An exciting new era in materials science research has started at the University of Tennessee with the opening of the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials (JIAM) Building on the Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus.
The state-of-the-art contemporary building is mostly completed, with laboratories on the second floor still under construction due to specially-coated fume hoods that are yet to be installed, but offices on the first and third floor are open, along with laboratories on the first floor and a food area. The building also features a common area with an extensive view of the Tennessee River, designed to encourage interaction among faculty, staff, and students. Bus service is available from the main UT campus to JIAM, and the facility is anticipated to be fully completed by October of 2016.
Established in 2005, JIAM comprises a multidisciplinary team of scientists from UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).Through a partnership that spans more than sixty years, UT and
Through a partnership that spans more than sixty years, UT and ORNL researchers have maintained international prominence in the field of advanced materials synthesis and characterization. This broad research realm directly engages physicists, chemists, microscopists, computer scientists, and engineers, while involving myriad other areas of scientific investigation. Many of JIAM’s scientists hold joint appointments at UT and ORNL.
The JIAM building was initially funded with $20 million from the federal government. The university and the State of Tennessee provided additional support for the building’s completion.
Dr. Veerle Keppens, the head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), is the new director of JIAM.
“JIAM was established to encourage multi-disciplinary materials research projects with faculty members from different departments and colleges,” Keppens said. “In addition to encouraging research initiatives, we plan to have seminars and lectures from faculty outside JIAM to generate discussion and ideas. I also hope we can have casual get-togethers so people can meet and get to know one another and be aware of what is going on outside of their own areas.”
Several of the MSE faculty have already moved into the facility, including the Leonard G. Penland Chair, Associate Department Head, and Professor Philip Rack.
“The best feature of the new building is the view,” Rack said. “Who cannot help but be inspired by the scenic overlook of the Tennessee River! Beyond that, the building and facilities are great and the JIAM staff is top notch. My office is on the third floor with a great view and my labs are on the ground floor conveniently close to the microscopy facility.”
Rack’s research focuses on nanomaterials synthesis and device integration. The new microfabrication cleanroom facility that Dr. Eric Lukosi from the Department of Nuclear Engineering manages and the microscopy facility that Dr. Gerd Duscher from the MSE department directs will be great complements to what Rack’s research group is working on.
Located only five minutes from campus, the Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus’ overall mission is to enhance the university’s ability to promote economic development, maximize unique resources and partnerships, and take a national leadership position in innovation research. The campus is supervised by the UT System administration and Cliff Hawks is its president and CEO.
“JIAM is the fifth joint institute between UT and ORNL and obviously the first to be located on UT’s Cherokee Farm Campus,” Hawks said.” I believe locating JIAM at Cherokee Farm gives the research and development park a tremendous advantage as we work to recruit materials science businesses. Companies locating at Cherokee Farm will have the ability to access all of the tools and talent at the facility. Students focusing on materials science research will also have convenient access to a truly state-of-theart materials science research facility. Having JIAM located in this area also gives students the opportunity to work directly with technology companies that are partnering with the university.”
A second building is now being constructed on the Cherokee Farm Campus. The first facility to be privately developed on the location will be home to Civil and Environmental Consultants Incorporated (CEC). CEC, Inc. has several locations across the US and has added East Tennessee to that list as they partner with the UT College of Engineering. The new building, now under construction, will also provide additional space that can accommodate more private sector companies who are partnering with the university and ORNL.
“We are in the early development stages of the campus and we are working aggressively now to move forward with a third building,” Hawks added. “We expect Cherokee Farm to be a great tool as the university continues to build relationships with private sector companies who are focused on long-term research and development relationships. Over the next five years I would like to see Cherokee Farm and the university breaking ground on more buildings that are home to those companies that see real value in partnering with UT and ORNL and living in our community.”