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Developing Tiny Technology

Oct. 4, 2006 — Business people, government representatives, researchers and educators interested in developing and commercializing nanotechnology will meet Thursday, Oct. 5 at the University of Utah.

The day-long “nanoUtah 2006: Utah’s Statewide Nanotechnology Conference” begins at 9 a.m. in room 104 of the Engineering and Mines Classroom Building, located southeast of the Merrill Engineering Building.

News media representatives are invited to cover the conference, and students will be admitted without charge with student identification. There is a $35 fee at the door for other attendees.

Nanotechnology involves the study, synthesis and manipulation of structures on the scale of a nanometer – or one-billionth of a meter (a meter is about 39 inches) – and exploiting the properties of those nanostructures for technological uses. There are about 1,000 to 2,000 atoms in a cubic nanometer. Nanotechnology generally involves structures ranging from a nanometer to a few micrometers (millionths of a meter).

“The state of Utah wants to compete with the rest of the country in micro and nanotechnology,” said Ian Harvey, a conference organizer and research associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Utah. “So we’re getting the right people together from industry, government and education. The best way for a small state like Utah to attract research contracts and business is by working together to develop the infrastructure, expertise and products that can make us competitive nationally and internationally.”

Thursday’s conference will open with welcoming remarks from Fred Lampropoulos, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Merit Medical Systems, Inc.; and Jack Brittain, University of Utah vice president for technology venture development.

Keynote speeches will be:

  • At 9:30 a.m., Gurtej S. Sandhu, prolific inventor and director of strategic technology development for Micron Technology, Inc., Boise, will discuss “Nanoelectronic opportunities in Utah: scaling silicon into the nano era.”

  • At 10 a.m., Mohamad A. Sawan, of the Polytechnic School of Montreal, will speak about “Global niche opportunity for Utah: nanotech in bioimplants.”

From 10:45 a.m. to noon and again from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. will be “Utah Nano” sessions, during which researchers and businesses will give a series of five-minute introductions to their work in nanotechnology and microtechnology, and their interest in collaborating with others.

A 1 p.m. session on nanotechnology issues will include presentations on why Utah must be competitive in nanotechnology, legal issues unique to nanotechnology development and venture capital needs for nanotechnology businesses.

Breakout sessions starting at 2 p.m. will deal with:

  • Obtaining resources (funding, access to laboratories, moving nanotechnology from labs to industry, and accessing funds from the Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) Initiative).

  • Making Utah competitive (potential applications of nanotechnology in Utah, attracting prime researchers and projects, and needs for infrastructure).

  • Education and outreach (the roles of public schools and higher education in training a nanotechnology workforce, and nanotechnology outreach efforts).

The nanoUtah 2006 web site, including a list of presentations and abstracts, is at:

The agenda for the conference may be downloaded from:

Brief summaries of University of Utah nanotechnology research may be obtained by navigating to the following website and clicking on “U of U nano Research:”