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  Pioneering Design for the Nano World • Vol. 1 - Issue 2
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  INSIDE this issue
Funding Fuels Nanotechnology Research
  a. National Lab User Progresses d. Environmental Control Challenges
  b. $847 Million Sought for 2004 e. Just Good Practice
  c. CINT Takes Center Stage f. Sustainable Elements
Finding the Funds
 
   
  Funding Fuels Nanotechnology Research
   
 
CINT

National User Lab Progresses

Since the Clinton administration announced the National Nanotechnology
Initiative (NNI) in January 2000, federal funds have increased every year for
this fascinating new arena of life-altering research on the tiniest scale.

Nanotechnology has already improved everyday items like tennis balls and sunscreen. Proponents say that this research may someday lead to agents for curing disease, slowing the aging process and eliminating pollution.

The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) website, (http://nano.gov),
says that federal investment in this research and increased understanding "promise to underlie revolutionary advances that will contribute to improvements in medicine, manufacturing, high-performance materials, information technology, and environmental technologies."

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$847 Million Sought for 2004
President Bush's 2004 budget includes $847 million for NNI, a 9.5% increase
over 2003. And recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 766,
the Nanotechnology Research and Development Act of 2003. This bill authorizes more than $2 billion of federal research money over the next three years.

Ten federal government agencies requested funding for NNI activities, as noted here:

2004
National Science Foundation $247 million
Department of Defense $222 million
Department of Energy $197 million
National Institutes of Health $70 million
Department of Commerce $62 million
National Aeronautics and Space Administration $31 million
Department of Agriculture $10 million
Environmental Protection Agency $5 million
Department of Homeland Security $2 million
Department of Justice $1 million

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CINT Takes Center Stage
The 2004 budget includes a significant increase - 48% over 2003 - for the Department of Energy (DOE) and its missions in national defense, energy and the environment. The DOE has given $75 million for the Center for Integrated
Nanotechnologies (CINT) in New Mexico, just one of five such user centers in the U.S. that are now in various stages of design and construction. This state-of-the-art facility will include laboratory and cleanroom spaces, and offices for staff and collaborators. Research spaces will include temperature and contamination control, vibration and acoustic isolation suites, characterization, synthesis and integration laboratories.

"We're connecting the nano world to the world that we live [in]," said Terry Michalske, CINT director at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). A primary goal of the new laboratory is to provide an interdisciplinary environment that can serve the scientific community, including government, university and private sectors.

HDR leads a team of six firms providing full architectural
and engineering services for the 95,000-square-foot
CINT core facility, currently in Title 2 Design Phase.
Construction is slated to start in 2004 and owner occupancy is scheduled in 2006.

Initially, the technical focus of the center will be on:
• Nanophotonics and nanoelectronics
• Complex functional nanomaterials
• Nanomechanics
• Nanoscale bio-microinterfaces

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Environmental Control Challenges
The critical foundation for successful nanoscience research is environmental control - temperature and humidity, vibration, acoustics and pressure variations, air cleanliness, noise, electro-magnetic interference (EMI) and radio
frequency interference (RFI).

In addition to the stringent requirements of a nanotechnology facility, part of the CINT mission is to be a national user facility where researchers from academia and industry will collaborate with CINT researchers on projects, or share tools unavailable at their home laboratories.

One challenge was to make the integration lab user-friendly, which made the traditional cleanroom concept very difficult, according to Tom Gerbo, AIA, who is overseeing the laboratory design at CINT. Cleanroom space also is very expensive per square foot, he noted.

The idea came about during planning to create "mini" cleanroom environments with a conventional bay and chase configuration and clustered HEPA filters where they were needed for certain procedures. This approach is also being seen in the semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries, Gerbo noted. Chemistry and biological synthesis laboratories are in the center of CINT, with environmentally quiet laboratories for characterization and measurement activities and the cleanroom on either side.

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“The ideal nanocenter is almost a catalytic activity; it is a place where disciplines can really work together, but not be in each other's hair.”
— Terry Michalske, CINT director at Sandia
National Laboratories


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The idea came about during planning to create "mini" cleanroom environments with a conventional bay and chase configuration and clustered HEPA filters where they were needed for certain procedures. This approach is also being seen in the semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries, Gerbo noted. Chemistry and biological synthesis laboratories are in the center of CINT, with environmentally quiet laboratories for characterization and measurement activities and the cleanroom on either side.

Aerial and interior images of the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies

 

 

 

 



"The ideal nanocenter is almost a catalytic activity; it is a place where disciplines can really work together, but not be in each other's hair," Michalske said. This design represents a substantial cost savings per square foot for the client, Gerbo said, adding that HDR shoots to keep costs for nanotechnology laboratories at around $250 per square foot. This number is in line with "regular" research laboratories with less sophisticated requirements than nanotechnology labs. The key to success is to build a conventional building but employ "very smart, thorough planning," he said.

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Just Good Practice
Creating a constant, precise temperature in a nanotechnology lab requires a high volume of airflow pumped at a very low velocity. The HDR team came up with a successful scheme for temperature control that called for large air ducts
covering nearly the entire ceiling.

However, according to Gerbo, solutions often present new challenges. In the case of the ceiling ducts, questions arose as to placement of other utilities. Those project aspects were then addressed.

"Throughout the planning and design of this laboratory facility, we have broken down the issues into their simplest components and dealt with them one at a time," Gerbo said. "In many ways it's just good architectural practice. It's good design from 'day one' in ways that the spaces are employed."

Vibration and electro-magnetic interference, which often affect high-end electron microscopes, were prime considerations in the placement of the facility on the site. Extensive studies of vibration-free zones were done and great
care was taken to isolate vibration-generating traffic from critical functions.

Additionally, designers are using the natural stiffness of the building and placing heavy rotating equipment as far away as possible from sensitive research areas where any vibration could ruin an experiment.

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Sustainable Elements
HDR has incorporated the latest sustainable design concepts and will achieve LEEDTM * certification for CINT, said William Wells, AIA, HDR senior project manager. The goal is to provide a healthful, resource-efficient and productive work environment, which will serve as a model facility for the DOE and other government agencies. SNL also hopes to obtain a designation for this building as a Federal Energy Saver Showcase.

To date, HDR has suggested these sustainable solutions:
• Storm water management and filtration on site
• Use of sustainable materials, including those with recycled content and low-emitting content
• Extensive use of native vegetation to help reduce water consumption for irrigation systems
• Efficient HVAC systems that do not include HCFC's or Halon
• Use of Energy Star-compliant roofing
• Implementing a building commissioning plan to ensure that the entire building is designed, constructed and calibrated to operate as intended

Interestingly, some experts predict that advances in
nanotechnology will improve agricultural yields for an
increased population, provide more economical water
filtration and desalination, enable renewable energy
sources, reduce the need for scarce material resources, and
diminish pollution for a cleaner environment.

*The LEEDTM Rating System was established by the U.S. Green Buildings Council in 1998 and HDR has been involved since its beginning. LEED means Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design. The system came about as a way of creating a standard, nationally recognized definition of a green building. Application is made and points given for incorporating green principles into a building's design. Qualifying buildings receive one of four levels of LEED certification, from bronze to platinum.

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