"To advance research in nanoscale science, engineering and technology, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will provide a total of $81 million over five years to support 16 sites as part of a new National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI).
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 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." - NSF Press release Sep. 16th, 2015
NNCI at the Texas Nanofabrication Facility
The Texas Nanofabrication Facility involves four UT institutions:
This partnership of centers is more than an aggregate of shared facilities; it is a network of 24 professionals (technicians, engineers, and administrative staff) dedicated to their user base: research associates, professors, start-ups, and small and large company users. Our vision is to enable and foster breakthrough nano-innovation in the areas of electronics, healthcare and energy – all of which have significant presence in Texas; while establishing educational activities in nanotechnology directed at engaging underrepresented minorities (URM) and women.
The Texas Nanofabrication Facility is built around the shared NNIN MRC facilities and experienced staff. The facilities at MRC include 12,000 sq. ft. of class 100 and class 1000 cleanroom space for device processing and 15,000 sq. ft. of other labs housing ~70 shared nanofabrication and characterization tools. Capabilities in roll-to-roll manufacturing as well as wafer-scale nanoimprint and crystalline wafer exfoliation will be provided through NASCENT NERC staff for external users at a moderate fee. CNM brings a complementary suite of top down and bottom up nanofabrication tools. TMI greatly expands the microscopy (e.g., TEM, STEM, etc.) and surface characterization (e.g., TOF-SIMS, XPS, AES, Raman, etc.) capabilities.
Social and Ethical Implications (SEI)
The Social and Ethical Implications (SEI) effort led by Lee Ann Kahlor, (UT Moody College of Communication) will provide to new facilities users an informational session highlighting the benefits and challenges of considering SEI as an integral part of a responsible research project. The team will enhance the study of SEI of nanotechnology.
NNCI Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program
The NNCI REU program is designed to give undergraduate students an introductory research experience in nanotechnology. Each year a total of approximately 5 students are hosted at NNCI Texas Nanofabrication Facilties for a 9 week program. Each student works on an independent research project within their area of interest, using the advanced resources of our laboratories.
Because of the breadth of expertise in UT, we are able to offer exciting nanotechnology research projects across the spectrum of nanotechnology fields: Electrical Engineering, Materials Science, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Biology, and Biomedical Engineering. Students take advantage of the streamlined training process that UT employs for all its users to become proficient in advanced laboratory practices quickly. Projects are scaled to be challenging yet achievable within the 9 week time frame.
Marylene Palard, NNCI Texas Nanofabrication facility coordinator