Louisiana Tech's Institute for Micromanufacturing has received a $400,000 grant and plans to use the funds to purchase a state-of-the-art system for nanotechnology research.
The grant comes from the National Science Foundation's Major Research Instrumentation Program. Dr. Kody Varahramyan, IfM director, said the funding will be used to purchase a sputtering system, which deposits thin films on surfaces and is used for a variety of applications.
"This grant will provide us with funding for acquisition of major equipment used by the university," said Varahramyan. "We have a list of equipment we feel would be good to have, and the sputtering system is really at the top of the list."
Varahramyan said the university needs to purchase this sputtering system to replace an older one.
"We have an existing sputtering system, but it's eight or nine years old, breaks down often, and the company who made it doesn't make them anymore, so we don't have spare parts for it," he said. "It cannot do some of the advanced work some of our researchers would like to do."
Sputtering systems will allow researchers the means to create nanometer scale structures that are made up of a wide range of materials. Tech students and faculty members will be able to use the machine to further their nanotechnology research.
The system will also be used as an educational tool for undergraduate and graduate students studying nanosystems engineering, molecular science and nanotechnology, and in doctoral programs in engineering and biomedical engineering.
"We expect to have (the sputtering system) in the spring," Varahramyan said. "We will allow the main vendors an opportunity to visit us and tell us about their machines, and then we will go to bidding."
This is the second straight year the IfM has received a grant from the NSF. Last year's grant was for $525,000 and was used to purchase a leading-edge field emission scanning electron microscope, which is currently aiding nanotechnology research and education at Tech.
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