The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China's top scientific research institution, and the US Veeco Instruments Inc. opened a nanometer technology center in Beijing Wednesday.
The Institute of Chemistry of the CAS and Veeco will jointly run the center by recruiting Chinese scientists and engineers and providing access to Veeco-made instruments for Chinese researchers and scientists.
The instruments for nanotechnology research include Veeco's atomic force microscope and scanning tunneling microscope which are able to distinguish a single atom.
"I believe the nanotechnology will be a large player in the economy," President of Veeco Don Kania said. "China will gain the leadership position in nanotechnology in the future."
At present, China only enjoys the advantage in the research of nanometer materials, said Bai Chunli, CAS vice-president, who is also the chief scientist of a national steering and coordinating committee for nanotechnology.
CAS statistics show that more than 300 enterprises are working on nanoscience in China, with some 7,000 scientists studying it.
The CAS-Veeco center is just part of China's plan to establish a national nano infrastructure and research center, according to sources from the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The plan involves recruiting scientists, protecting intellectual property rights and building international cooperation in nanoscience.
The Chinese government has budgeted 2 billion yuan (about US$ 240 million) for nanotech projects in the coming five years, and another 2 billion to 3 billion yuan is due from local governments.
Veeco Instruments Inc. is a worldwide leader in metrology and processing equipment for the semiconductor, data storage, telecommunications and wireless markets.