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Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials and Manufacturing (NM)
Proposal Due Date: December 03, 2012

Rajesh Mehta (rmehta@nsf.gov)

Ben Schrag (bschrag@nsf.gov)

Administrative Information
The required one-page project summary should discuss the intellectual merit and broader impacts in two separate paragraphs (<200 words per paragraph) that specifically answer the following questions:

  • Paragraph 1) Intellectual merit: What is the problem to be solved? How will the problem be solved? What is the innovation in the proposed approach?
  • Paragraph 2) Broader impacts: Why is your solution better than competitive technologies? Who is going to buy your solution? Who are the other key players?

If the above questions are not addressed, the proposal will be returned without review.

Proposals must address the potential for commercialization of the innovation and how the project would ultimately lead to revenue generation. It is important that the proposed technology increase the competitive capability of industry, be responsive to societal needs, and be sensitive to solving "real" problems driven by critical market requirements. There is considerable overlap between the subtopics and proposers should pay attention to the areas indicated under each subtopic to assist the program in placing these proposals on review panels.

Letters of Support for the Technology

Inclusion of letters of support for the technology within the proposal is strongly encouraged. Letters of support act as an indication of market validation for the proposed innovation and add significant credibility to the proposed effort. Letters of support should demonstrate that the company has initiated dialog with relevant stakeholders (potential customers, strategic partners, or investors) for the proposed innovation and that a real business opportunity exists, should the technology prove feasible. The letter(s) must contain affiliation and contact information of the signatory stakeholder.

Importance of Communication with Program Officer

A company considering a proposal submission is encouraged to communicate (via email) with the cognizant program officer to help gauge the responsiveness to the solicitation (the cognizant program officer is indicated at the end of each subtopic). When contacting the cognizant program officer please provide a brief executive summary, not to exceed two pages, with background on: 1) company/team including experience with previous SBIR awards, 2) market opportunity, 3) technology/innovation, and 4) competition. You may contact the program officer via email at any time before the submission deadline. Note, however, that communication with the program officer will become increasingly difficult as the deadline nears.

Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials and Manufacturing (NM)

The Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials and Manufacturing (NM) topic addresses innovations and development of new materials, devices, machines, structures and manufacturing processes for the advancement of the competitive nature and state of the art for U.S. industry. NM includes materials and manufacturing technologies such as electronic materials and processes, high-temperature materials, structural materials, coatings, composites, nanomanufacturing, printing, patterning and lithography, machining, casting, joining, additive manufacturing, self-assembly, and other related research areas.

The NM program seeks to support high-risk, high-payoff innovative technologies with the potential for significant impact on business, consumers, and society, thereby catalyzing new business opportunities for small businesses in today's global marketplace. NSF is committed to supporting scientific discoveries to benefit society and to emphasize private sector commercialization. Novel technologies aimed at achieving increased performance, reduced cost, and/or new functions or applications are of great interest.

Proposals must address one of the subtopics that are outlined below. Proposals that are not responsive to the subtopics outlined below will be returned without review. When submitting a proposal to the NM Topic, code the proposal to the corresponding subtopic under which you are submitting the proposal, e.g., N1 for proposals in the area of "Nanomaterials", AM5 for proposals in the area of "Structural Materials", and M1 for proposals in the area of "Manufacturing Processes". In addition, use the same code as the first item in the key words/phrases portion of the Project Summary of your proposal.

NANOTECHNOLOGY


The Nanotechnology subtopic addresses the creation and use of functional materials, devices, and systems with novel properties and functions that are achieved through the control of matter at a submicroscopic scale (from a fraction of nanometer to about 100 nm). Proposals should be market-driven and identify the end users of the proposed technology, and the proposed pathway to commercialization.

N1. Nanomaterials
(Cognizant Program Officer: Rajesh Mehta; rmehta@nsf.gov)
Material innovations and/or development of novel synthesis, purification, and processing techniques for nanotubes, nanowires, quantum dots, nanoparticles, nanofibers, and other nanomaterials. Refer to the N2 subtopic for innovations related to scale-up manufacturing of existing nanomaterials.

N2. Nanomanufacturing
(Cognizant Program Officer: Rajesh Mehta; rmehta@nsf.gov)
Innovations for manufacturing at the nanoscale, including self-assembly, nanolithography, nanopatterning, nanotexturing, etc. Proposals which seek to develop processes, techniques, and equipment for low-cost, large-scale production of nanomaterials are encouraged.

N3. Nanoelectronics and Active Nanostructures
(Cognizant Program Officer: Rajesh Mehta; rmehta@nsf.gov)
Material innovations to develop new or improved nanoelectronics and active nanostructures. Proposals which utilize the unique properties of nanoscale components and features to enable new functionalities are encouraged.  Nanoelectronics includes, but is not limited to, silicon-based nanoelectronics, molecular electronics, nanosensors, nanospintronics, and hybrid systems. Examples of active nanostructures are nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS), nanomachines, nanoactuators, and molecular machines.

N4. Nanotechnology for Biological and Medical Applications (Cognizant Program Officer: Rajesh Mehta; rmehta@nsf.gov)
Innovations in nanomaterials for biological and medical applications, including synthesis, functionalization and manufacturing of nanomaterials for targeted cancer therapies, localized drug delivery, imaging, bone regeneration, tissue reengineering etc. Refer to the BC topic for nanotech-enabled biomaterials.

