To celebrate the 15-year anniversary of the authorization National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office is rolling out a number of activities to showcase the discoveries enabled by this collaborative effort and the significant impacts these discoveries are having on society. This celebration is also looking at what lies ahead and how previous and ongoing nanotechnology research u

* See below for credit and descriptions

nder the NNI forms the foundation for future developments that benefit society, enhance national security, and provide economic growth and create jobs.

The activities planned by NNCO to celebrate the 15-year anniversary of the authorization of the NNI include:

  • Special anniversary episodes of “Stories from the NNI” podcast series. (see more below)

Experts from academia, government, and industry share their perspectives on key research and development advances in nanotechnology. They also discuss how the NNI has changed the nanotechnology landscape.

This panel will engage prominent experts to highlight recent nanotechnology advances, and perhaps more importantly, the future opportunities, challenges, and societal impact nanoscience and technology has in store for us all.

To celebrate the authorization of the NNI, special anniversary episodes of the Stories from the NNI podcast series will share the perspectives of experts from academia, government, and industry on key research and development advances in nanotechnology and how the NNI has changed the nanotechnology landscape. These experts will share their thoughts on emerging applications and research questions at the expanding boundaries of nanotechnology. The series will also highlight what has been learned about the potential environmental, health, and safety implications of nanomaterials, as well as the safe handling procedures that have been developed.
The inaugural podcast is a conversation between Dr. Lisa Friedersdorf, Director of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, and Dr. Tarek Fadel, Assistant Director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. Lisa and Tarek discuss the NNI’s impact on the nanotechnology research and development landscape, take stock of compelling research advances enabled by the NNI, and share the areas of nanotechnology that excite them the most.
And keep an eye out for new podcasts every Monday!

Tina Brower-Thomas (Center for Integrated Quantum Materials at Howard University) – July 22, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf speaks with Dr. Tina Brower-Thomas, Executive Director of the Center for Integrated Quantum Materials at Howard University, about the importance of user facilities and cutting-edge tools in nanotechnology and quantum research, the work that CIQM is doing to increase diversity in STEM, and the importance of raising awareness of STEM opportunities among young people so they can make informed career decisions.

Bob Ehrmann (Penn State University’s Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization) – July 15, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf speaks with Bob Ehrmann, Managing Director at Penn State University’s Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization, about the work that is being done in nanotechnology workforce development and nanotechnology education.

Bill Wilson (Center for Nanoscale Systems at Harvard University) – July 8, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf speaks with Professor Bill Wilson, Executive Director of the Center for Nanoscale Systems at Harvard University, about the importance of working across disciplines, the critical role of facilities and equipment enabled by the NNI to pursue research in nanotechnology,  and the benefits that CNS provides to the research community and industry.

Christina Lomasney (Modumental Inc.) – July 1, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf speaks with Christina Lomasney, CEO and President of Modumetal Inc., about the electrochemical process her company has developed to produce corrosion-resistant nanolaminated alloys, the company’s comprehensive approach to protecting its intellectual property portfolio, and the significant role user facilities and government funding have played in enabling experts at her company to characterize materials with high-end equipment.

Jeff Neaton (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Molecular Foundry) – June 24, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf speaks with Dr. Jeff Neaton, Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Molecular Foundry, about the convergence of theory and experiment in nanoscience, the computational tools that are available at the Molecular Foundry, and where he sees nanotechnology making an impact on world challenges.

Dan Herr (Joint School for Nanoscience and Nanoengineering) – June 17, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf speaks with Dan Herr, Professor & Nanoscience Department Chair at the Joint School for Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, about his personal nanotechnology journey, his experience in the semiconductor industry, and his recent work on biomimetic materials and bioinspired systems and processes.

Jason White (Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station) – June 10, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf speaks with Dr. Jason White, Vice Director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, about his work at the intersection of nanotechnology and agriculture, including the potential for nanoscience to improve the efficiency of crop production.

Vince Caprio (NanoBCA) – June 3, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf speaks with Vince Caprio, Founder and Executive Director of the NanoBusiness Commercialization Association (NanoBCA), about his memories of the early establishment of the NNI, his thoughts on major advances in nanotechnology for the past 15 years, and NanoBCA’s role in advocating for the NNI and enabling a better understanding and appreciation of nanotechnology by legislators and the Federal and State governments.

Kurt Kolasinski (West Chester University) – May 27, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf speaks with Kurt Kolasinski, Professor of Chemistry at West Chester University, about using self-limiting chemistry to form porous silicon nanoparticles and nanostructured silicon materials, key research advances enabled by nanotechnology - such as the development of better catalysts, novel 2D materials, and faster computer memory devices - and future challenges that nanotechnology will help to solve in the future.

Celia Merzbacher (Quantum Economic Development Consortium) – May 20, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf speaks with Dr. Celia Merzbacher, Associate Director of the Quantum Economic Development Consortium, about the connection between nanotechnology and quantum information science and technology, the role of nanotechnology in enabling multidisciplinary research, and the impact of nanotechnology on the private sector.

Sean Hearne (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) – May 13, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf speaks with Dr. Sean Hearne, Director of the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, about the unique role of nanotechnology user facilities in enabling key research advances in electronic miniaturization, energy storage, the conversion of carbon dioxide into fuel, and biomimicry. Dr. Hearne also highlights the critical role played by these facilities in allowing scientists from different disciplines to work together to address major societal challenges.

