News Releases from the NNI Community
Meetings and Events
Nanotechnology Research and Development Infrastructure
The National Nanotechnology Initiative has a robust research infrastructure with user facilities and multidisciplinary research and education centers across the United States.
Responsible Development of Nanotechnology
As a goal of the NNI since inception, responsible development includes understanding potential environmental, health, and safety (EHS) implications of nanomaterials as well as the ethical, legal, and societal implications (ELSI) of nanotechnology.
NNI agencies are collaborating with industry to facilitate the commercialization of federally funded nanotechnology discoveries.
Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives and Nanotechnology-Inspired Grand Challenges
The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office leads two major efforts to enhance coordination and collaboration among the participating agencies of the National Nanotechnology Initiative and to engage with the public: Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives and Nanotechnology-Enabled Grand Challenges.
Nanotechnology Research and Development Infrastructure
Under the National Nanotechnology Initiative, several participating agencies have built or supported the development of user facilities and have established and developed multidisciplinary research and education centers across the United States.
Responsible Development of Nanotechnology
With the advent of new technologies, including nanotechnology, one should consider both potential benefits and unintended risks to human health and the environment that might accompany development.
Presented by the National Nanotechnology Initiative in conjunction with the Oklahoma Nanotechnology Initiative
This workshop was organized around three themes:
The National Nanotechnology Initiative is held a workshop on nanotechnology-enabled sensing May 5-7, 2009 at the Sheraton National Hotel in Arlington, Virginia.
NIST's mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. Nanotechnology is an important component of NIST’s mission—from leading cutting-edge research to coordinating the development of standards that promote trade, NIST’s programs in nanotechnology directly impact priorities important to the nation’s economy and well-being. http://www.nist.gov/index.html
NIST nanotechnology research develops measurements, standards, and data crucial to a wide range of industries and Federal agencies. NIST labs develop advanced spectroscopic methods needed to increase efficiency in advanced photovoltaics, and the standard reference materials and data necessary to accurately quantify and measure the presence and impact of nanomaterials in the environment. NIST created the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) to help move nanotechnology from the laboratory to the marketplace. The CNST creates the next generation of nanoscale measurement instruments, makes them available through collaboration, and provides rapid access to a world-class, shared-use nanofabrication facility, the NanoFab. NIST’s Technology Innovation Program is investing in the development of transformational technologies necessary to advance the large-scale manufacture of nanomaterials. In coordination with the private sector, NIST provides the technical foundation and leadership to the development of international nanotechnology standards—standards that are a key to opening new markets and facilitating trade and commerce.
The NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) is the Department of Commerce's nanotechnology user facility. The CNST enables innovation by providing rapid access to the tools needed to make and measure nanostructures, with these tools provided to anyone who needs them, both inside and outside NIST, with a particular emphasis on helping industry. Access is provided in two ways. In the NanoFab, researchers can access a commercial state-of-the-art tool set at economical hourly rates, along with help from a dedicated, full-time technical support staff. In the NanoLab, researchers can access the next generation of tools and processes through collaboration with the CNST’s multidisciplinary research staff, who are developing new measurement and fabrication methods in response to national nanotechnology needs.
The mission of the Department of Defense (DoD) is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country. Within DoD the Director, Defense Research and Engineering is responsible for the oversight and advocacy of all research and engineering programs and serves as the Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Defense. This includes responsibility for Science and Technology programs (consisting of Basic Research, Applied Research, and Advanced Technology Development) and Advanced Component Development and Prototypes programs.
DOD considers nanotechnology to have potential to contribute to the warfighting capabilities of the nation. Because of the broad and interdisciplinary nature of nanotechnology, DOD views it as an enabling technology area that should receive the highest level of corporate attention and coordination. These priorities are described in the most recent Department of Defense Research and Engineering Strategy.
Nanotechnology is an enabling technology for the new classes of sensors (such as novel focal plane arrays), communications, and information processing systems needed for qualitative improvements in persistent surveillance. The DOD also invests in nanotechnology for advanced energetic materials, photocatalytic coatings, active microelectronic devices, and a wide array of other promising technologies. The DOD nanotechnology program is based on coordinated planning and federated execution among the military departments and agencies (components) (e.g., the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency). Nanotechnology currently represents a scientifically and technologically advanced research theme that has proven and expected value toward enhancing defense capabilities.
Dr. David M. Stepp, Chief, Materials Science Division, Army Research Office
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, products that emit radiation, and tobacco products.
