The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering may have officially opened last year, but last week the public got a glimpse of its new building and all the potential wonders of the very small.
The school, a joint venture between UNCG and NC A&T, is now in a 105,000-square-foot building at the Gateway University Research Park's south campus. The upstairs houses a clean room, 3-D visualization room, labs, offices and an auditorium.
Downstairs, specialized microscopes, such as the Carl Zeiss SMT Orion Helium Ion (the only one in the Southeast), are given rooms of their own.
Many details have been worked through. Details, after all, are what this school is all about.
Nano means very small, and the study of nanoscience and nanoengineering involves working with matter and molecules that are 100,000 times thinner than a strand of hair. The particles can be natural or man-made. They can be created to build lighter, stronger materials for things such as aircraft or bullet-proof vests. Or possibly create biomedical chips that can identify traumatic brain injury before any other medical test. Or the molecules can be examined to perhaps learn more about how DNA works or how to combat HIV. The possibilities seem to be endless.
Over the next 10 years, officials believe the school will provide $500 million in economic impact to the region.
According to the News & Record, when Gov. Bev Perdue spoke at the opening, she suggested the nano school has the same potential for impact in the Triad as the Research Triangle Park has had on the Triangle region.
Today, RTP is a crown jewel, Perdue said, and I would believe in the next five or six years, there will be leaders from all over the world who come here to look at Gateway and to look at the innovation and the investment that's happening here as a result of nanotechnology.