University of Tartu opens East-Europe's most modern physics building with the science festival

"New building of the Institute of Physics, house with about 13 000 square meters, brings together under a common roof so far in separate buildings situated education and research," prof Jaak Kikas, the Director of the Institute of Physics, stressed the main objective of the new building.

In the new premises of the Institute of Physics four centers of excellence of Estonian science and 14 physics laboratories will operate. Those capabilities will be complemented by the extensive international cooperation, including the Finnish-Estonian synchrotron channel in Swedish national synchrotron radiation laboratory MAX-IV in Lund. "Materials research at the Institute of Physics is exceptionally at high level. The fact, that our research center was invated to participate in The Graphene Flagship project, also proves this" prof Kikas added.

For the students of physics, materials science and computer engineering, the conditions for the modern learning and testing have been created. In addition to broad lecture halls, the teaching will be given also in eight student labs, which are equipped with all the necessary equipment to carry out the practical work.

The new equipment and the novel spaces will lead the physics science in our institute to a completely new level, said prof Kikas. The most expensive new device is the transmission electron microscope (TEM), which costed two million euros. In new Physicum situates also the scanning electron microscope with focused ion beam (SEM-FIB), which enables the investigation of the internal structure of the materials in nano scale. In addition to just showing the 2D picture, this device enables the materials to be processed in nano scale (eg cut pieces out) and so to prepare the nanostructures for novel high-tech applications.

In the new building in next year, the physicists will have in they premises also ISO 5 and ISO 6 class clean rooms. "The dust is the biggest enemy of the physicists," explained prof Kikas, citing the need for dust-free environment to carry on the scientific experiments.

On the roof of the Physicum, the meteo-field is buildt, where meteorological observations (as started on the roof of the previous physics building) will continue. Also the control-antennas of the first Estonian student satellite ESTCube-1 are placed on the roof of this building.

The building has two large conference rooms that accommodate up to 300 people. Lecture halls are equipped with the most modern multi-media solutions that enable interoperability, ie, the same conference talks can be held and watched in parallel, in both big lecture halls of the building. "With innovative technology, the conferences conditions are contributing definitely into the image of Tartu as a science conference city," said Kikas, expressing the hope that the new lecture halls will bring to Tartu more high-level conferences and more foreign scientists: "I am confident that the Physicum will contribute to the international cooperation of the Institute of Physics and to the achievement of internationalization of the University of Tartu in general."

Institute of Physics, University of Tartu opened the new building on Monday, August 25.
The construction cost of Physics building were over 17 million euros, of which 13.5 million were covered by SA Archimedes via the European Regional Development Fund. The Physicum was built by Astlanda Ehitus OÜ and the architectural part designed by Kadarik Tüür Arhitektid OÜ (architects Ott Kadarik, Mihkel Tüür and Villem Tomiste, interior decorator Kadri Tamme).

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