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February 23, 2007

Discovery Park's nanoHUB site draws record simulation traffic, advances nanotech research

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Network for Computational Nanotechnology at Purdue's Discovery Park is adding Internet-based simulation tools and luring record numbers of users to its free nanoHUB research Web site, according to Purdue officials.

The Network for Computational Nanotechnology, which is housed at the Birck Nanotechnology Center and affiliated with the Cyber Center, is now serving more than 1,000 national and international researchers every month through nanoHUB.

Gerhard Klimeck
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That's the highest in the site's four-year history and a fivefold increase since February 2004, said Gerhard Klimeck, the network's technical director. Nearly 5,000 researchers regularly use the site for assistance in their projects.

"More than 20,000 users view the nanoHUB and more content primarily consisting of interactive tutorials, seminars and classes on nanotechnology. Many of these tutorials also are now available as podcasts," said Klimeck, a Purdue professor of electrical and computer engineering. "By introducing a host of new interactive services, we are growing the number of researchers in the field of nanotechnology who regularly - and even daily - depend on us to advance their experiments."

An Internet-based initiative, the nanoHUB serves as a resource for research and education in the areas of nanoelectronics and nanoelectromechanical systems and their application to nano-biosystems. In addition to online simulation services, nanoHUB's menu also includes courses, tutorials, seminars, discussions and facilities for collaboration in nanotechnology research.

"And we're not sitting still," Klimeck said. "We're adding visualization elements to the site's toolkit, investigating how we can offer even more research assistance to users from India to Indiana. We also have redesigned the look and feel of the entire Web site, making it more user friendly to younger students and novice researchers."

Nanoelectronics focuses on creating a class of electronic devices that contains features measured in nanometers, equivalent to one-billionth of a meter. A nanometer is about the size of 10 atoms strung together.

The Network for Computational Nanotechnology uses advanced theory and simulations to explore new ideas for digital switching devices such as innovative types of transistors that promise to help researchers create future electronics.

Mark Lundstrom
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"This network has a mission to connect theory, experiment and computation in a way that makes a difference to the future of nanotechnology," said center director Mark Lundstrom. "While addressing challenges in nanotechnology, the network's researchers produce new algorithms, approaches and software tools with capabilities not yet available commercially."

A major focus of the network is to assemble diverse teams of researchers to create computer simulations that show the entire workings of a design ? from its tiniest, nearly atomic-scale basic building blocks, to its largest components that are visible to the naked eye.

"We are the only team in the nation that's focusing on theory and modeling and simulation, so we have been given a very special role," said Lundstrom, Purdue's Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "All of the other teams are experimental teams, and our mission largely through the nanoHUB is to interact with these teams and to lead the theory, modeling and simulation effort."

Simulations that combine all the parts of a design will be key to using nanotechnology for creating future computers, diagnostic devices for medicine, sensors for homeland security, and environmental monitoring and other potential applications.

The Network for Computational Nanotechnology was launched in 2002 with a five-year, $10.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Other network members are the University of California at Berkeley, University of Illinois, the University of Florida, Norfolk State University, Northwestern University, Stanford University and the University of Texas at El Paso.

The 187,000-square-foot Birck Nanotechnology Center, which became fully operational last fall, involves more than 300 Purdue faculty, researchers, staff and graduate students from 27 schools and departments. Birck opened its $10 million cleanroom, the Scifres Nanofabrication Laboratory, to researchers last June.

The Birck Nanotechnology Center is a cornerstone for Discovery Park, Purdue's $350 million hub for interdisciplinary research and home to 10 established research centers focusing on endeavors ranging from biosciences and manufacturing to oncological sciences and health-care engineering.

The Cyber Center, also in Discovery Park, is focused on creating systems and tools to disseminate and preserve scientific and engineering knowledge. Its infrastructure is based on distributed computing, information and communication technologies.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, (765) 496-3133,

Sources: Gerhard Klimeck, (765) 494-9212,

Mark Lundstrom, (765) 494-3515,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to Journalists:  Media representatives who need more information about this news release can contact Phillip Fiorini at (765) 496-3133,

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