Scottish National Party MP, Carol Monaghan, visited UCL last week. She had a meeting with UCL Professor Graeme Reid, Chair of Science and Research Policy, before they visited the London Centre for Nanotechnology.
Carol is a physicist by training and was Head of Physics and Head of Science at Hyndland secondary school in Glasgow. She is a member of the Science and Technology Select Committee that recently produced a highly supportive report on science funding.
Carol’s tour at the LCN was headed by its new director, Professor Andrew Fisher, who gave Carol some insight into the range of cutting edge of scientific equipment engineered to model, design, fabricate and characterize on the nano-scale. A large proportion of this is housed in the unique cleanroom facilities, and Professor John Morton discussed how he uses such cutting-edge technology to exploit quantum superposition and entanglement to achieve major advances over current technologies in information processing using silicon systems.
Carol visited the i-sense laboratory where she learned about a new generation of low cost, early warning systems. These will combine symptoms reported on the web with novel mobile phone-connected diagnostic tests to help detect outbreaks of disease much earlier than is currently possible.
In the Atomic Force Microscopy laboratory, Drs Bart Hoogenboom and Alice Pyne illustrated the power of AFM to measure the structure of a single DNA molecule and variations in the depths of grooves in the double helix structure which help determine the extend a gene is expressed.
The tour ended in the Scanning Tunneling Microscope laboratory, where Carol learned about how surfaces can be engineered and imaged at sufficient resolution to capture and manoeuvre individual atoms.
Photographs: Drs Cyrus Hirjibehedin and Neil Curson explaining how STM can be used to probe the spectroscopic features of nanostructures at the atomic scale to Carol Monaghan and Graeme Reid
Given Carol’s active involvement in the Science and Technology Committee, the tour was designed to demonstrate first-hand the impact of capital spending investment on nano-science and innovation and to highlight some of the LCN’s fantastic research.