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Following are the examples of Carnegie Mellon's collaboration with industry and government.
Plextronics, Inc., a Carnegie Mellon spin-off, received private sector and state of Pennsylvania funding to advance production of Plexcore™, a plastic that conducts electricity a million times faster than anything comparable, according to creator Richard McCullough, dean of Carnegie Mellon’s Mellon College of Science. Plexcore may be used for miniaturized electronics devices, flexible flat panel displays and non-static, non-corrosive coatings. The conducting polymer market is projected to reach $1.6 billion in the next four years.
The university’s state-of-the-art Nanofabrication Facility is attracting corporate involvement because of its $10-million, 4,000-square-foot cleanroom, filled with equipment essential to developing novel micro devices. Participants include Akustica, IC Mechanics, and Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh researchers.
The nanofab connection with Akustica is helping the chip maker deliver products that will lead to more intuitively functional consumer devices. Akustica will roll out a new generation multi-function system on a chip that can hear, speak, sense and interact directly with people and the world around them. The feature-rich Akustica Sensory Silicon chips this year will start replacing the 1.5 billion conventional microphones and near-field speakers used in products like cell phones, PCs, cameras, cars and medical equipment.
Quantum Dot Corp. (QDC) collaborates with Genentech, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, MIT, Cal Berkeley and others to develop diagnostic imaging and therapeutic products based on nanocrystals. QDC and Carnegie Mellon share a five-year NIH grant, with total funding to QDC of more than $1 million. Started in 2002, the collaboration is focused on the development and use of new quantum dot materials for use in deep tissue imaging, primarily inside living animals.
Quantum dots are tiny clumps of semiconductor material, amounting to a few hundreds of thousands of atoms each, which glow brightly when illuminated by a light source. They are so bright, they can even be used to guide a surgeon’s scalpel. Carnegie Mellon researchers have developed Coatings that keep quantum dots circulating in the blood for hours and glowing brightly for months.
"Smart" particles, capable of seeking out and destroying pockets of the carcinogen Trichloroethylene (TCE), have been developed by a team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon and the U.S. Energy Department's Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory. The tiny particle of iron, with a polymer shell, oxidizes TCE, ripping off chlorine atoms and leaving behind ethane and other harmless byproducts. About 60 percent of the 1,400 hazardous waste sites on the Environmental Protection Agency's National Priorities List are contaminated with the suspected carcinogen.
The Phoenix Project explores the use of nanotechnology for building very large reconfigurable devices. Chemically Assembled Electronic Nanotechnology (CAEN) uses self-alignment to construct electronic circuits out of nanometer-scale devices that take advantage of quantum-mechanical effects. CAEN can be harnessed to create useful computational devices with more than 1,000 gate-equivalents per cm2. Researchers have also devised an electrical switch that can be built from a single molecule.
CyLab was formed after 9/11 to harness the diverse talent on campus into a coordinated effort to enhance cybersecurity. CyLab programs are funded by several federal agencies, philanthropic foundations and more than 50 companies. Its research spans technology, management and policy issues. Its goals are to make computing and communications systems trustworthy, secure, sustainable and available.
Sandstorm is the robotic vehicle that may finally convert Pittsburgh into “Roboburgh,” as The Wall Street Journal once nicknamed the city. Carnegie Mellon’s entry into DARPA’s $2 million Grand Challenge 2005 is drawing national media and sponsorship attention. Several patents already have resulted from the vehicle’s design and construction. Sandstorm and other autonomous robots will “revolutionize robotics and improve the quality of life for humankind,” says Carnegie Mellon team leader William “Red” Whittaker.
Mellon College of Science>
Quantum Dot Corp.
Environmental Protection Agency
The Phoenix Project