DEWITT, N.Y. - If you're looking to blow something up for a major Hollywood blockbuster these days, you might need a dose of science.
Some of the materials used to contain those explosions, and ensure they only blow up the things they're supposed to, are based on nanotechnology.
That's the science of manipulating individual atoms and molecules, said Alain Kaloyeros, CEO of the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.
Those materials and other innovations will take center stage at a new nanotech-focused hub planned for Collamer Crossings Business Park in DeWitt. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the project Tuesday.
Other nanotechnology-related advances that could come into play in the movie business include:
- Better cameras
- Improved digital storage devices
- More powerful computers
- New types of software used in editing and post-production
The DeWitt hub's first tenant is a film production company called The Film House that will make use of nano-powered moviemaking technology.
The Film House will focus on making movies. Other companies that populate the facility will concentrate on research and development of new technologies, Kaloyeros said.
In addition to the film industry, the hub will try to attract tenants in energy and the medical device sector.
The site will employ 350 people, according to Cuomo. The Nanoscale College will own and manage the facility.
Nanotechnology allows researchers to design new materials from the ground up and imbue them with specific characteristics by altering them at the atomic level, Kaloyeros said.
In filmmaking, the science can foster the ability to produce movies in ultra-high definition through better equipment, computer graphics and editing capabilities.
"That's how Superman flies now with this amazing resolution," Kaloyeros said. "It's a nanotechnology achievement."
Modern filmmaking involves plenty of computers, he added. All phases of production increasingly rely on high-powered hardware and software.
That equipment requires the kind of nanotechnology-powered computer chips now manufactured and researched in New York at facilities like GlobalFoundries in Malta and the Nanoscale College in Albany.
"If you look at what a modern production studio looks like, it looks like Google or Apple office space," Kaloyeros said. "It's all computers, displays, all innovation that goes into making things look like what they're not."
Improved camera lenses based on nanotechnology could certainly come into play in the movie business, said Marlowe Newman, a spokeswoman for the National Nanotechnology Initiative, a federal research and development program.
Nikon, for example, says it uses a nano crystal coating technology that helps eliminate internal lens reflections.
The film industry might also take advantage of the improved data storage capacity made possible by nanotechnology, Newman said.
Fujifilm says it employs nanotechnology-enabled coatings and particles to create data cartridges that can hold more than a terabyte, or 1 trillion bytes. Modern movies are increasingly shot and stored digitally, rather than on film.