The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced Tuesday that it will spend $350 million on expanding its new 200,000 square foot nanotechnology facility.
The building, called "MIT.nano," will be used by up to 2,000 scientists involved in nanotechnology, according to News Tonight Africa.
University officials said the facility will have a new cleanroom, imaging and prototyping facilities. It will have one floor that, due to its resistance, offers vibrations and electromagnetic interference. It'll reportedly be the quietest area on MIT's campus.
MIT.nano will support projects that host researchers' work at the nanoscale. This support will help scientists develop projects such as creating new coatings for stream turbines, or finding better ways to encapsulate cancer-fighting drugs, The Boston Globe reported.
"One nanometer is really the operative unit for what MIT faculty does these days," said Vladimir Bulovic, the faculty leader of the project and associate dean for innovation at the School of Engineering. "Is it that we're trying to make a better cement and we need to engineer those molecules? Or are we thinking about nanomedicines? Or a switch for the next iPhone 7 coming down the line? Or a new display technology? A lot of it engages in some way in the nanoscale."
Two interconnected floors of cleanroom laboratories in the facility will contain fabrication spaces and materials growth laboratories. MIT.nano's glass walls provide views into lab and classroom areas, and will give researchers the opportunity to encourage users from different disciplines to interact, News Tonight Africa reported.
MIT.nano will be constructed with energy-saving features, such as intelligent sensing that will enable heat-recovery systems on the building's exhaust vents to work better. The building is set to open in 2018.
Bulovic said MIT will also spend $1 million on related construction and upgrades, The Boston Globe reported.
Kripa Varanasi, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, said he believes that expanding MIT's facilities will lead to greater innovation.
"Having a facility where you can just go in and plug and play will be incredible, and I think it'll form a big part of this ecosystem as an entrepreneurship powerhouse," Varanasi said.