The National Science Foundation (NSF) will provide $81 million over five years to support 16 sites and a coordinating office as part of a new National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI). The NNCI will include the Texas Nanofabrication Facilty, a joint venture that includes the Microelectronics Research Center (MRC), the Center for Nano- and Molecular Science (CNM), the Texas Materials Institute (TMI) and the NSF Nanosystems Engineering Research Center (NERC) for Nanomanufacturing Systems for Mobile Computing and Mobile Energy Technologies (NASCENT) at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin). Future plans include involving the Dell Medical School deeply in NNCI activities.
The goal of the program is to open UT Austin's nanotechnology characterization, fabrication, metrology, and other tools and capabilities to outside users, encouraging economic growth in Texas for nano-focused businesses and startups.
The NNCI framework builds on the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN), which enabled major discoveries, innovations, and contributions to education and commerce for more than 10 years. The NNCI sites will provide researchers from academia, government, and companies large and small with access to university user facilities with leading-edge fabrication and characterization tools, instrumentation, and expertise within all disciplines of nanoscale science, engineering and technology. The Societal and Ethical Implications (SEI) aspect of the program is directed by the UT College of Communication.
"NSF's long-standing investments in nanotechnology infrastructure have helped the research community to make great progress by making research facilities available," said Pramod Khargonekar, assistant director for engineering. "NNCI will serve as a nationwide backbone for nanoscale research, which will lead to continuing innovations and economic and societal benefits."
Photo Credit: Dan Sears, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill