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The FY 2003 Budget Request for the Electrical and Communications Systems Subactivity is $66.70 million, an increase of $1.87 million, or 2.9 percent, over the FY 2002 Current Plan of $64.83 million.

(Millions of Dollars)


FY 2001

FY 2002
Current Plan

FY 2003




Electrical and Communications Systems






Total, ECS






The Electrical and Communications Systems Subactivity (ECS) addresses the fundamental research issues underlying both the device technologies and the engineering systems principles of complex systems and applications. It also seeks to ensure the education of a diverse workforce prepared to support the continued rapid development of these technologies as drivers for the global economy. The research and education supported by ECS are key to developing synergy between micro/nanotechnology, biotechnology, and information technology in support of the emerging new industries and economy of the 21st Century.

The study of microelectronic, nanoelectronic, micromagnetic, photonic, and micro-electromechanical devices - and their integration into circuits and microsystems - is rapidly expanding in technical scope and applications. New generations of integrated microsystems incorporate microchip technology with mechanical, biological, chemical and optical sensors, actuators and signal processing devices to achieve new functionality. Modern computing and communications systems are based on these devices. Trends toward smaller devices raise new research challenges to fabricate molecular based nanoscale structures and understand quantum principles, which dominate their behavior.

Research on the design and analysis of systems and the convergence of control, communications, and computation forms the basis for new research directions in intelligent engineering systems. These systems, which learn new functions and adapt to changing environments, are especially important for advanced applications.

The integration of device research and systems principles has broad applications in telecommunications, integrated sensing systems, wireless networks, power and energy, environment, transportation, biomedicine, manufacturing, and other areas.

ECS also provides support for specialized resources and infrastructure that facilitate research and educational activities, such as the National Nanofabrication Users' Network (NNUN), the Science and Technology Center on Nanobiotechnology at Cornell University and the Major Research Instrumentation program. ECS also actively participates in the development and management of cross-disciplinary programs, including industry-related and graduate traineeship programs and research centers. ECS provides significant support to the Nanoscale Science and Engineering and Information Technology Research priority areas.

ECS holds a number of grantees workshops to assess the results of research and education grants it funds and to encourage interaction among the Principal Investigators. In addition, ECS holds a number of workshops to evaluate and assess the technologies of current and future importance.

Recent achievements of ECS grantees include:

  • The development and manipulation of nanostructures;

  • Nanocontact magnetic random access memory (MRAM);

  • Novel lithographic techniques for molecular sieves on a chip;

  • Micromachined interfaces for bioseparation to filter viruses;

  • Lithographically tuned multiple wavelength photonic crystal laser arrays and cross-section of a photonic crystal waveguide;

  • Broadband channel characterization for tether-free/wireless systems;

  • Sensors on flexible kapton substrates;

  • Remote query environmental sensors; and

  • Nanomems structures for high sensitivity, high frequency measurements.

Innovative advances in new types of sensors, actuators, nonlinear feedback, neural networks, and computer-aided systems engineering design tools are enabling major development of intelligent control systems. The advances in micro- electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) technology have opened new challenges for distributed sensing and control and it has enhanced interdisciplinary research opportunities. Some examples of MEMS based research are: power generation for portable systems and integration of MEMS devices for biological and medical applications. ECS grantees are developing a multi-resolution model of brain for Intelligent EEG, an atomic force microscope with robust control, and system tools for imaging at the nanoscale.

Reallocation within core areas and increases in the request encompass:

  • Nanoscale Science and Engineering research on fundamental principles of electronic and photonic devices, manipulation of nanostructures, and modeling and simulation of new device architectures and systems. Nanodevices and nanosystems will create opportunities for new electronics, biotechnology, bioengineering, and information and communications systems. Increased investments are also planned in support of networks similar to NNUN to address issues regarding the development of new instrumentation for nanoscale research, characterization and nanomanufacturing;

  • Optical and wireless communications and networking devices and systems, emphasizing domain-specific applications in the area of ultra-high speed communications, environment, transportation, telemedicine and crisis management;

  • Sensor, imaging, and power and energy systems and networks, including computational engineering and domain specific computing; and

  • The Mathematical Sciences priority area, to support modeling and control of non-linear systems. New hybrid systems analysis and design tools will be developed for optimization and performance evaluation of distributed dynamical systems. The applications include distributed power networks, scalable modeling of engineering systems, extreme events, manufacturing and distributed networking and computing.
  Last Modified: Sep 17, 2004


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National Science Foundation Summary of FY 2003 Budget Request to Congress NSF Logo