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

Subject Area:
Non-NNI Reports
External Evaluations of the NNI
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 top‐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

Nanoscale materials have been used for over a thousand years. For example, nanoscale gold was used in stained glass in Medieval Europe and nanotubes were found in blades of swords made in Damascus. However, ten centuries passed before high-powered microscopes were invented, allowing us to see things at the nanoscale and begin working with these materials.

Nanotechnology as we now know it began more than 30 years ago, when tools to image and measure at the nanoscale became available. Around the turn of the century, government research managers in the United States and other countries observed that physicists, biologists, chemists, electrical engineers, optical engineers, and materials scientists were working on interconnected, multidisciplinary issues emerging at the nanoscale. In 2000, the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) was created to help these researchers benefit from each other’s insights, accelerate technology development, and foster commercialization across disciplines.

To learn more, see What is Nanotechnology?

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