PCAST: Report to the President and Congress on the Fourth Assessment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (2012)

Subject Area:
External Evaluations of the NNI
Author: Executive Office of the President; President's Council of Advisors of Science and Technology (PCAST)
Publication Date: Apr. 27 2012

Description:

The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) is a crosscutting Federal program designed to coordinate U.S. investment in research and development (R&D) activities in nanoscale science, engineering, technology, and related efforts across 25 agencies and programs. This is the fourth review of the NNI by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) since the council was designated in 2004 as the National Nanotechnology Advisory Panel tasked with reviewing the initiative.

The Federal Government has proposed $1.8 billion of funding in fiscal year (FY) 2013 for 15 agencies with budgets dedicated to nanotechnology research and development. The FY 2013 request will represent total funding of $18 billion over the life of the Initiative. Nearly 75 percent of this funding goes to three Program Component Areas: Fundamental Nanoscale Phenomena and Processes, Nanomaterials, and Nanoscale Devices and Systems. The NNI continues to support a strong and growing portfolio of research on the societal implications of nanotechnology, nanotechnology education, and public outreach. The President’s 2013 budget includes a total of $306 million—a 24-percent increase compared to 2011 actual spending—for three Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives: Nanotechnology for Solar Energy Collection and Conversion; Sustainable Nanomanufacturing: Creating the Industries of the Future; and Nanoelectronics for 2020 and Beyond. These initiatives foster meaningful interagency collaboration and serve as springboards for the rapid advancement of nanoscience and technology toward commercialization.


Nanotechnology Fact

Nanotechnology encompasses science, engineering, and technology at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers. Just how small is that? A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. For reference, a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick. Nanoscale matter can behave differently than the same bulk material. For example, a material’s melting point, color, strength, chemical reactivity, and more may change at the nanoscale.

Researchers seeking to understand the fundamentals of properties at the nanoscale may call their work nanoscience; those focused on effective use of the properties may call their work nanoengineering. Encompassing nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, nanotechnology involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter at the nanoscale.

Learn more in the Nano 101 section.

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