Technology Institute Awards UC Berkeley $11 Million Grant

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The National Institute of Standards and Technology announced Monday that it will award $11 million to UC Berkeley, which beat out nearly 100 applicants for the grant to build a new on-campus research facility.

The grant was given as part of a competition to fund science-related construction projects. The proposed center, called the Center for Integrated Precision and Quantum Measurement, will be used to measure and experiment on a nanoscale with minimal interference from the outside environment.

The money from the grant, as well as $8.8 million in state funding, will go toward building the infrastructure for the 10,000-square-foot facility, which will be built in the basement of the new Campbell Hall. The building, which currently houses the astronomy department, is scheduled to be demolished by 2010 and rebuilt in two to four years.

Michael Crommie, a UC Berkeley physics professor and lead investigator for the proposal, said he hopes the facility's research will create better medical and electronic technologies.

"We would like to be able to control matter at very small length scales," he said. "If we could do that, we could use those structures to create smaller, faster electronic devices that use less energy than current devices."

The institute chose to fund UC Berkeley based on the merits of the proposed project and its intent to further research of interest to the Department of Commerce, said Michael Baum, a spokesperson for the institute. The institute also awarded UC San Diego about $12 million and University of Florida $1 million for research construction projects.

"The facility at Berkeley is targeting research in a bunch of delicate quantum measurements in the realm of physics," he said. "The target of the project is to create a low-noise, high-stability facility."

Although Crommie said the facility still needs much more funding for equipment and personnel, he said he looked forward to the cutting-edge research that would be done in the center.

"I think it's fundamentally interesting, I think it's fundamentally important," Crommie said. "I think it is critical for future technologies that we do this research. We're pushing the envelope."

Contact Valerie Woolard at [email protected]

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