Ceramic Industry

Nanotechnology Plant Opens at Alfred (posted 10/31/07)

October 31, 2007
Alfred University recently opened a $1.8 million nanotechnology pilot plant to develop and test new products.

A $1.8 million nanotechnology pilot plant to develop and test new products will influence the development of Allegany County and the region, said New York State Senator Catharine Young at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the new facility. The nanotechnology pilot plant is a joint project of the New York State Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology (CACT) at Alfred University and the Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP) at Clarkson University. Both are also NYSTAR-funded research centers.

“This is a true partnership,” said Vasantha Amarakoon, Ph.D., CACT director. Clarkson researchers will develop the nanoparticles, or powders, that will provide the building blocks for the new materials, which will then be processed and tested at the nanotechnology plant, which is housed in the Ceramic Corridor Innovation Center in Alfred.

The new facility consists of a class 10,000 clean room with an array of equipment used to process the new materials that will be used in the next generation of electronic components, solid oxide fuel cells, photovoltaics and other applications. Ceramic materials are “hidden inside most of the magic gadgets we can’t live without,” explained Steve Arrasmith, assistant director of the CACT, who demonstrated the pilot plant’s capabilities to approximately 50 people gathered for the ribbon-cutting.

Many of those new applications, however, depend on the development of new materials, and that’s where the nanotechnology pilot plant will prove to be of value to industrial partners. Researchers will be able to engineer materials with specific properties, and process, produce and then test the new products in the pilot facility and adjoining labs as the final step prior to commercialization.

“This is the next phase of our CACT development,” said Amarakoon. “Industries are waiting for this.”

Alfred’s website is located at www.alfred.edu.