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Engineering facility allows researchers to create next-generation devices


Toronto, On – Dozens of scientists, engineers and doctoral candidates from hospitals, industry and universities from across Canada and in Korea and the Middle East dove deep into the world of electron-beam nanolithography recently at the Emerging Communications Technology Institute (ECTI), the University of Toronto’s facility in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.

The students were the first to take a new nine-hour e-beam nanolithography training session and will go on to apply their new skills in the fields of biomedicine, micro- and nano-electro-mechanical systems (M/NEMS), microfluidics, opto-electronics, microelectronics, energy and pharmaceuticals.

Opened last year, the research lab allows scientists and engineers to create next-generation devices that could make a large-scale impact on health care, information technology, clean technologies, digital media and the automotive industry. It is built around a $6.5-million electron beam lithography system, a tool able to define features as small as 10 nanometres: about 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

The facility is one of only two of its kind in Canada. Students in the course used the tool to create a nano-device they could take away with them. Many may be part of an exploding nanotechnology market, projected to be worth $1 trillion by 2014.

“This training opportunity demonstrates the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering’s leadership role in providing researchers with the cutting edge tools they need to do world-class work,” said Aju Jugessur, the training instructor and manager of the facility.

Reported by Madelyn Herschorn