard to a new facility being built (from a Feb. 27, 2014 news item on Nanowerk),

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today [Feb. 27, 2014] announced a milestone in the construction of the $125 million Computer Chip Commercialization Center (Quad-C), as construction crews completed the building’s steel structure ahead of schedule. This marked a key moment in the first phase of the Governor’s $1.5 billion Nano Utica initiative, spearheaded by the SUNY [State University of New York] College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SUNY CNSE) and the SUNY Institute of Technology (SUNYIT). Nano Utica is the public-private partnership announced by the Governor in October 2013 that will bring more than 1,500 jobs to the region and further define New York as the global leader in nanotechnology-based research and development.

The Feb. 27, 2014 SUNY CNSE news release, which originated the news item, provides some insight into the hopes and dreams of the politicians and academics involved in this ‘nano hub’ making effort,

“This is an important milestone for New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “Not only will this project create over a thousand new high-skilled, high-paying jobs, but it marks New York’s emergence as a world leader in the nanotechnology sector. Quad-C will be the catalyst for nanotechnology innovation, education, and economic development in New York. The project is ahead of schedule and exciting things lay ahead.”

Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy, who presided over the Quad-C ceremony, said, “With great thanks to Governor Cuomo’s strategic vision for growth, the past three years have proven to be enormous for the nanotechnology industry in many regions of the state. The latest announcement here today in Utica, that construction on the Quad-C facility is ahead of schedule, helps to ensure the continued development and utilization of everything that the Mohawk Valley has to offer. I thank the Governor, the leadership at SUNY, and our partners in government and nanotechnology for their tireless efforts to make this industry successful in Utica.”

“With Governor Cuomo’s support and leadership, we are building more than world-class nanotechnology research and development facilities; we are building a state that is leading the way in critical scientific areas that are powering next-generation technologies,” said Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, CNSE Senior Vice President and CEO. “As we top-off Quad-C, we realize the heights New York will achieve, thanks to Governor Cuomo’s pioneering vision, are limitless.”

Quad-C will be completed by the end of 2014. The 253,000 square-foot facility will include 56,000 square-feet of Class 1 capable cleanroom space stacked on two levels. An annual operating budget of over $500 million will support 1,500 high-tech jobs and the establishment of groundbreaking academic programs and cutting-edge workforce training opportunities.

Led by the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) and SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica/Rome (SUNYIT), the Quad-C is an integral part of the Governor’s Nano Utica initiative, featuring six leading global technology companies that will invest $1.5 billion to create a regional hub for nanotechnology-based innovation, education, and economic development.

“With the final steel beam in place, we are thrilled to see Governor Cuomo’s targeted investments lay the groundwork for this nanotechnology-based boom that is poised to help uplift this region,” said Dr. Robert Geer, SUNYIT Acting President. “Quad-C will build upon the Albany-based, publicly-led, public-private partnership model by leveraging the facility’s world-class research, development, and manufacturing capabilities to benefit this upstate region that is on the upswing.”

Senator Joe Griffo said, “Governor’s Cuomo’s commitment to supporting key public-private partnerships and growing our emerging high-tech industries is proving successful here in the Mohawk Valley as it has across all of New York State. With construction at the Quad-C facility continuing ahead of schedule, we are making major strides in solidifying the region’s position as a major hub for nanotech research and development, and a premier place for global companies to do business. I look forward to the project’s completion and the economic boost this influx of jobs will provide to the community.”

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi said, “The Governor’s Nano Utica initiative is an unprecedented step forward for this region, and the fact that the first phase of construction was completed ahead of schedule shows his commitment to getting New Yorkers into jobs as quickly as possible. The sooner we finish Quad-C construction, the sooner it is that we can put professionals back to work, and feel the ripple effects of this monumental program in the area’s small business community. Governor Cuomo’s plan goes beyond simply creating jobs; it will transform Utica in a way not seen in generations, and put the Mohawk Valley on the map in the nanotechnology world. I look forward to continuing to work with this administration to keep up the pace and see the Nano Utica project through to a speedy completion.”

