The ABCs of AMD

With sophomores, juniors and seniors taking the nanotechnology class at Ballston Spa, many of them will be in a position to be part of the first wave of new hires at Fab 4X, which should be opening its doors in 2011. That was on Gallo's mind when he signed up for the course.

"I knew that nanotechnology would be a pretty big thing when I get out of college," he said, adding that he has always had an interest in cutting-edge science.

The idea of the lab in Balet's class was to see if sunscreens that contain nanoparticles are better at blocking UV rays than those without. It's a perfect example of how the field of nanotechnology extends beyond the microchip.

"We think of [nanotechnology] as a computer technology, but it also goes from consumer products, to energy production, to disease detection and drug delivery," said Balet.

Potter agreed. "It has huge implications," he said. "It's cutting edge science We wanted to be one of the frontrunners in introducing this field."

While Balet covers the biology angle, Potter's students were working at computers and wrapping up a lab that involves studying photovoltaic energy " in other words, how solar panels turn light into power. Senior Chris Bulmer said that while he isn't dead-set on a career in nanotechnology, he is excited to work with cutting edge concepts.

"I liked the concept of nanotechnology, and being able to create new technology," he said.

Halfway through the school year, the two classes will switch teachers.

While the newfound program at Ballston Spa is aimed at stimulating interest in the field, Hudson Valley Community College has been coordinating with AMD to provide practical training to future fab technicians. It will be building a satellite facility at the Saratoga Technology and Energy Park (STEP), to be known as the Training and Education Center for Semiconductor Manufacturing and Alternative Renewable Technologies (TEC-SMART).

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