PCAST: Report to the President and Congress on the Fifth Assessment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (2014)

Subject Area:
External Evaluations of the NNI
Non-NNI Reports
Author: Executive Office of the President; President's Council of Advisors of Science and Technology (PCAST)
Publication Date: Oct. 10 2014

Description:

The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) is a crosscutting national vision for nanotechnology development in the United States. The Federal effort in nanotechnology coordinates U.S. investment in research and development (R&D) in nanoscale science, engineering, technology, and related activities across the U.S. Government. In FY2014, even though five agencies garnered 93 percent of the Federal spending in nanotechnology R&D, 27 agency units from 20 topā€level Federal entities participated in nanotechnology activities. The 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act of 2003 calls for a National Nanotechnology Advisory Panel to review the NNI periodically. Designated in 2004 to be that panel, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) has reviewed the NNI five times, and this report is the third of this Administration’s PCAST.  


Nanotechnology Fact

Exciting new nanotechnology-based medicines are now in clinical trials, which may be available soon to treat patients. Some use nanoparticles to deliver toxic anti-cancer drugs targeted directly to tumors, minimizing drug damage to other parts of the body. Others help medical imaging tools, like MRIs and CAT scans, work better and more safely. Nanotechnology is helping scientists make our homes, cars, and businesses more energy-efficient through new fuel cells, batteries, and solar panels. It is also helping to find ways to purify drinking water and to detect and clean up environmental waste and damage.

Nanomaterials are being tested for use in food packaging to greatly improve shelf life and safety. Nanosensors to detect food-borne pathogens are also being developed for food packaging. New nanomaterials will be stronger, lighter, and more durable than the materials we use today in buildings, bridges, automobiles, and more. Scientists have experimented with nanomaterials that bend light in unique ways that may enable the development of an “invisibility cloak.” The possibilities seem limitless, and the future of nanotechnology holds great potential. For more information, see Benefits and Applications.

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