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NSF Press Release


NSF PR 01-69 - September 19, 2001

Media contact:

 Amber Jones

 (703) 292-8070

Program contact:

 Ulrich Strom

 (703) 292-4938

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Big Plans on a Small Scale: NSF Funds Centers for Nanoscale Research
Will advance information, medical, manufacturing and environmental technologies

Research at the nanoscale is needed to advance the development of the ultra-small technology that will transform electronics, materials, medicine and many other fields. The National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced awards estimated to total $65 million over five years to fund six major centers in nanoscale science and engineering. The awards are part of a series of NSF grants -- totaling $150 million in fiscal year 2001 alone -- for research in multiple disciplines.

The six centers will be located at Columbia and Cornell Universities and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, Harvard University in Massachusetts, Northwestern University in Illinois, and Rice University in Texas.

"With its nanoscale science and engineering initiative, the National Science Foundation is enabling the coming wave of research," said Mihail Roco, head of the NSF initiative and chair of the National Science and Technology Council's subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology. "Each of the six centers has a bold vision for research at the frontiers of science and technology, and together they will provide coherence and a longer term outlook to U.S. nanotechnology research and education."

Nanoscale science, engineering and technology are focused on a scale ranging from the size of individual atoms to that of large molecules. The Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers will develop new areas of research and help establish a nanotechnology workforce. The centers are expected to significantly advance the information, medical, manufacturing and environmental technologies, while other NSF grants will fund small, interdisciplinary research teams and individuals doing exploratory research in a wide range of areas.

The centers will address challenges and opportunities that are too complex and multi-faceted for individual researchers or small teams to tackle in shorter periods of time, Roco said. The centers involve key partnerships with industry, national laboratories and other sectors. They will support education programs from the graduate to the pre-college level designed to develop a highly skilled workforce, advance pre-college training, and to advance the public understanding of science and engineering.


Attachment: NSF Awards for Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers


NSF Awards for Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers



Center for Electronic Transport in Molecular Nanostructures
Columbia University
Director: James Yardley
The center, in collaboration with industrial partners and national laboratories, seeks to develop the understanding of charge transport in molecular structures with potential applications in electronics, photonics, biology, neuroscience and medicine. The educational program engages high school students in collaboration with the City University of New York and mentors undergraduates and graduates through specialized summer and academic year programs.

$10.8 mil/5 yrs

Center for Nanoscale Systems in Information Technologies
Cornell University
Director: Robert Buhrman
The center features research to advance the development of nanoscale electronics, photonics and magnetics with potential impact on high-performance electronics, information storage, communications and sensor technologies. The educational program partners with industry to support a K-12 teachers institute and a nanotechnology teaching laboratory. Graduate-level recruitment and mentoring programs are aimed at members of underrepresented groups.

$11.6 mil/5 yrs

Center for the Science of Nanoscale Systems and their Device Applications
Harvard University
Director: Robert Westervelt
In collaboration with U.S. and foreign academic partners, the center supports an interdisciplinary program exploring the properties of nanostructures for novel electronic and magnetic devices, including potential applications in quantum information processing. Educational programs include outreach to middle school students and teachers and fostering public education in partnership with the Boston Museum of Science.

$10.8 mil/5 yrs

Center for Integrated Nanopatterning and Detection Technologies
Northwestern University
Director: Chad Mirkin
The center will develop nanopatterning capabilities in the 1- to 100-nanometer scale for soft materials, with potential applications in the design of chemical and biological sensors. An engineering component includes collaborations with industrial partners. Educational activities include outreach to high school science teachers and the development of curriculum material for middle and high schools. The center is initiating a Small Business Entrepreneurs Program.

$11.1 mil/5 yrs

Center for Directed Assembly of Nanostructures
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Director: Richard Siegel
The center is a partnership between Rensselaer, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Los Alamos National Laboratory, with additional support from New York State. Its focus is the assembly of nanoscale building blocks, consisting of soft and hard matter, to design materials with important applications as composites, in drug delivery and as sensors. Educational activities feature partnerships with industry and several colleges (Morehouse, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Spelman and Williams) to enhance research opportunities for groups that are underrepresented in science.

$10.0 mil/5 yrs

Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology
Rice University
Director: Richard Smalley
The center's research and outreach program focuses on applications of nanoscience to bioengineering and environmental engineering, with particular emphasis on the theme of integrating biology with nanochemistry. The educational program aims to help identify, recruit, and train a nanoscience workforce, particularly among groups currently underrepresented in the science workforce. A partnership with the Jones Graduate School of Management supports an entrepreneurial education program.

$10.5 mil/5 yrs

Note: The amounts shown are estimated totals over five years.




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