Oct. 27, 2009

Stimulus funds to pay for equipment at nanoscale facility

The Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF) has received $1.38 million in federal stimulus funds to help with equipment upgrades.

CNF is one of 14 members of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) of user facilities for nanofabrication. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has allocated $10 million to NNIN to spread over the 14 sites for various needs. CNF's portion is an add-on to its regular National Science Foundation grant of $2.68 million per year.

"Replacing old equipment is always a real challenge, and it's not something that people get excited about," said Sandip Tiwari, director of NNIN and Cornell's Charles Mellowes Professor in Engineering.

The grant will cover:

Tiwari noted that while economic times have challenged every aspect of the university, CNF has done a good job living within its means. He added that CNF maintains $74 million to $100 million worth of equipment. Even if the estimated life span for each piece is 10 years, it is still a sizeable sum to replace each year. The center has reached out to industry partners in the past to help them supplement equipment at CNF.

"The ARRA support will make things good for a longer period of time," Tiwari said. "It is just a perfect thing for use within NNIN."

To date, Cornell has received 121 ARRA awards, totaling more than $99.6 million over two years.