County Executive Anthony Picente said, “I want to thank Governor Cuomo. Under his leadership we are becoming a leader in nanotechnology. Today is a significant step towards the future. Nano Utica is the catalyst for job growth and economic progress in our state for years to come.”

Utica Mayor Rob Palmeri said, “Today’s announcement is an important first step as Utica continues its transformation into a high-tech destination for companies around the globe. Jobs of the future – 1,500 of them – will soon be coming home to Utica as part of Governor Cuomo’s Nano Utica initiative. These jobs in turn will spur economic development all across the region, which I believe is on the verge of very big things in the years ahead region thanks to this public-private partnership spearheaded by Governor Cuomo.”

Supervisor Brian Scala said, “I’m happy to celebrate in today’s announcement as we mark this major accomplishment. The Mohawk Valley’s unique assets make it an ideal location for a project of this scale and magnitude and I thank Governor Cuomo and all the partners involved who have made this long-time vision a reality. The transformation taking shape at Quad-C gives us a window into what will be a world-class facility that create more than 1,500 new jobs for our area residents and their families and dramatically reshape our economic future. I am proud that Marcy can be home to this great project.”

The Nano Utica consortium is led by Advanced Nanotechnology Solutions Incorporated (ANS Inc.), SEMATECH, Atotech, and SEMATECH and CNSE partner companies, including IBM, Lam Research, and Tokyo Electron. Headquartered at the CNSE-SUNYIT Quad-C, Nano Utica will build on the research and development programs currently being conducted by ANS Inc., SEMATECH, and their private industry partners at the SUNY CNSE campus in Albany.

Somehow New York State’s nano hub has led to a California-based film and entertainment company, The Film House, making the decision to relocate to New York state. From a March 5, 2014 news item on areadevelopment.com (Note: Links have been removed),

The Film House, a California-based film and television company, will be the first tenant in Central New York State’s Hub for Emerging Nano Industries. The firm will move its headquarters, production, post-production, and distribution operations to Syracuse, New York, as part of a relocation expected to create at least 350 new high-tech jobs in Onondaga County.

President and CEO of The Film House Ryan Johnson said, “We considered locations around the world but nothing came close to offering an opportunity like New York does. The state leadership, as embodied by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the skilled workforce, the commitment to high tech research and development, and the overall business friendly climate in this state made it pretty clear that this is where our business, our jobs, and our investments need to be. We’re thrilled to partner with CNSE on what will undoubtedly create unique academic possibilities as we explore the future of filmmaking and distribution.”

“This deal continues our efforts to revitalize upstate New York’s economy and create jobs,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “The film industry and nanotech sectors are emerging industries, and New York is going to reap the rewards of innovation and high-tech jobs. We’re bringing the industries of the future to New York, and Upstate is going to lead the way. The new innovation hub in Onondaga County will be a hotspot for research and education, bringing hundreds of new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment to Central New York.” [emphasis mine]

CNSE Senior Vice President and CEO Dr. Alain Kaloyeros said, “Today’s announcement is further evidence that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s leadership and vision have established New York State as the world leader in cutting edge nanotechnology innovation and applications, including almost every nanotechnology-enabled industry, while capturing the interests and investments of more than just the computer chip industry. The New York nanotechnology sector is not only making smart phones smarter. It is now making the movies and TV shows that the public can enjoy watching on them. We welcome The Film House to New York and look forward to working with its leadership to advance discoveries in computer-generated imagery, three-dimensional high resolution graphics, and many other exciting areas.”

I’m not sure one can describe the film industry as an emerging sector since its emergence dates back to the 19th century.  In any event, I can understand the excitement about Nano Utica and about the film company’s move.

Taking photos and videos in near darkness

Who hasn’t found wanted to take a picture in a situation where there’s very little light? It seems scientists at SUNY (State University of New York) College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) have found a way to solve the problem. From a Jan. 30, 2014 news item on Azonano,

When the lights went out at the big game, fans and film crews struggled to take a decent picture in the darkness. Those same folks will be cheering the latest research by a team of SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) scientists, which makes brilliant video and pictures possible even if the lights go out.

Dark and blurry low light photos could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to the development of game-changing ultrathin “nanosheets,” which could dramatically improve imaging technology used in everything from cell phone cameras, video cameras, solar cells, and even medical imaging equipment such as MRI machines.

