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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee is part of a special group created to maximize regional expertise in nanotechnology.

U.S. Congressman Zach Wamp recently announced the formation of the East Tennessee Nano Initiative, which also includes the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Y-12 National Security Complex, Technology 2020 and the East Tennessee Innovation Valley.

Wamp said the group will help the entire region make the best use of its research tools in the field of nanotechnology, which is the science of microscopically-small man-made structures.

The group includes ORNL’s Spallation Neutron Source, High Flux Isotope Reactor and centers for nanophase materials sciences and computational sciences, as well as the precision machining capability of Y-12.

“Our region’s nanoscience resources and scientific talent are helping advance America’s stature in the global nanoscience marketplace,” Wamp said. “This new initiative will help make sure we benefit from this industrial revolution, including new research dollars and more high-paying jobs for the citizens of East Tennessee.”

“UT’s partnership with Battelle is poised to take a leadership role in the development of nanotechnology research and development,” UT Knoxville Chancellor Loren Crabtree said. “The breakthroughs that will come from this regional collaboration will benefit our region and our nation and help power the Tennessee economy.”

“We’ve built a very strong team that is committed to help everyone benefit from the nanotechnology revolution,” Technology 2020 president and CEO Tom Rogers said. “In the months ahead, we’ll look to build the Innovation Valley into one of the world’s leading nanotechnology hot spots.”

The goals of the initiative include marketing the region’s research capabilities to national and international governments, businesses and entrepreneurs; attracting more state, federal and international grant money for research; creating new intellectual property; recruiting more high-tech companies to the region; and helping local companies use new nanotechnology applications in their industries.