Michelle Bradbury (Cornell University) – May 6, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf speaks with Dr. Michelle Bradbury, Professor of Radiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering and Weill Cornell Medical College at Cornell University, about the progress being made in developing nanoparticle-based imaging agents and their potential in enhancing the diagnosis of diseases and the treatment of patients. Dr. Bradbury also discusses the importance of collaborating with teams of scientists and engineers from different disciplines to make advances move faster and to facilitate the commercialization of products.

Mark Reed (Yale University) – April 29, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf speaks with Dr. Mark Reed, Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Yale University, about the significant impact that nanotechnology has been having in many areas, including electronics, energy, and the environment. Dr. Reed also discusses the importance of the national user facilities that have been enabled by the NNI to make high-end instrumentation available to scientists across the world and describes the critical role nanotechnology is currently playing in the field of quantum information science.

Mark Shaw (UltraTech International, Inc.) – April 22, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf speaks with Mark Shaw, CEO of UltraTech International, Inc., about the materials his company is developing that use nanotechnology, including a superhydrophobic coating that repels liquids. Mark also shares his experience taking an invention to the marketplace, discusses his company’s efforts in nanotechnology education, and describes how the NNI has been fostering the transfer of new nanotechnologies into commercial products.

Mike Meador (NASA) – April 15, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf speaks with Dr. Mike Meador, Program Element Manager for Lightweight Materials and Manufacturing for NASA’s Game Changing Technologies Program about the exciting nanotechnology research currently happening at NASA and nanotechnology developments that have taken place at NASA over the past 15 years.

Jennifer Miller (UCSD) – April 8, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf talks to Jennifer Miller, an undergraduate Nanoengineering and Materials Science student at UCSD, about getting started in nanotechnology, capitalizing on opportunities, and building transferable skills for your career while in college.

Mark Tuominen (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) – April 1, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf speaks with Professor Mark Tuominen, of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, about the path nanotechnology R&D has taken, the many commercial applications of nanotechnology, and the challenges that nanotechnology will likely address in the future.

Miguel Galvez (NBD Nano) – March 24, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf talks to Miguel Galvez, CEO of NBD Nano, about his company, their story, and his advice to future entrepreneurs.

Chuck Geraci National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) – March 18, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf talks to Dr. Chuck Geraci, Associate Director for Emerging Technologies at National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) about how NIOSH works with industry to ensure workplace safety, the progress that has been made in nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety research over the last 15 years, and areas where nanotechnology can help solve problems in the future.

Marcie Black (Advanced Silicon Group) – March 11, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf talks to Dr. Marcie Black, CEO and Co-founder of Advanced Silicon Group, about the promise of nanotechnology to solve the world’s problems, Marcie’s experience developing her technology, and her thoughts on the NNI.

Martin Ben-Dayan (MetaShield) – March 4, 2019

Dr. Friedersdorf talks to Martin Ben-Dayan, co-founder and CEO of MetaShield, about his company, the promise of innovative products that use nanoparticles and functional materials, and the challenges start-ups face. 

Pedro Alvarez (Rice University) – Feb. 25, 2019

Professor Pedro Alvarez and Dr. Friedersdorf discuss the use of nanotechnology in water applications, exciting results, and Pedro’s thoughts on the NNI’s contributions during the past 15 years.


What advances in nanotechnology over the past 15 years excite you the most? We welcome your thoughts and encourage you to join the conversation. Contact us at 15NNI@nnco.nano.gov.
On December 3, 2003, the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act authorizing the NNI was signed into law. The NNI is a U.S. Government research and development (R&D) initiative that consists of the individual and cooperative nanotechnology-related activities of 20 Federal departments and independent agencies with a range of research and regulatory roles and responsibilities. These Federal agencies work collectively toward four primary goals: 1) advance a world-class nanotechnology research and development program; 2) foster the transfer of new technologies into products for commercial and public benefit; 3) develop and sustain educational resources, a skilled workforce, and a dynamic infrastructure and toolset to advance nanotechnology; and 4) support responsible development of nanotechnology.
Over the past 15 years, the NNI has continuously evolved and adapted based on national and agency priorities, scientific advances, the needs of the community, and guidance from its two advisory bodies, the National Academies and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). While the impacts of NNI research and development efforts are already seen in areas as diverse as consumer electronics, medicine, transportation and infrastructure, water purification, energy, aerospace, apparel and textiles, sporting goods, and agriculture and food safety, researchers continue to create new knowledge and make discoveries that will impact applications into the future.
* From top left, clockwise: 3D atomic composition of an iron-platinum nanoparticle (Credit: Colin Ophus and Florian Niekiel, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab); Superfast computers with vast amounts of storage (Credit: IBM); Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have developed the Oleo Sponge, a material that effectively adsorbs oil from both on and below the surface of water (Credit: Mark Lopez/Argonne National Laboratory); Students participating in the Student Leaders Conference 2018 (Credit: Quinn Spadola); Graphene-based wearable sensors for plants enable measurements of water use in crops (Credit: Liang Dong); "Stories from the NNI" graphical representation (Credit: Mallory Hinks); Artificial cartilage combines a network of durable Kevlar nanofibers with a polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel (Credit: Joseph Xu, University of Michigan).