Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory expands

By Colleen Vest

A recent expansion of the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory is poised to help the University remain a leader in scientific developments around the world.

The building is located at 208 N. Wright St., Urbana. The previous building had become obsolete for the growing research needs in the changing field of micro and nanotechnology, said Rashid Bashir, bioengineering professor and director of the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory.

“The expansion allows us to house about 30 faculty members and 150 graduate students, which is twice as many as the old building,” Bashir said.

Will Snodgrass, graduate student in the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory, said the increase in space will help improve the University’s role in micro and nanotechnologies.

“The expansion should attract new students and faculty, which will certainly maintain, if not improve how active the University is in this new technology,” Snodgrass said.

The construction of the lab took nearly four years to complete. The expansion was completed in early 2007, but was formally dedicated on Thursday, Sept. 4, Bashir said.

“The expansion was funded by the state of Illinois at $18 million,” Bashir said. “It was approved at the end of (former Gov. George Ryan’s) term.”

Bashir said interacting with the faculty and using state-of-the-art equipment is a great learning experience for the students.

The faculty members are known worldwide for their achievements in micro and nanotechnology.

“Students are the most important product out of this building,” he said. “Our facility and clean room, where the equipment is used, has an impact on this campus and beyond.”

Although the building is within the College of Engineering, the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory affects the University and students of all colleges because of the University’s leadership in this area, Bashir said.

“A lot of the work done here is high-profile,” Snodgrass said. “The increased coverage will have the most impact on the University as a whole, not just the Engineering program.”