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March 25th, 2007

Big ideas, big money PSU gets smaller chunk, but still excels

UNH's scientists are involved in projects ranging from mapping the ocean floor to improving NASA's understanding of the Sun and Earth. They also are involved in nanotechnology, the field of working with matter on ultrasmall scales, including the molecular level.

The school's Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing includes researchers from Northeastern University in Boston and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, said Glen Miller, the center's associate director.

One of the center's more recent projects included developing carbon nanotubes to protect satellite computers from radiation in space, Miller said.

Nanotubes are "1,000 times stronger than steel, but lighter than feathers," he added.

The one-year project, funded by defense contractor Northrop Grumman, was a success, he said.

Commercial products incorporating nanotechnology already are available, he added, including some golf club shafts and softball bats.

The nanotech center was created three years ago after UNH won a five-year, $12.5 million National Science Foundation grant. UNH's proposal was chosen over others from across the country and around the world, Miller said.


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