Yale establishes Institute for Nanoscience and Quantum Engineering

Oct. 27, 2006
October 27, 2006, New Haven, CT--Yale University has established the Yale Institute for Nanoscience and Quantum Engineering, which will unite and expand Yale's existing efforts in the two areas.

October 27, 2006, New Haven, CT--Yale University has established the Yale Institute for Nanoscience and Quantum Engineering, which will unite and expand Yale's existing efforts in the two areas.

An initial investment of $5.5 million will bolster the Institute's infrastructure and initiate seed projects; the amount is in addition to the more than $100 million of funding already focused on these areas of investigation at Yale. The initiative is a part of Yale's commitment of over $1 billion to research infrastructure and science and engineering programs in the coming decade.

The Institute will unite and strengthen six areas of concentration at Yale, including molecular electronics, quantum information processing, chemistry of soft materials, nanoparticles, photonics, and nanoscale biomedical engineering. The creation of bridging research programs that link current programs will be given the highest priority. Toward these goals, centralized characterization facilities will be fitted with state-of-the-art equipment. Sixty faculty members across ten departments will form the initial intellectual base and will serve to provide expertise as more faculty are progressively drawn into this new area.

"An important path to the future begins at the intersection of biotechnology and quantum science," said Paul Fleury, dean of engineering. "We seek to understand and control how materials and devices can be assembled and how their functions can be programmed from the atoms up."

Already, Yale's biomedical and materials scientists are devising targeted smart nanoparticles that will seek out and destroy individual cancer cells while bypassing healthy ones. They have also developed nanoscale biodegradable scaffolds to allow rejection-free regeneration of new tissues and organs from a patient's own seed cells.

Yale's quantum engineers and physicists have fabricated "artificial atoms" from superconducting circuits that offer a promising path toward quantum computing and the next generation of computers. Other areas where Yale research has begun to have impact include new nanoscale electronic devices for medical diagnostics, photonic devices for communications, and better catalysts for sustainable energy applications.

The processes involved in nanoscience include "bottom-up" atom-by-atom synthesis of materials as well as the creation of new materials by "top-down" atom-by-atom removal. (An interesting note: Historically, nanoscience is at least as old as the making of "rose glass" in the 4th century B.C., when nanoparticulate gold was incorporated into the glassmaking process to achieve the distinctive color of the glass.)

Quantum engineering encompasses design processes, physical science, and engineering on the scale of atoms and subatomic particles. Quantum mechanics forms the basis for the contemporary understanding of the physical behavior of systems, including systems for which traditional Newtonian mechanics fails. It has been the basis for many of the technological advances of the last sixty years, including semiconductor lasers and, more explicitly, quantum data-encryption schemes.

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