As a result, this technology is perfectly suited for inclusion in a wide variety of everyday devices, including today’s smartphones, which are often used to take pictures, but suffer from limitations in low light environments. This research could allow even novice photographers to take sharper images, even in the midst of a blackout during the biggest game of the year.

A SUNYCNSE research profile titled: SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering Scientists Publish Game-Changing Semiconductor Nanosheets Research That Could Revolutionize Cameras in Low-Light Environments provides more technical details about the research,

Leading-edge research by a team of SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) scientists has been published in ACS Nano after the scientists evaluated ultrathin indium(III) selenide (In2Se3) nanosheets and discovered that their electrical resistance drops significantly when exposed to light. This effect, known as a photoconductive response, can be used to make a photodetector or light sensor, and because the two-dimensional nanosheets exhibited such a strong photoconductive response across a broad light spectrum and simultaneously resist chemical contamination, this research could lead to a revolution in extreme low-light, high-resolution imaging products and applications, such as consumer and professional cameras and video cameras, for example.

The team combined a variety of cutting-edge tools and methods, including scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to identify the nanosheets; atomic force microscopy (AFM) to measure their thickness; X-ray diffractometry (XRD) and selected area electron diffraction (SAED) combined with high-resolution images from transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to examine nano-layer details such as the crystallographic phase and morphology of the sample; and energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS) and auger electron spectrometry (AES) to explore the sample’s homogeneity. As the photoconductive material’s properties were characterized, the CNSE research group found that the material is extremely resistant to contamination. Additionally, the team utilized a green LED to direct pulsed light at the nanosheets and found that they exhibited a reliable response to light and an excellent response time between 18 and 73 milliseconds, indicating that In2Se3 nanosheets could be a highly effective material for real-time imaging purposes.

The nanosheets were also tested for the ability to detect light and for light responsivity, or the ratio of generated photocurrent to incident light power. The researchers noted that the photoconductive response of the nanosheets, which had a thickness of 3.9 nanometers, was demonstrably higher than other 2D photoresistors across a broad light spectrum, including Ultraviolet, visible light, and infrared, making them suitable for use in a wide-range of imaging devices.

Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,

Extraordinary Photoresponse in Two-Dimensional In2Se3 Nanosheets by Robin B. Jacobs-Gedrim, Mariyappan Shanmugam, Nikhil Jain, Christopher A. Durcan, Michael T. Murphy, Thomas M. Murray, Richard J. Matyi, Richard L. Moore, II, and Bin Yu.  ACS Nano (2014), vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 514-21

This is a PDF of the document and is being made available by the researchers and their institution.

New York state, a second nanotechnology hub with a $1.5B US investment, and computer chip technology

New York State announced, In an Oct. 10, 2013 news item on Nanowerk, a new investment in nanotechnology,

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that six leading global technology companies will invest $1.5 billion to create ‘Nano Utica,’ the state’s second major hub of nanotechnology research and development. The public-private partnership, to be spearheaded by the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SUNY CNSE) and the SUNY Institute of Technology (SUNYIT), will create more than 1,000 new high-tech jobs on the campus of SUNYIT in Marcy.

The consortium of leading global technology companies that will create Nano Utica are led by Advanced Nanotechnology Solutions Incorporated (ANSI), SEMATECH, Atotech, and SEMATECH and CNSE partner companies, including IBM, Lam Research and Tokyo Electron. The consortium will be headquartered at the CNSE-SUNYIT Computer Chip Commercialization Center, and will build on the research and development programs currently being conducted by ANSI, SEMATECH, and their private industry partners at the SUNY CNSE campus in Albany, further cementing New York’s international recognition as the preeminent hub for 21st century nanotechnology innovation, education, and economic development.

“With today’s announcement, New York is replicating the tremendous success of Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering right here in Utica and paving the way for more than a billion dollars in private investment and the creation of more than 1,000 new jobs,” Governor Cuomo said. “The new Nano Utica facility will serve as a cleanroom and research hub for Nano Utica whose members can tap into the training here at SUNYIT and local workforce, putting the Mohawk Valley on the map as an international location for nanotechnology research and development. This partnership demonstrates how the new New York is making targeted investments to transition our state’s economy to the 21st century and take advantage of the strengths of our world class universities and highly trained workforce.”

