Sandia LabNews

CINT facilities, enhanced by thousand-year-old Chaco culture decorative style, nearing completion

CINT facilities, enhanced by thousand-year-old Chaco culture decorative style, nearing completion

A two-story-high, 450-foot-long wall surfaced with flat-chipped rock evocative of Chaco Canyon has been erected north of the Kirtland Eubank Gate and west of Eubank Blvd.

The curved, two-foot-thick wall cuts across the three laboratory wings of the new core facility of the Center for Integrated Nano-technologies. The wall’s function is not structural but to serve as an advertisement rooted in New Mexico’s history.

“We’re trying to create a working environment that is attractive to the brightest scientists [from everywhere],” says Sandia project manager Bill Hendrick (10824) of the architectural enhancement, as well as other features in the new structure, funded by the DOE Office of Science.
An imitation of the walls of Chaco Canyon structures built nearly a thousand years ago, the curved wall (for reasons of cost, built internally of steel) gives the core building a distinctly different look from other buildings in the technology park to the south.

“We wanted to juxtapose high-tech with what we understood of New Mexico’s history: today’s cutting edge with yesteryear’s,” says Bill Wells, senior architectural project manager of Arizona-based HDR, the building’s design firm.
That thoughtfulness includes the creation of casual meeting spaces between the three major lab divisions for “scientists, who may not be the most extroverted, to mingle and chat,” says Paul O’Donnell, project manager for general contractor Hensel Phelps.

The design, which radiates the three labs west from the curved stone wall façade like spokes from a wheel, includes sophisticated characterization capabilities in the northernmost wing; physical, chemical, and biological synthesis facilities in the middle wing; and clean rooms for nano/micro integration to the south.

The design, says CINT user program manager Neal Shinn (1131), was arrived at through meetings among Los Alamos and Sandia engineers and scientists, who discarded the idea of a more common rectilinear building for the current structure.
CINT is a joint venture of Sandia and Los Alamos, with the 96,000-square-foot core facility expected to act as headwaters from which work will flow as appropriate to LANL’s 35,000-square-foot gateway facility, or to Sandia’s gateway facility, housed in Bldg. 897 at the southeast corner of Area 1.

Construction is on schedule at both labs, with the core facility expected to be physically completed by late November and the LANL gateway by mid-January. The latter is a feat in itself, considering that construction proceeded through LANL’s administratively ordered shut- down and 38 days of bad weather, says LANL Gateway project manager Ross Garcia.

“We changed strategy to start [raising] steel on footings in parallel with [laying] the slab,” rather than laying all the slab and then proceeding to raise steel, he says. “The rain was puddling up.”

“It’s important the buildings are ready at [roughly] the same time,” says Jerry Hands (10800), general technical manager of the proj- ect. “Equipment would have to be purchased separately or stored if all buildings weren’t ready for them. Buying two or three items [at a time] gets [CINT] quantity discounts.”

All equipment should be installed, and all DOE qualifications met, by March, says Jerry.

Sandia and LANL researchers have worked together before and often, but CINT is the first jointly built project. Jerry, who has headed the construction of National Ignition Facility buildings (not the laser itself) at Lawrence Livermore, and other projects at Sandia and LANL, doesn’t take the new challenge lightly. He divides his time between the two labs to spot problems early. “If one construction project succeeds and the other fails,” he says, “I’ve failed.”

Teams of engineers and scientists from both labs decide jointly on equipment that will populate each facility. Researchers from both labs will work at all CINT Facilities.

CINT is one of five nanotechnology centers funded by DOE’s Office of Science. More than 60 nanotechnology research projects are already ongoing at LANL and Sandia, funded by “jumpstart” funds from the Office of Science and scattered through the two giant labs.