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Your faculty and staff news since 1965
August 16, 2004
Volume 40, Number 1

Keck grant awarded


By Greg Johnston

A new $500,000 engineering grant will be used to investigate the transport of complex fluids at nanoscale dimensions at UNM. The funding will pave the way for a new generation of methods and devices that separate biomolecular components.

The grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation will purchase a scanning laser microscope and create the Keck Nanofluidics Laboratory, located at the UNM School of Engineering. Gabriel López, professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering and Chemistry, led the diverse team that applied for the grant.

“The Keck Foundation grant will help foster collaborative research between the School of Engineering and the School of Medicine, which is investigating the transport of complex fluids in nano-scale channels,” said Joseph L. Cecchi, UNM School of Engineering dean. “Beyond the support itself, this award clearly recognizes the exciting potential of the work of Professor López and his team.”

Steven R. J. Brueck, professor of electrical and computer engineering and physics and astronomy, is co-investigator. Brueck, an expert in the manufacturability of materials similar to the ones being studied, also directs UNM’s Center for High Technology Materials.

The microscope will be the centerpiece of the laboratory. It will complement and enable research projects funded by the National Science Foundation, Los Alamos National Laboratory and others.

For López and Brueck, the promise is that the ability to manipulate and control fluid elements in nanoscale devices will lead to generations of dramatic advances. Findings would be analogous to those that have resulted from the ability to control electronic charge transport in silicon integrated circuits.

There are many potential applications for such work, especially in the biomedical area. López said that methods developed through the research would address critical needs for applications to pharmaceutics, environmental science and advanced diagnostics.