Friday, January 3, 2014

2013: A Year in Review

Happy New Year to all.  As is typical, this is the time in the calendrical cycle when we look forward to a brand new and unsullied 12 months in front of us which allows us to make resolutions (or revolutions if you have seen the latest ATT TV ad) about changes in our habits and behavior.  It is also the time when we look back at the year just past, to recognize the achievements that help us believe that the human species is making progress.

The world of nanotechnology is no exception, and a good compendium of popular (not necessarily synonymous with significant) news stories from 2013 can be found at Nanowerk.

Here at Georgia Tech, and specifically at the Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology (IEN), we witnessed a number of noteworthy developments and achievements.  In no particular order, here is the best of IEN 2013:
  1. Significant new funding and investment was obtained by IEN user companies Suniva, Lumense, and Axion Biosystems.  Additionally, new companies Immucor, Clearside Biomedical, Hoowaki and Clopay Plastic Products, among others, joined the IEN user community.
  2. IEN Senior Research Engineer Devin Brown won the Grand Prize in the EIPBN 2013 photomicrograph contest.
    Blue Sun Flower, Devin Brown
  3. IEN held its First Annual USER (User Science and Engineering Review) Day, highlighting the research achievements of our more than 700 users.
  4. The GT-NNIN Education and Outreach Office was nominated as STEM Education Award Finalist by the Technology Association of Georgia.
  5. The IEN got company among the Georgia Tech Interdisciplinary Research Institutes (IRI) with the birth of the Institute for Materials (IMAT) and the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRIM).
  6. IEN co-hosted the Southeast Regional Energy Symposium (SERES).  See yours truly examining one of the student demonstrations.
  7. Significant progress was made on construction in the Marcus Nanotechnology Building, with completion of two laboratory floors (devices and biomedical) and the cleanroom staff office, initial work on the imaging and microscopy suite, and design of the final lab floor (materials).  The IEN's physical space was accompanied by a new virtual presence as the IEN website was launched.
  8. IEN initiated a Seed Grant Competition.  This program was created to identify new, currently-unfunded research ideas that require student cleanroom access to generate preliminary data necessary to pursue other funding avenues.  I promise a fuller blog post about this program later.
  9. Research progress was made by numerous IEN faculty members, including Dennis Hess, Younan Xia, ZL Wang, Todd Sulchek, Jud Ready, Ken Sandhage, Andrei Fedorov, and Alan Doolittle, with a spate of reports appearing in October and November.  You can see most of these in posts on our Facebook or LinkedIn pages.
  10. The IEN celebrated the long and prestigious career of Prof. James Meindl (MiRC and NRC Director) who retired in June.  We also witnessed the departure of IEN founding director Prof. Mark Allen as he moved to the University of Pennsylvania.  Finally, we welcomed Prof. Oliver Brand who took over as Interim Director while a national search for a new IEN Executive Director takes place.
Here’s to hoping that 2014 brings us all continued progress, success and happiness.