University of California, Riverside

Bourns College of Engineering

Materials Science and Engineering Building

Material Science and Engineering Building

New Materials Science and Engineering Building Opens for Instruction

Facility Provides Home for Nanotechnology Research at UC Riverside

The countdown to the opening of the new Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) Building began Jan. 10, 2009, with a groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site (see below). The east end of the building opened for instruction in the winter quarter 2011, and the west wing, which contains the laboratories and clean room, will be occupied in summer 2011. A grand opening and dedication is being planned for fall 2011. The $56-million facility is the first major building at UCR devoted to nanotechnology research. 

Designed to foster interdisciplinary research among faculty from the Bourns College of Engineering and the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS), the Materials Science and Engineering Building represents a new model of scientific exploration at UC Riverside that crosses traditional college boundaries. It provides approximately 77,000 assignable square feet to accommodate the interdisciplinary instructional and research needs of the colleges’ joint programs in nanotechnology, materials science and bioengineering.

Nanotechnology is "the final frontier in miniaturization, at least on the surface of the planet,” according to UCR Professor Robert Haddon, a renowned authority in nanotechnology. The Materials Science and Engineering Building will be the new home of UC Riverside’s nanotechnology research which is already offering a broad range of advances in science unheard of a few short years ago. “Nanotechnology is not confined to a particular field,” said Haddon, a distinguished professor of both chemical and environmental engineering and chemistry.

“It encompasses all of the scientific disciplines including chemistry, engineering, physics, biology, computers and medicine,” Haddon added. “Thus, nanotechnology serves as a vehicle to create teams of scientists and engineers around a particular problem rather than focusing on what can be accomplished within a particular discipline. This comes about because the focus in nanotechnology is on the basic building blocks of matter – atoms and molecules – and at that level all of the disciplines have a common starting point.”

For seven years, the two colleges have already forged a very productive partnership focused in Haddon’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering. Faculty from all five engineering departments as well as from cell biology, neuroscience, chemistry and physics make up the center’s the research team.

The 134,000-square-foot L-shaped building consists of a four story lab building running north-south along Aberdeen Drive and a three story classroom wing fronting North Campus Drive. The project includes a 10,000-square foot clean room facility which more than quadruples previous capabilities for nanofabrication.

The last great revolution in technology, semiconductors, was largely developed in industrial labs, according to Alexander Balandin, chair of the College of Engineering’s Materials Science and Engineering Program. Inquiry into materials science such as nanotechnology is happening in our universities. “The research and development of the advanced materials and education of the next generation of MSE experts have a clear strategic importance for our nation,” he said. The strong implication is toward developing new devices and sensor technology with commercial, environmental, health and national security values, he said.

The joining of multiple disciplines in the MSE Building will produce benefits for both education and research innovation, Balandin said. “An engineer working with the great variety of materials responses at the electrical, optical, magnetic, mechanical, and chemical levels must have a solid scientific foundation and breadth of basic knowledge from the physical sciences and engineering,” he said.

“These investments in laboratory facilities as well as intensive faculty recruitment will give the two colleges unsurpassed competence in materials and nanotechnology,” Balandin said.

The Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE) and CNAS celebrated the groundbreaking of a new Materials Science and Engineering building on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2009. Congressmen Jerry Lewis and Ken Calvert were among the dignitaries who participated in the ceremony. The $56-million project will be home to Bourns’ Materials Science and Engineering Program. The new facility will also bring greater focus to the university’s considerable expertise in nanotechnology and will allow even greater opportunity for interdisciplinary work between researchers in engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, computer science, medicine, and other fields. Pictured at the groundbreaking (left to right) are: Riverside Councilman Andy Melendrez, Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and of Chemistry Robert Haddon, COE Dean Reza Abbaschian, Rep. Jerry Lewis, Rep. Ken Calvert, Acting UCR Chancellor Robert Grey, University of California Regent Bruce Varner, CNAS Interim Dean Don Cooksey, Professor of Physics Jory Yarmoff, and Bioengineering Chair Jerome Schultz.

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University of California, Riverside
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Riverside, CA 92521
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