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June 18th, 2006
After a visit last year by officials from the lab's parent organization, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, it is now under orders to cut its work force from 225 to 140 by 2008.
There is still some work on commodity products, but the lab has a greater emphasis on nanotechnology, the science of using small particles to create stronger products. Nanotechnology materials could potentially be harvested from trees, Wegner said. Cellulose could someday replace metals and ceramics as a manufacturing material, he said. "You have to reinvent yourself from time to time," he said.
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