N5. Instrumentation for Nanotechnology
(Cognizant Program Officer: Ben Schrag; bschrag@nsf.gov)
Innovations for new and improved characterization methods and instruments to assist in the development and deployment of nanotechnology and its commercial applications. Includes imaging and visualization methods (e.g. scanned probe microscopy and electron microscopy) as well as manipulation techniques (e.g. high-precision positioners and actuators), and chemical and spectroscopic methods.  


ADVANCED MATERIALS


The Advanced Materials subtopic addresses the research and development of new materials and systems that have the potential for revolutionary changes and paradigm shifts in U.S. industry. Proposals should be market-driven and identify the end users of the proposed technology, and the proposed pathway to commercialization.

AM1. Electronic and Magnetic Materials
(Cognizant Program Officer: Ben Schrag; bschrag@nsf.gov)
Material innovations for new functionalities and/or improved performance in electronic and magnetic applications.  Includes conductors, semiconductors, insulators, dielectrics, and magnetic materials for applications in CMOS systems, lithography and printing, flexible electronics, data storage etc.

AM2. Optical and Optoelectronic Materials (Cognizant Program Officer: Ben Schrag; bschrag@nsf.gov)
Material innovations for improved performance in optical and optoelectronic applications.  Includes materials for light-emitting diodes, liquid crystal and other display materials, active optical materials, and materials for optical and radiation detection applications.

AM3. Materials for Energy Applications
(Cognizant Program Office: Rajesh Mehta; rmehta@nsf.gov)
Material and device innovations in batteries, capacitors and supercapacitors. Material innovations for solar energy harvesting, solar electricity generation and transmission. Includes photovoltaic materials, transparent conductive coatings, battery electrode materials etc. Proposals are encouraged which involve novel materials or processes with significant potential to reduce cost and/or improve manufacturability.

AM4. High-temperature Materials
(Cognizant Program Officer: Ben Schrag; bschrag@nsf.gov)
Material innovations to improve the performance and/or allow new functions in high-temperature applications. Includes bulk materials (e.g. superalloys, ceramics, and composites) as well as coatings (e.g. thermal and environmental barrier coatings) which are designed for use in high-temperature environments.

AM5. Structural Materials
(Cognizant Program Officer: Ben Schrag; bschrag@nsf.gov)
Material and process innovations to improve the performance of materials in structural applications, including structural foams and other lightweight materials, structural alloys, structural panels, structural ceramics, and materials related to structural applications, such as adhesives, sealants, fillers, additives, and binders. Refer to the BC topic for synthesis and process development of polymer materials.

AM6. Coatings and Surface Modifications
(Cognizant Program Officer: Rajesh Mehta; rmehta@nsf.gov)
Material and process innovations in surface modifications and coatings. Includes coatings for improved corrosion and wear resistance, surface modifications for specialized applications such as superhydrophobic or biologically/chemically active surfaces, and techniques to improve manufacturability and reduce cost. Refer to the BC topic for anti-microbial coatings.

AM7.  Smart and Specialized Materials
(Cognizant Program Officer: Ben Schrag; bschrag@nsf.gov)
Innovations related to smart materials or materials for specialized applications, including smart materials (e.g. piezoelectric, ferroelectric, thermoelectric, magnetostrictive, or electrochromic materials, shape memory alloys, and ferrofluids), materials for high or low thermal conductivity applications, materials for active device applications, and novel materials for sensor or actuator applications.  

AM8. Materials for Sustainability
(Cognizant Program Officer: Ben Schrag; bschrag@nsf.gov)
Material innovations designed for improved sustainability, mitigating adverse environmental impacts, and/or improved public health.  Proposals are encouraged which involve new processes and techniques that allow new or increased use of recycled, renewable, and/or environmentally-benign materials. New materials intended for water or air purification applications are also encouraged.

MANUFACTURING


The manufacturing subtopic addresses manufacturing innovations that improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the nation's manufacturing sector.  Proposals should be market-driven and identify the end users of the proposed technology, and the proposed pathway to commercialization.

M1. Manufacturing Processes
(Cognizant Program Officer: Rajesh Mehta; rmehta@nsf.gov)
Innovative processes for molding, forging, casting, joining of dissimilar materials, with an emphasis on environmentally-benign manufacturing techniques. Includes new processes and control techniques, such as new hybrid techniques to achieve net shape products and complex multi-scale, multi-functional products with superior quality and performance.

M2. Machines and Equipment
(Cognizant Program Officer: Rajesh Mehta; rmehta@nsf.gov)
Innovations in machine and control system design for applications in the manufacturing and construction industry to improve efficiency and/or reduce cost. Includes the application of sensors and related data to improve throughput, quality and/or performance.

M3. Modeling and Simulation
(Cognizant Program Officer: Rajesh Mehta; rmehta@nsf.gov)
Innovations in modeling and simulation of enterprise operations, manufacturing processes, machines and equipment, including predictive modeling of tooling and machine performance, and discrete event simulation of manufacturing systems.

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