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Georgia Southern University partners with National Nanotechnology Manufacturing Center

Georgia Southern University’s Department of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology has established a new partnership with the National Nanotechnology Manufacturing Center (NNMC) that will give graduate students and faculty in the Allen E. Paulson College of Science and Technology (COST) direct access to the latest in nanotechnology equipment.

Located in Swainsboro, Ga., the NNMC is a not-for-profit corporation created to promote the rapid commercialization of nanotechnology for commercial and military applications by insuring efficient manufacturing resources.

Hung-Ming Cheng and Frank Goforth, two assistant professors in the University’s Department of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology, are lending their expertise in nanotechnology applications to the NNMC.

‘The center is funded by state and federal grants to attract nanotechnology manufacturing businesses to rural Georgia,” Goforth said. ‘They are actively recruiting venture businesses to locate their manufacturing operations in Swainsboro, and they desired local technical talent familiar with manufacturing and nanotechnology as a resource to support the startup of these ventures, should they need a local resource. Dr. Cheng and I fill that need.”

Nanotechnology is defined by the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative as ‘the science, engineering and technology related to the understanding and control of matter at the length scale of approximately one to 100 nanometers.” A nanometer is one billionth of a meter. To put that into perspective, the width of the average human hair is 100,000 nanometers.

For the past several weeks, the NNMC has been installing nanotechnology equipment, including a Nanoink DPN unit that will be used primarily to develop the processes for nano-electrical circuits and similar devices. It is the only Nanoink DPN unit in the state of Georgia.

‘Dr. Cheng and I have been attending the training sessions for the equipment so that we can be a resource to resolve any issues new ventures may have with the equipment,” Goforth said. ‘We can use the equipment when it is not being used by any of the ventures, and graduate students within the department will learn how to operate it.”

Given its location and the programs offered by COST, Georgia Southern is a natural partner for the NNMC.

‘A primary decision in any technology business location decision is access to properly educated employees, and the University System of Georgia has some of the best nanotechnology research programs in the world,” Goforth said. ‘The cost of manufacturing in a high-technology research environment is prohibitive, but high-technology manufacturing operations do not usually fall far from the tree of knowledge. Convenient access is important. That’s why southeast Georgia and Georgia Southern University are attractive to nanotechnology companies.

‘Georgia Southern’s practice-oriented engineering technology program enables us to educate a workforce to develop and apply technology, and southeast Georgia offers an attractive manufacturing infrastructure.”

Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University, offers more than 120 degree programs serving nearly 17,000 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. The University, one of Georgia’s largest, is a top choice of Georgia’s HOPE scholars and is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit: www.georgiasouthern.edu .

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