RMIT University is spending $30 million on a new research facility to drive advance in micro and nano technologies.
Its MicroNano Research Facility (MNRF) will bring to Australia the world's first rapid 3D nanoscale printer and support projects in the areas of physics, chemistry, engineering, biology, and medicine, RMIT said.
The 3D printer will produce thousands of structures — each the fraction of the width of a human hair — in seconds, RMIT said.
MNRF is also providing 50 cutting-edge tools, including focused ion beam lithography with helium, neon, and gallium beams to enable imaging and machining of objects to 0.5nm resolution — about 5 to 10 atoms, RMIT said.
MNRF director Professor James Friend said 10 research teams would work at the new facility on a broad range of projects, including building miniaturised motors to retrieve blood clots from deep within the brain.
This will enable surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures on people affected by strokes or aneurysms.
The team will also improve drug delivery through the lungs using techniques that can atomise large biomolecules — including drugs, DNA, antibodies and cells — into tiny droplets to avoid the dame of conventional nebulisation, RMIT said.
RMIT vice-chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner, said the facility is bringing together disparate disciplines to enable internationally-leading research activity.
"RMIT has long been a pioneer in this field, opening Australia's first academic clean rooms at the Microelectronics and Materials Technology Centre in 1983," Professor Gardner said.
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