The Oct. 10, 2013 SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering news release, which originated the news item, describes some of the investment’s specifics,

The computer chip packaging consortium will work inside the complex now under construction on the SUNYIT campus, which is due to open in late 2014. As a result of the commitment of the major companies to locate at Nano Utica, the $125 million facility is being expanded to accommodate the new collaboration, with state-of-the-art cleanrooms, laboratories, hands-on education and workforce training facilities, and integrated offices encompassing 253,000 square feet. The cleanroom will be the first-of-its-kind in the nation: a 56,000-square-foot cleanroom stacked on two levels, providing more than five times the space that was originally planned. To support the project, New York State will invest $200 million over ten years for the purchasing of new equipment for the Nano Utica facility; no private company will receive any state funds as part of the initiative.

Research and development to be conducted includes computer chip packaging and lithography development and commercialization. These system-on-a-chip innovations will drive a host of new technologies and products in the consumer and business marketplace, including smart phones, tablets, and laptops; 3D systems for gaming; ultrafast and secure computer servers and IT systems; and sensor technology for emerging health care, clean energy and environmental applications.

Interestingly (to me if no one else), there was a Sept. 2011 announcement from New York state about a new investment in nanoscale computer chip technology and a consortium of companies which also included IBM. From my Sept. 29, 2011 posting,

$4.4B is quite the investment(especially considering the current international economic gyrations) and it’s the amount that IBM (International Business Machines), Intel, and three other companies announced that they are investing to “create the next generation of computer chip technology.” From the Sept. 28, 2011 news item on Nanowerk,

The five companies involved are Intel, IBM, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, TSMC and Samsung. New York State secured the investments in competition with countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The agreements mark an historic level of private investment in the nanotechnology sector in New York. [emphasis mine]


IBM has long invested in New York state and its nanotechnology initiatives. I mentioned a $1.5B IBM investment (greater than the US federal government’s annual funding that year for its National Nanotechnology Initiative) in a July 17, 2008 posting.

I wish these announcements would include information as to how the money is being paid out, e.g., one lump sum or an annual disbursement over five years or … .

One last bit. the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering had a somewhat controversial change of status and change of relationship to what I was then calling the University of Albany (mentioned in my July 26, 2013 posting).

Split or symbiotic relationship? University of Albany and its College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering

There’s a change taking place at New York state’s University of Albany and its College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE). Some call it a split, while others call it a new symbiotic relationship. Given the importance of the nano effort in NY state (my July 17, 2008 posting about IBM’s $1.5B investment in the state’s nanotechnology sector) and the CNSE’s prominence and outreach efforts (my May 28, 2013 posting), I checked into this further.

A July 17, 2013 posting by Charles Huckabee for The Ticker blog on The Chronicle for Higher Education website provides an overview of the situation and some of the funding considerations leading to the new relationship (Note: Links have been removed),

Trustees of the State University of New York [SUNY] voted on Tuesday [July 16, 2013] to begin the process of splitting off the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering into a separate, degree-granting institution, according to reports by the Times Union newspaper of Albany and the Associated Press. Several trustees, however, challenged whether the separation was necessary, saying it had not been sufficiently reviewed and could end up duplicating administration costs for SUNY.

In a news release from SUNY, the system’s chancellor, Nancy L. Zimpher, who champions the move, said the task of separating the institutions would be completed by the 2014-15 academic year. …

… a study group assembled by Ms. Zimpher concluded that to achieve its goals, the college needed more independence. Those goals, according to the Times Union, include amassing up to $500-million in research dollars in 2015 alone while continuing to build up space used for classes and research by public- and private-sector scientists.

As might be expected, not everyone is entirely thrilled with this change. From the July 24, 2013 interview by Haley Viccano for The Business Review (Note: Links have been removed),

I spoke with Karen Hitchcock, University at Albany’s president from 1996 until 2004, about the split between UAlbany and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

Hitchcock discussed the history of the nanocollege’s growth during her presidency and how she believes the restructuring could affect both campuses.

