TEMPE, Ariz. -- It's one of the jewels in the crown at Arizona State University: the Biodesign Institute -- a world famous center for breakthrough scientific research. A huge expansion took place on Monday as the institute opened a new $120 million building.
The Biodesign Institute is dedicated to breakthrough research to solve everyday problems, develop new drugs, to help cure cancer, to help develop better and cheaper energy sources.
To really appreciate ASU's brand new Biodesign building, you have to go underground. That's where you'll find "the vault." The concrete walls are four feet think and the floor is six feet thick.
The vault is secured by a 20-ton sliding door. It's super-secure and built to withstand anything. this incredible space is just the beginning.
"The coolest thing is the laser accelerator that will allow us to use energy to blow apart nature to take movies of how it works," said ASU President, Dr. Michael Crow.
The Compact X-Ray Free Electron Laser will help scientists develop life-saving drugs, come up with new sources of energy and work on unlocking the secrets of the universe.
The vault is covered with specially-made aluminum walls, along with copper and brass to supply power to the laser.
Next to the vault are a red room and a green room, where ASU scientists will be researching how plants convert light into energy, so people can harness the sun's power much more efficiently.
"I am absolutely thrilled by it. It is very rare to get the chance to build the lab spaces from scratch to put features we need. We have special walls, rooms, lighting.. all these things help us do our science very well," said ASU physics professor Bill Graves.
The Biodesign Building C drew a crowd on Monday for its grand opening. It will surely attract scientists from all over the world. This is a key addition to the Biodesign program at ASU, but it is not the end. The program is constantly expanding and ASU is now one of a handful of topflight research institutions around the world.