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The next small thing: Pioneering nanotech centre is launched

Publication date: Oct 31, 2006 5:02:20 PM

A unique multidisciplinary UK research facility that will be at the forefront of delivering applied nanotechnology solutions will be opened on Tuesday 7 November 2006 at UCL.

The London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN), which is a joint venture between UCL and Imperial College London, harnesses the world-class expertise of the two institutions across the physical, engineering and biomedical sciences to meet the needs of society and industry – and in particular improve patient care.

The £25 million centre occupies a purpose-built eight-storey facility in Gordon Street, Bloomsbury, as well as extensive facilities within different departments at Imperial’s South Kensington campus. Designed by the architects Feilden Clegg Bradley, the Bloomsbury site embraces 21st-century equipment crucial to the application of nanotechnology. The fabric of the building had to be purpose-designed for ultra-low vibration which will allow experiments with molecules – which are so sensitive that in a normal environment, the vibrations of a person walking at the other side of the building could destroy the experiment – to be conducted.

To mark the opening of the building, journalists are invited to a symposium where the future of nanotechnology and its application will be discussed by:

* the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Office of Science and Innovation, Sir David King

* Director of The Wellcome Trust, Dr Mark Walport

* the joint directors of the LCN, Professor Gabriel Aeppli and Professor Tim Jones.

The symposium will be followed by a reception in the UCL Jeremy Bentham Room where attendees will get the chance to meet many of the 200 LCN researchers and discuss their work.

Professor Gabriel Aeppli, Director of the LCN, says: “The LCN is truly interdisciplinary in its nature. Researchers from eight different academic departments are working together on projects which require skill combinations that no individual scientist or even traditional academic department can contribute. Physicists are literally sitting next to medical doctors, chemists and engineers, paving the way for unique collaborations.

“LCN researchers have shown how nanotechnology can be used for cancer diagnostics, which they are already commercialising via a start-up company. In a decade we expect to see a new, nanotechnology-enabled generation of personalised drugs capable of targeting specific cells such as tumours, as well as new medical diagnostics. This will change the face of healthcare.”

Journalists who wish to register attendance for the event or find out more should contact:

Judith H Moore, UCL Media Relations, Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 7678, Mobile: +44 (0)77333 075 96, Email: judith.moore@ucl.ac.uk.

Notes for Editors

Further information about the London Centre for Nanotechnology can be found at: http://www.lcn.ucl.ac.uk/

Event format:

14.15–14.45 Guests arrive at the UCL Bloomsbury theatre

15.00 –16.10 Symposium – ‘Nanotechnology, Innovation and Interdisciplinarity’

16.15–18.00 Reception in the UCL Jeremy Bentham Room

About the London Centre for Nanotechnology

The London Centre for Nanotechnology is a joint enterprise between UCL and Imperial College London. In bringing together world-class infrastructure and leading nanotechnology research activities, the centre aims to attain the critical mass to compete with the best facilities abroad. Furthermore by acting as a bridge between the biomedical, physical, chemical and engineering sciences the centre will cross the 'chip-to-cell interface' – an essential step if the UK is to remain internationally competitive in biotechnology.

The new LCN building is an eight storey building at 17–19 Gordon Street on the UCL campus. The main elevation to Gordon Street is sympathetic to the proportions of the surrounding conservation area and is unique not only in its technical specifications, but has been designed specifically to enhance the interdisciplinary research work carried out within. The elevation is split into three distinct zones, reflecting the different building uses within, and also aligning with the traditional base, middle and top/attic stories of the classically composed elevations adjacent.

The laboratory spaces, including a 200 square metre Clean Room, have exceptionally rigorous specifications with tightly controlled and stable environment conditions. Much of the building houses highly sensitive instruments for the preparation and investigation of nanoscale structures and materials.