China building world’s largest multifunctional nano research facility
NANJING, March 28 (Xinhua) — Chinese scientists are building the world’s
largest multifunctional research platform for nano-science and nano-technology
that could help develop more powerful computers and more intelligent robots.
The Vacuum Interconnected Nano-X Research Facility in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province,
integrates the state-of-art capabilities of material growth, device fabrication
and testing in one ultra-high vacuum environment, said Ding Sunan, deputy
director of the project.
“We are exploring a new technology route of nano-scale devices production on
the platform, which simulates the ultra-high vacuum environment of space,”
said Ding, a researcher at the Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics
under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.Nano-X has received initial funding of
320 million yuan (about 46.5 million U.S. dollars), and will eventually have
a budget of 1.5 billion yuan.
Construction on the first stage began in 2014 and is expected to be completed
in 2018. It comprises 100-meter-long ultra-high vacuum pipelines connecting
30 pieces of equipment. Ultimately the facility will have ultra-high vacuum
pipelines of about 500 meters, connecting more than 100 large pieces of
equipment, Ding said.
Nano-X is designed as a complete system for materials growth, device fabrication
and testing. All samples can be transferred accurately, quickly and smoothly
among all tools in an ultra-high vacuum environment.
The facility can prevent surface contamination from the air, keeping a material’s
intrinsic properties unchanged and realizing quantum manipulation and control,
said Ding.Experts say it will help make breakthroughs in common and critical
problems in materials science and device technology, and develop new manufacturing
technologies of nano-materials and core devices in the fields of energy and
Nano-X is expected to be incorporated into China’s national research infrastructure
system, and become a world-class open platform for research and development in
nano-science and nano-technology, providing advanced technical support for the
national strategy of high technologies.