The FY 2002 Budget Request for the Materials Research
(DMR) Subactivity is $205.42 million, a decrease of $4.33 million,
or -2.1 percent, from the FY 2001 Current Plan of $209.75 million.
(Millions of Dollars)
||FY 2000 Actual
|FY 2002 Request
DMR supports research and education to advance the
fundamental understanding of materials, to enable the development
of materials with superior properties, and to enhance the understanding
of the interconnections among synthesis, processing, composition,
structure and properties of materials and how these factors affect
their performance. Materials research integrates a wide range of
activities spanning both science and engineering. It extends from
investigations of phenomena in condensed matter physics and solid
state chemistry to research on functional materials including metals,
ceramics, polymers, biomaterials, and electronic, photonic and magnetic
materials. Its practitioners include physicists, chemists, materials
scientists, and engineers, and, increasingly, it benefits from the
participation of researchers from an even wider range of disciplines
such as biochemistry, biology, earth sciences, mathematics, computer
science, and medicine.
The technological and societal significance of the
field is far-reaching. DMR supports education, fundamental research
and facilities that are critically important to the future advancement
of industries and technologies ranging from electronics and communications
to information technology, transportation and aerospace, energy,
environmental protection, manufacturing, medicine and health care,
packaging, and civil infrastructure. NSF provides about half the
total federal support for university-based research in materials.
About half of DMR's portfolio consists of support for individual
investigators and small groups, with the balance providing for Materials
Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSECs), Science and Technology
Centers (STCs), and large facilities for shared use, including the
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL).
Researchers and educators supported by DMR continued
to make exciting progress this year:
The computers and communications systems of tomorrow
may depend on the controlled transmission of light or "photonics"
as much as today's systems depend on semiconductor electronics.
A crucial property of semiconductors like silicon is the electronic
"bandgap" that controls the flow of electrons. Edwin
L. Thomas and his colleagues at MIT have created miniature cylindrical
photonic bandgaps using alternating layers of polystyrene and
tellurium with tailored thicknesses. These "omniguides"
cause complete internal reflection of light and allow it to be
guided around sharp corners. Depending upon the tube diameter,
the guides can be tuned for use anywhere from high-powered lasers
to telecommunications wavelengths. Science magazine cited
this discovery as one of its Top 10 "Breakthroughs of the
Ultrafast measurements are the basis of Margaret
Murnane's research at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her
group has shown for the first time that ultrafast laser-generated
x-ray pulses can be used to visualize surface chemical reactions.
Knowledge of chemical dynamics on solid surfaces is important
for understanding the reactions on catalytic surfaces that are
widely used in industrial applications. Professor Murnane has
also been able to visualize electron dynamics on surfaces, an
important aid in understanding electron transport in novel organic
materials that are being used in flat panel displays. The research
is quintessentially interdisciplinary, and involves physicists,
chemists, material scientists, and engineers.
DMR supports two Collaboratives to Integrate Research
and Education (CIRE) linking minority-serving institutions with
mainstream materials research centers. One links Florida A&M
University with the MRSEC at Carnegie Mellon University, and the
other one links faculty and students at the University of Puerto
Rico at Humacao with their counterparts at the MRSEC at the University
of Pennsylvania. The Collaboratives are designed to strengthen minority
education in materials-related areas by establishing joint research
programs that involve students in research, and sponsoring summer
exchange programs for both faculty and students.
The FY 2002 Budget Request includes:
New activities will emphasize nanoscale structures
and quantum control and biosystems at the nanoscale; computational
materials science; and the interface between biological systems
and materials. DMR will support new activities integrating materials
research and education, including activities to foster enhanced
international cooperation in materials and initiate an electronic
Materials World Net. DMR will also increase support for young
scientists and engineers in the materials field, and respond to
diverse human resource development needs for the future workforce
in advanced materials. In order to support these new activities
the number of existing materials research projects will be reduced
following competitive review. Materials Research decreases by
$8.83 million to $170.68 million.
In FY 2002, up to three new Materials Research
Science and Engineering Centers will be established through open
competition in critical areas such as nanoscale science and engineering,
information technology, and the interface between materials and
biology. One International Materials Institute will be established
to foster and enhance interaction in materials research and education
between U.S. and foreign investigators. Support for existing Centers
will be reduced through competitive review. Support for Materials
Research Centers decreases by $3.31 million to $54.25 million.
Facilities support increase by $4.50 million
to a total of $34.74 million. This support includes strengthening
user programs and facilities at the National High Magnetic Field
Laboratory (NHMFL), enabling it to properly maintain and upgrade
its unique set of continuous and pulsed-field magnets for users
across a wide range of disciplines. DMR will also provide $1.0
million to support enhanced capabilities at the Center for High
Resolution Neutron Scattering at the National Institute of Standards
and Technology, and at the Synchrotron Radiation Center at the
University of Wisconsin.