NNCO Quarterly Newsletter: Spring 2018 Edition



What’s Big in Small Science?

Brought to you by the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO)


Highlight from the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI)

The National Science Foundation-supported NNCI has released a video providing an overview of its mission and capabilities. This video introduces nanotechnology researchers to the user facilities with a wide array of instruments and tools at 16 university sites around the country.

NNCO in the Community

USA Science & Engineering Festival:
The NNCO will be at booth 1237 with hands-on nanotechnology demonstrations developed by NISE Net. Also, meet the 2018 winners of Generation Nano: Superheroes Inspired by Science at the NSF pavilion. They will be explaining the science behind their superheroes' powers.
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Annual Meeting: 
To raise awareness of nanotechnology and the resources available to teach nanotechnology in
K-12 classrooms, the NNCO hosted the NNI booth at the 2018 NSTA conference in Atlanta. Representatives from the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure
and nanoHUB also showcased their resources and the searchable database on nanoHUB. Handouts included Nanooze Magazine and the newly updated NNI Nanotechnology: Big Things from a Tiny World brochure. Teachers were also encouraged to participate in the Teaching Nano and Emerging Technologies Network and learn from the network’s upcoming and archived webinars.
Society of Toxicology Meeting: 
NNCO Director Lisa Friedersdorf highlighted NNI efforts to ensure responsible development of nanotechnology and emphasized ongoing efforts to share information about the advancements in nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety knowledge with the broader scientific community. Continued engagement with experts to identify and raise awareness of the state of the science in this important area will be a priority in the coming months.

Upcoming Events

April 7-8: USA Science & Engineering Festival, Washington, D.C.
May 13-16: TechConnect Nanotech, Anaheim, CA

Spring 2018 Issue

NNCO Director, Lisa E. Friedersdorf, PhD

Director's Corner

For World Water Day, we highlighted ways in which nanotechnology is being used to address some of the critical issues surrounding water. Highlights included an oleo sponge that can help clean up oil spills, a nanoscale catalyst that can transform nitrates into water and air in one step, and nanomaterials that help remove toxic cadmium from freshwater systems. Advanced sensors that utilize nanotechnology are being developed to detect contaminants in water, areas of focus for both the Water and Sensors signature initiatives. Nanotechnology is also being used in cheap point-of-use water filters and in off-the-grid water treatment systems, as the two most recent “Stories from the NNI” podcasts discuss. These are just a few examples of how nanotechnology research is transitioning into applications that solve challenging issues.
Innovative research developments can only address challenging issues if they are able to transition to the marketplace, and fostering the transfer of nanotechnology research into applications and products for commercial and public benefit is a key goal of the NNI. To facilitate this transfer, the NNCO has a number of activities planned. As a follow-up to the Technology Development Pathways: Case Studies from the NNI workshop, a panel discussion at the TechConnect meeting in May, co-located with the SBIR/STTR Spring Innovation Conference, will provide additional case studies illustrating the paths taken by companies to transition their technologies. The discussion will provide an opportunity to share best practices and identify key remaining technical challenges, such as characterization methods required for quality control. An entrepreneurship session is also being planned as part of the Student Leaders Conference, where students that have started emerging technology companies will share their experiences.  
In addition to these events, a community of interest to promote the exchange of information related to nanotechnology entrepreneurship is beginning to form. To kick start the discussion, a webinar later this spring will feature representatives from university-based nanotechnology spin-off companies, along with the key people that provided advice and support along their journeys. These case studies will address the technical challenges the companies faced and highlight specific aspects present in their local ecosystem that made a difference. We welcome you to join the conversation; keep an eye on Nano.gov for more information!