Compiled by Mark DeSorbo

One tough fab

ALBANY, N.Y.—The University at Albany's latest building project, the NanoFab 300N, is likely the most robust for miles around, says Tom Yurkewecz, UAlbany's director of programs, who is responsible for overseeing its construction.

Extra strength is needed to isolate the building from the vibrations of both Interstate 90 and Washington Avenue Extension, which run parallel to the site. There are 1,200 pilings drilled 70 feet deep and injected with cement supporting the whole structure.

"You really need to build a facility that has an unbelievable level of stiffness," Yurkewecz told The Times Union of Albany.

The 225,000-square-foot, three-story structure features a 35,000-square-foot cleanroom on the second floor. The frame is a series of concrete grids stacked one atop another, made by putting rebar—long steel rods—in forms and lifting them into place.

Price tag for all that concrete: $10 million—about 7 percent of the building's $150 million cost.

Onion outcries

MONACA, Pa..—Conflicting messages are coming from U.S. and Mexican officials over an investigation into contaminated onions.

U.S. officials have linked four Mexican green onion producers to the hepatitis A outbreak at a Chi-Chi's restaurant at the Beaver Valley Mall that sickened at least 635 and killed three. Mexican officials disputed that during a recent briefing.

Indications are that the scallions may have come from U.S. sources. Mexican officials are saying the storage facilities of green onion distributors in California have become the focus of the investigation.

The Food and Drug Administration says the investigation's information-gathering phase is mostly complete.

Veltek relocates

MALVERN, Pa.—Veltek Associates, Inc. has completed its move from Phoenixville to its new manufacturing facility in this city, located approximately 30 miles west of Philadelphia.

The facility is registered with the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, and the move provides Veltek with "increased manufacturing and testing capabilities," says Art Vellutato, Jr., vice president of technical support operations.

Decontamination wizardry

CERRITOS, Calif.—Steril-Aire, Inc. has introduced a hand-held "SterilWand" that uses the company's patented UVC technology for decontaminating surfaces infested with mold, bacteria or viruses.

You slowly pass the hand-held device closely over the contaminated surface area, allowing the energy from the 30-inch-long UVC emitter to zap away contamination. An aluminum safety shield prevents direct exposure to UVC energy, while also adding reflectance that increases the light's intensity and effectiveness.

The most common applications include laboratories, hospitals, and food and beverage processing areas. The device is suitable for a variety of specialized uses, including food preparation and processing and yeast rooms to reduce contamination, DNA laboratories to prevent cross-contamination and surface decontamination in hospitals.