New Nano Capabilities

January/February 2006

LASST LabFive small, high-tech Maine companies that produce miniature smart sensors and detectors already have emerged from LASST research. New products are being commercialized to monitor contaminants in our environment, assess food quality and diagnose health problems. With passage of a jobs bond last November, the University of Maine Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology (LASST) will receive $2 million to enhance its nano-technology research and development capabilities. The monies will be invested in state-of-the-art microfabrication and nanotechnology equipment for LASST’s “clean room,” advancing capabilities in such areas as semiconductors, sensors, precision manufacturing and biomedical technology.

For example, the equipment will facilitate research on biomedical microinstruments that one day could provide automated drug delivery, disease diagnostics and implantable bio-sensors.

Like the 2003 bond that allowed UMaine’s Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Center to expand and subsequently land a $6.2 million U.S. Army research program, the latest LASST funding is expected to allow UMaine to continue to attract multimillion-dollar R&D grants from federal agencies, hire and train a skilled workforce in Maine, and provide resources for businesses.