Arizona State University has been chosen to lead a new National Science Foundation site that will provide a Southwest regional infrastructure to advance nanoscale science, engineering and technology research.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) will provide a total of $81 million over five years to support 16 user facility sites as part of a new National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI). ASU’s site is funded at $800,000 per year for five years.
The NNCI award has been granted to Trevor Thornton, professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, one of the six Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He will be the principal investigator and director of the new Nanotechnology Collaborative Infrastructure Southwest (NCI-SW).
The ASU site, like the other hubs, will help researchers from universities, corporations and government to develop electrical, mechanical and biological systems whose components are smaller than the diameter of a human hair. This nanotechnology may be able to create new materials and devices with a vast range of applications: electronics, biomaterials energy production, or consumer goods.
The NNCI sites will provide researchers access to university facilities with leading-edge fabrication and characterization tools, instrumentation, and expertise within all disciplines of nanoscale science, engineering and technology.
Nanotechnology systems are built at the molecular level of less than 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. To put that scale in perspective, the diameter of a human hair is in the range 50,000 to 75,000 nanometers.
The Nanotechnology Collaborative Infrastructure Southwest
The goals of the NCI-SW site are to build a Southwest regional infrastructure for nanotechnology discovery and innovation, to address societal needs through education and entrepreneurship and to serve as a model site of the NNCI.
Key partners include the Maricopa County Community College District and Science Foundation Arizona.