She said she is concerned about the decision to split because it has the potential to hurt UAlbany’s reputation and diminish its stature as a research institution.

It’s an interesting read and I’m inclined to agree with Hitchcock’s analysis. Dave Lucas’s July 23, 2013 posting (which includes an embedded radio interview [running time: a little over 3.5 mins.]) for WAMC; Northeast Public Radio, acknowledges the doubts and the hopes for this action,

David Doyle is Director of Communications for the State University of New York. He admits there are obviously many questions and issues that need to be resolved over the next year of transition.

Although the colleges will “split,” University at Albany President Robert Jones agrees they will forever be interlinked. He expects both schools have important roles to play and will rise to new levels of education and innovation.  Jones adds there is no issue that can’t be worked out to make a smooth transition from one school to two.

Nano College Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Alain Kaloyeros was not available for comment. An op-ed piece for the Albany Times Union Kaloyeros co-authored with Jones states that the action “by the SUNY Board of Trustees is not the end of the process; it is the beginning.”

The posting is not a full transcript of the radio interview, so you might want to check out the interview to get such tidbits as Doyle’s and other’s  description of the symbiotic relationship (not split) they hope for.

NanoHigh in New York State

I have much admiration for the State University of New York’s (SUNY) College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering’s (CNSE) outreach programs and this May 28, 2013 news item on Nanowerk highlights a particularly exciting one (Note: A link has been removed),

Governor [Mario] Cuomo today joined SUNY’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) and the City School District of Albany (CSDA) to announce that this year’s class of 23 Albany High School students have successfully completed the pioneering “NanoHigh” program. This program, which supports the Governor’s strategy to expand New York’s high-tech workforce through nanotechnology-based education, is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation – pushing the number of NanoHigh graduates to more than 100 since the program began in 2007.

Including this year’s NanoHigh class, 113 students have now graduated from the program since its inception. The nanotechnology curriculum is taught collaboratively at both Albany High School and at CNSE’s Albany NanoTech Complex. Taking place throughout the school year, the program also emphasizes opportunities for students from social groups that are typically underrepresented in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Students who take part in NanoHigh work with leading CNSE faculty and scientists in the college’s world-class laboratories and cleanrooms. They conduct hands-on experiments to explore a wide variety of nanotechnology-based applications, including integrated circuit technologies and nanoscale patterning and fabrication; nanobiomedical applications, such as innovations in nanomedicine and forensic DNA fingerprinting; clean energy technologies, such as dye-sensitized solar cells and ultracapacitors for energy storage; and nanoeconomics.

A ceremony to recognize the NanoHigh graduates was held at CNSE, with a new class scheduled to begin in the fall, allowing another group of 23 students to become engaged in the cutting-edge science of the 21st century.

You can learn more about NanoHigh here.

NANOvember at the University of Albany

This is one of my favourite public engagement initiatives (sadly, I missed posting about it last year). From the Oct. 17, 2011 news item on Nanowerk,

The extensive month-long series of educational and community outreach activities will kick off with “Nano vs. Nature” on Wednesday, November 2. CNSE Vice President for Economic Outreach and Business Development Michael Fancher will discuss innovations enabled by nanotechnology that offer promise for protection of life and prevention of damage – a timely topic amid the series of natural disasters, including an earthquake, hurricane, tornado and flooding, that have affected our region.

The NANOvember schedule includes two exciting events being held for the first time: a “Nano Discovery” collaboration with Police Athletic League (PAL) chapters in Albany and Troy on Saturday, November 12 in which CNSE will present hands-on activities introducing students to nanotechnology, and the Capital Region Nanotechnology Showcase presented in partnership with the Times Union Classroom Enrichment Program on Saturday, November 19, where high school students will showcase projects that answer the question, “How is nanotechnology changing the world?”

In addition, CNSE will launch “NanoQuin World” at Crossgates Mall in Albany. This unique display will demonstrate the many ways in which nanotechnology has become an integral part of everyday life, highlighting the numerous applications of nanoscale know-how in today’s society.

There are more details in the news item or you can check out the College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering (CNSE) at the University of Albany’s website page for a full list of events and registration information.