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University of Washington students learn about cleanroom lab techniques inside the Washington Nanofabrication Facility. Photo credit: University of Washington
University of Washington students learn about cleanroom lab techniques inside the Washington Nanofabrication Facility. Photo credit: University of Washington

The University of Washington is about to kick off a $37 million renovation of the Washington Nanofabrication Facility, a 15,000-square-foot lab complete with cleanrooms to build nanoscale parts for researchers, startups and well established companies.

The university says demand for its highly-specialized fabrication services has reached new heights, and the remodel will let it take on more business by roughly doubling the amount of space available.

That means Pacific Northwest entrepreneurs working on technology from biosensors to semiconductors will have somewhere to go to build the inconceivably small parts they need — but couldn’t fabricate anywhere else nearby.

According to the release announcing the news, the facility — located in Fluke Hall on the university’s Seattle campus — has been used by 84 UW faculty, 36 outside academic institutions, 298 students and 92 companies, including 7 UW spinouts since 2011.

The renovation is scheduled to get started in November and will be rolled out in phases over the next 14 months. It will create more fabrication space as well as upgrade the building’s systems to better control the environment inside the cleanroom.

“The Washington Nanofabrication Facility is vital to my existence,” Jevne Branden Micheau-Cunningham, who is using the lab for his startup called FLEXFORGE, said in a news release. “It allows entrepreneurs such as myself to flesh out ideas and bring products to life. The costs to get up and running on my own would have been prohibitive.”

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