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S$15m Micro and Nano-Fabrication Facility opens at NUS

13 June 2012

Prof Tan (in blue) with Prof Andrew Wee (right), Dean of the NUS Faculty of Science, working with graphene materials in the Micro and Nano-Fabrication Facility

A new S$15 million Micro and Nano-Fabrication Facility has opened at the NUS Faculty of Science. The state-of-the-art facility is part of the Graphene Research Centre, the first such centre in Asia dedicated to graphene research.

Graphene, an allotrope of carbon, has enormous potential in the display, lighting touch panel and photovoltaic industries. It can also be used in various applications such as the development of new substrates for cell growth in medical applications and high-speed processors for a new class of ultra-thin, flexible computers.

At the inauguration ceremony, NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan said: “The new materials and technologies that will surely result from research carried out within these walls, will have the potential to change markets and contribute in a profound way to the betterment of society and the enrichment and diversification of Singapore’ economy.”

He added: “I am certain that the new facility will become a major site for graphene research and application for the region and the world.”

Heading the Graphene Research Centre is Prof Antonio H. Castro Neto, one of the world leaders in graphene research. The Centre is established under the scientific advice of Nobel laureates Prof Andre Geim and Prof Konstantin Novoselov, both from the Manchester University, United Kingdom. They won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of graphene.

Prof Castro Neto is confident that with equipment that very few places in the world have, “we will be able to make these devices here first. While this is a research facility, it also has strong connections with industry. We believe that very soon, nice devices will come out of this lab.”

Graphene research at NUS includes a study led by Assistant Prof Barbaros Özyilmaz who is with the Department of Physics and the Graphene Research Centre. The team found that graphene provides a biocompatible scaffold which accelerates specific differentiation of stem cells into bone cells, spelling exciting possibilities for biomedical applications.