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Nanotech leaders gather at ASU

March 13, 2007

Scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs working on the leading edge of nanotechnology will gather at Arizona State University for the international Nano and Giga Challenges Symposium March 14 to 16.

Gov. Janet Napolitano will give a welcoming address at 9 a.m., March 14, officially opening an event expected to draw as many as 500 attendees from about 50 nations to ASU's main campus in Tempe.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon is scheduled to open the symposium sessions on the morning of March 16. Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman is to address symposium attendees on March 15.

Two Nobel Prize winners in science will be featured speakers at the event, among 200 presenters and more than 60 speakers from top universities and national laboratories in 30 countries, as well as major international companies such as Intel, Motorola and IBM.

John Polanyi, a professor at the University of Toronto, won a Nobel Prize in 1986 for research in chemistry. Physicist Nicolaas Bloembergen won the prize in 1981 for work in laser spectroscopy. He's a professor emeritus of Harvard University and now visiting professor at the Arizona Center for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Arizona.

They will join colleagues from academia, industry and government to explore ways to apply “nano” or molecular (small-scale) devices to meet “giga” (gigantic) scientific and technological challenges.

“This conference will provide a rare forum that brings the scientists together with the entrepreneurs to examine ideas for how to take nanotechnology research and employ it for successful commercial ventures,” says Herb Finkelstein, industrial and government research liaison with ASU's Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering.

The focus will be on efforts to spark advances in nano-scale electronic and optoelectronic devices, high-performance integrated circuits, sensor technology and molecular electronics and bioelectronics – progress that is crucial to meeting growing demand from industry, government and consumers for improved technologies.

"Nanotechnology is emerging as a major enabling solution for many of the world's technological problems,” says Herb Goronkin, president of Phoenix-based Technology Acceleration Associates and chair of the conference advisory board. "It touches on numerous areas of current research by providing unique solutions to the design, fabrication and performance of products that could not previously be manufactured.”

Academic and industrial researchers will present research papers on work to merge microelectronics, nanoelectronics and photonics in such areas as: atomic-scale materials design; theory and experiment; bio- and molecular electronics and photonics; high frequency electronics; fabrication of nanodevices; magnetic materials and spintronics; materials and processes for integrated and subwave optoelectronics; nanoCMOS; new materials for FETs and other devices; nanoelectronics system architecture; nano optics and lasers; non-silicon materials and devices; and quantum effects in devices.

"Breakthroughs in nanotechnology will revolutionize products across the scientific and commercial spectrum, creating significant opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs," Goronkin says.

"The upcoming Nano Giga Challenges conference is uniquely poised to mark the research transition from basic science of nanomaterials to creation of new functions and systems built upon those materials,” he says.

The event will boost Arizona 's burgeoning reputation as a promising center for science and technology innovation, said Stephen Goodnick, ASU Associate Vice President of Research.

“It will showcase ASU's nanotechnology program and bring visibility to a broad range of microelectronics and biotech industries in the Valley. It's expected to generate more than $1 million for the local economy, but more importantly it should create a variety of business, research and educational opportunities in the Phoenix metropolitan area,” Goodnick says.

ASU is joined as organizer and head sponsor by Anatoli Korkin, president of Gilbert, Ariz.-based Nano and Giga Solutions, which provides consulting services in computational nanotechnology.

Korkin, a former senior scientist in Motorola's research and development division, was a lead organizer for successful Nano Giga Challenges conferences in Moscow , Russia in 2002 and Krakow , Poland in 2004.

Among other prominent industrial research leaders scheduled to participate are Pahedon Avouris from IBM, Stan Williams from Hewlett Packard, Gianfranco Cerofolini from STM, George Maracas from Motorola, and Evgeni Gusev from Qualcomm, and academic research leaders, Mark Reed from Yale, Peidong Yang from the University of California at Berkeley, Konstantin Likharev from Stonybrook University, Markus Buttiker from the University of Geneva (Switzerland), Thomas Frauenheim from the University of Bremen (Germany), Hong Goo from McGill University (Canada), Hiroshi Iwai, from the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan), Israel Baumvol from the University of Rio Grande (Brazil), John Boland from Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), Dany Porath from the University of Jerusalem (Israel) and Ki-Bum Kim from Seoul National University (South Korea).

The ASU conference has already attracted local and international sponsorship from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense research project agency, the Office of Naval Research, the Office of Army Research, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the City of Tempe, Motorola, Salt River Project utility company, the Arizona Technology Council and the Wernher von Braun Center for Advanced Research in Brazil.

Other sponsors include the International Science & Technology Center, STMicroelectronics, Quarles & Brady LLP law firm and JEOL Ltd., a world leader in electron microscopes.


The conference proceedings and other materials will be published by the Springer, Elsevier and Lithotech companies and the Institute of Physics . Media support is coming from the Arizona Department of Commerce, the Arizona Technology Council, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the Optics Industry Association and science news groups and several local, national and international science news groups and internet publishers.

For more information, see the Web site



Stephen Goodnick,
ASU Associate Vice President of Research

Herb Finkelstein,
Industrial/Government Research Liaison
Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at ASU

Jody Seeling,
Conference manager