Nano competition debuts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Oct. 11, 2006 -- A nanotechnology-oriented forum bringing together academia, industry and budding entrepreneurs, will be held April 2-4, 2007, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Nano Nexus 2007 is designed to foster innovation and increase collaboration between universities, government, industry and the investment community -- all critical players for commercializing new nanotechnology. It will also serve as a component of the Innovation Valley Nano Initiative, an effort to cultivate nanotechnology business in the region.

"This is the first time this type of event has been hosted by a national laboratory," said Alex Fischer, director of technology transfer and economic development at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "We have been working to open our doors to business and outside research institutions. This forum will help crown those efforts. It will also help to put East Tennessee on the map as a center of nanotechnology innovation."

Nano Nexus 2007 promises to draw attendees from across the country with three main events:

  • Idea to Product® or I2P®, a nanotechnology business competition for university graduate students with a $25,000 prize.
  • Nano Industry Forum, where representatives from top corporations will present their toughest research problems and connect with researchers who can meet those needs.
  • Nano Venture Showcase, a venture capital forum showcasing the most promising nanotechnology start-up companies.

Several of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's core university partners will be participating in the event, including University of Tennessee, Duke University, Florida State University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Vanderbilt University.

A leading center for nanoscience research, Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have published more than 1,000 nano-related papers. The lab recently completed construction of the Spallation Neutron Source, a $1.4 billion facility that allows scientists to examine the structure and properties of materials at a molecular level using powerful beams of neutrons. Next door, the recently finished $65 million Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences provides world-class instrumentation, expertise, fabrication, synthesis, characterization and modeling capabilities for nanoscale materials. The center has already hosted nearly 100 outside users from research institutions around the world and industry.

ORNL researchers are bringing new innovations to the field of nanotechnology in areas of materials science -- including metals and coatings; high temperature semiconductors used by the power industry; nanoscale sensors and nanotechnology devices with the potential to advance healthcare, transform computing and revolutionize the electronics industry.

ORNL will be the site of a new, privately developed nanotechnology research center, which will offer low-cost access to dedicated micro/nanofabrication facilities and shared access to higher-end, state-of-the-art fabrication facilities at ORNL. The center also will serve as a link between basic research being done at the Spallation Neutron Source and the nanoscience center and the business community.

Nano Nexus 2007 will allow researchers from universities across the country along with industry to learn more about ORNL's capabilities even as Oak Ridge researchers learn more about their needs, said Pat Richardson, director of Strategy and Business Development at ORNL.

"Nano I2P will be a great opportunity for student teams from some of the best universities in the country to explore their business ideas with key corporate leaders, researchers and venture capitalists focused on making investments in nanotechnology. We expect to see early-stage technology commercialization plans for everything from nano-sensors to business to business services related to nanotechnology," Richardson said.

Sponsored by the Department of Energy, ORNL has contracted with Oak Ridge economic development organization Technology 2020 to organize the event.

"This event will be a unique opportunity for universities, government agencies, industry and the investment community to better understand the resources available at ORNL, to make valuable contacts and to interact with students and companies interested in commercializing nanotechnologies," said Technology 2020 President and CEO Tom Rogers. "It will be the first conference of its kind at a national laboratory -- in fact, the nation's premier national laboratory in nanoscience."


For more information see Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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