On October 24, 2017, The University of Washington National Nanotechnology Coordinated Structure (NNCI) Washington Nanofabrication Facility (WNF) officially opened the doors of its remodeled facility – a 15,000 square-foot space that offers an open-access cleanroom and expert resources to users. The environment further enhances the shared discovery and dissemination of new technologies focused on nanotechnology and fabrication processes.
The WNF took over the space at the university’s Fluke Hall in 2011. Since then, the organization embarked on a nearly six-year, $37 million remodel project. The space began as an unrated cleanroom that was hindered by failing infrastructure. The remodel transformed the space into a ISO Class 5/6 cleanroom facility that boasts a robust infrastructure with redundant systems. During the renovation, the WNF also added several new capital instruments that expand the nanoscale fabrication and characterization capabilities that are offered.
At the October ceremony, UW Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering Professor Karl Böhringer announced that then associate director of the WNF, Michael Khbeis, would become the new director. For Khbeis, the future of the WNF is exciting.
“Since taking over the lab in 2011, WNF experienced an operational transformation that led to about a 300 percent growth in utilization and revenue,” Khbeis said. “There has been substantial growth from industrial clients that helped make the facility fiscally viable. While we expect continued growth of industrial users, now that construction is complete, we are hoping to focus our attention to fostering increased utilization by UW and other academic and government users. We are working with NanoEngineered Systems (NanoES) Institute (as well as the Molecular Engineering and Sciences Institute [MolES] and the Clean Energy Institute [CEI]) to help find and apply for new research programs that will leverage the amazing capabilities being offered at WNF. We hope to engage in more education and outreach initiatives and attract UW students to career paths in nanoscale fabrication and characterization to meet the needs of a wide variety of industries.”