University’s nanotech building to host open house

by Kristoffer Tigue

Three years and $85 million dollars later, the University of Minnesota’s Physics and Nanotechnology building is almost fully moved in. And tomorrow they’ll be showing the place off.

The University will be hosting an open house of the nanotech building on April 24, including self-guided public tours to show off the building’s new facilities. The tours begin at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“The building is an incredibly complicated undertaking and the moving-in has been going on for months, and you have to sort of declare in celebration,” said physics and astronomy head Ron Poling.

The 144,000-square-foot center houses 40 brand new laboratories, with 15,000 square feet dedicated to nanotechnology and a 5,000 square-foot clean room. About 200 faculty, graduate students and researchers now occupy the building, and they expect everyone to be fully moved in by next fall, Poling said.

Some of the specialty laboratories in the building will host high-profile research, he said, like additional work with Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, with NoVA neutrinos, and with fabricating high-temperature superconductor crystals.

The nanotech building is already helping the University compete with other research Universities, he said, by attracting new graduate students, new research programs, and highly sought-after professors.

They’re seeing more graduate applicants this year, and they’re in the process of hiring three new professors, he said. This includes a professor who turned down an additional $1 million in equipment offered to him by a rival Big Ten university, he said.

“He accepted us even without that because thanks to the nano center and other facilities, we have ten times that much cutting edge equipment,” he said. “It really paid off for us.”