China is building world’s largest multifunctional research platform for nano-technology which would help develop more powerful computers and intelligent robots, official media reported today. The Vacuum Interconnected Nano-X Research Facility in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, integrates the state-of-art capabilities of material growth, device fabrication and testing in one ultra-high vacuum environment, Ding Sunan, deputy director of the project said.
“We are exploring a new technology route of nano-scale devices production on the platform, which simulates the ultra-high vacuum environment of space,” Ding, a researcher at the Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences said. Nano-X has received initial funding of 320 million yuan (about USD 46.5 million) and will eventually have a budget of 1.5 billion yuan, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Construction of the first stage began in 2014 and is expected to be completed in 2018. It comprises 100-metre-long ultra-high vacuum pipelines connecting 30 pieces of equipment. Ultimately the facility will have ultra-high vacuum pipelines of about 500 metres, connecting more than 100 large pieces of equipment, Ding said.
Nano-X is designed as a complete system for materials growth, device fabrication and testing. All samples can be transferred accurately, quickly and smoothly among all tools in an ultra-high vacuum environment. The facility can prevent surface contamination from the air, keeping a material’s intrinsic properties unchanged and realizing quantum manipulation and control, Ding said.
Experts say it will help make breakthroughs in common and critical problems in materials science and device technology, and develop new manufacturing technologies of nano-materials and core devices in the fields of energy and information. Nano-X is expected to be incorporated into China’s national research infrastructure system, and become a world-class open platform for research and development in nano-science and nano-technology, providing advanced technical support for the national strategy of high technologies, the report said.
Previously a global manufacturing hub, China is currently trying to transform itself into high technology centre to beat its economic slowdown. China has started the construction of one of largest and most sensitive cosmic-ray facilities in Sichuan province.
Earlier it commissioned the world’s biggest telescope in Guizhou Province to search for more strange objects space, gain better understand the origin of the universe and to boost the global hunt for extra-terrestrial life.