UCLA Spotlight


California NanoSystems Institute

  • By Wanda Decca
  • Published Dec 11, 2000 8:00 AM

The California NanoSystems Institute - a wide-ranging research enterprise poised to make a major impact in areas ranging from information technology and household lighting to medical treatment - was named today as one of the three research efforts statewide to receive $100 million in state support to help propel the future of the state's economy.

A joint enterprise of UCLA and UC Santa Barbara, the California NanoSystems Institute was one of three proposals selected for support over the next four years under Gov. Gray Davis' California Institutes for Science and Innovation program.

Scientists worldwide are on the brink of a new revolution at the nanoscale, with breakthroughs occurring at the atomic level. Expected to be a leader in this race, the California nanosystems effort has attracted nearly 30 corporate partners.

The Institute will explore the power and potential of manipulating structures atom-by-atom to engineer new materials, devices and systems that will dramatically change virtually every aspect of our technology, including medical delivery and health care, information technologies, and innovations for the environment.

Smaller, faster and more efficient computers. A lamp that uses one-tenth as much energy as modern light bulbs and yet never burns out. Lighter and stronger building materials that may make cars, buses and other forms of transportation more energy efficient. Medicines that target the molecular errors that cause disease, rather than treating the symptoms of illness. These are some of the goals of the Institute.

Nanosystems is a rapidly evolving area of science and engineering that holds the promise of creating new ways to manufacture products, advance information technology and transform the practice of medicine. "The California NanoSystems Institute will bring the research communities of UCLA and UC Santa Barbara together with business and industry to create the technologies of California's future," said UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale. "Future generations in California and the world will benefit from the discovery and innovation pioneered by this unique enterprise."

"We are deeply grateful to Governor Davis for his wisdom in initiating such a bold and visionary program. We are also indebted to President Atkinson for his leadership and guidance," said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. "The Institute will draw on the interdisciplinary strengths of our two campuses, and on our common vision that developments in the science and technology of nanosystems will be the basis for revolutionary advances in fields as diverse as computation, health-care technology, and multimedia art and entertainment. These advances will help fuel our economy and profoundly improve the quality of life in our society over the next decade and beyond."

Martha Krebs, former assistant secretary of energy and former director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, will become the Institute's founding director. She believes the establishment of the Institute will position California to build on its national leadership in federal research programs.

"The excitement of nanosystems research is that it will capitalize on insights and advances across many disciplines," Krebs said. "The challenge for our Institute is to create and sustain the many partnerships needed to carry out nanosystems research - among disciplines, between our two campuses, and with our industry and national laboratory colleagues."