Nanomaterials often have chemical, physical, or biological properties that are different from those of their larger-scale counterparts. Such differences may include altered magnetic, electrical, or optical properties, structural integrity, and chemical or biological activity. Because of researchers’ ability to engineer such properties, nanoscale materials have great potential for use in a vast array of products, including FDA-regulated products intended to protect and promote public health. Also, because of some of their special properties, nanomaterials may pose different issues for toxicological, safety, and effectiveness assessments. There is a growing need for scientific information and tools to help better predict or detect potential impacts of such changes on human health. FDA nanotechnology investments have focused on enabling the agency to characterize nanotechnology-based products; develop models for safety and efficacy assessment; and study the behavior of nanomaterials in biological systems and their effects on human health.
Formally joining the National Nanotechnology Initiative budget crosscut for the first time in 2011, FDA will conduct activities in environment, health, and safety to support the following agency-wide priorities: (1) laboratory and product testing capacity, (2) scientific staff development and training, and (3) collaborative and interdisciplinary research to address product characterization and safety. Together, these investments will support responsible development of nanotechnology.
Dr. Anil K. Patri
Chair, Nanotechnology Task Force
Director, NCTR-ORA Nanotechnology Core Facility
National Center for Toxicological Research
NASA's mission is to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.
NASA’s efforts in Nanotechnology are focused on developing novel concepts for the Agency’s future needs in electronics, computing, sensors, materials/structures and advanced miniaturization of all systems. The efforts also strive to develop a highly integrated and intelligent simulation environment that facilitates rapid development and validation of future generation intelligent devices and materials.
Recent highlights include: nano-aluminum/ice rocket propellant, ultrasensitive chemical sensors for monitoring trace gases and vapors, nano-structured composites for thermal isolation applications, and smart electroactive materials. The projects include advancing technology readiness levels via, both, ground-based experiments, as well as, flight demonstrations on the Shuttle, the International Space Station and DOD flight opportunities.
Dr. Azlin Biaggi-Labiosa
Manager, Nanotechnology Project, Space Technology Project Office
In support of the DOE mission, the Office of Science (DOE-SC) provides a diverse investment in nanoscience research and development, primarily through grants to researchers at universities, funding for research groups at DOE laboratories, and support of interdisciplinary efforts such as the Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) and two Energy Innovation Hubs—the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) and the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR).
DOE funding spans all eight program component areas of the NNI, with the majority falling into three categories: fundamental phenomena and processes (PCA 1), nanomaterials (PCA 2), and major research facilities and instrumentation acquisition (PCA 6). In the latter category the DOE investment is significantly larger than that of any other agency, due primarily to the operation of five Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRCs), state-of-the-art user facilities for interdisciplinary nanoscale research that are an integral part of DOE’s comprehensive portfolio for nanoscale science and technology. The NSRCs offer access to advanced capabilities, tools, and expertise for design, synthesis, processing, fabrication, analysis and characterization, and theory and modeling of nanoscale materials and are co-located with complementary scientific user facilities for X-ray, neutron, and electron-beam scattering at DOE laboratories across the country. As DOE user facilities, access to the NSRCs is available to all researchers at no cost for non-proprietary work through an external peer merit review process.
Media: John Carter at Brookhaven
USGS provides objective scientific information to: describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect Americans’ quality of life.
USGS nanotechnology research involves the effects of nanoparticles at various levels of biological organization, from the molecular to ecosystem level. Much of USGS nanotechnology research focuses on assessing the occurrence, fate and effects of naturally-occurring and engineered chemical contaminants in the environment. Several programs provide information on nanoparticles or other contaminants, including the Contaminant Biology Program, the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, the National Research Program and the National Water Quality Assessment Program and the Water Resources Research Institutes.
USGS nanotechnology research primarily focuses on water quality, chemical transformation and degradation of nanoparticles, and toxicological effects on flora and fauna of nanoscale titanium dioxide and silver. USGS is testing new approaches to evaluate the toxicity of nanoparticles with metals that are used in consumer products such as zinc oxide in sunscreen or silver nanoparticles in textiles. In water quality, a USGS study examined the effects of nanosilver on the soil microbial community. USGS studies on transformation and environmental fate of engineered nanoparticles build upon a long history of work in chemistry of colloids and other naturally occurring nanoparticles. USGS has found that certain bacteria can form nano-spheres of elemental selenium, nano-scaled Te(0), or nanoscale precipitates of ZnSe and CdSe. Some of these particles have optical properties with potential uses in nano-photonics or as optical limiters to protect the eyes from damage caused from exposure to lasers and other high-energy light. Bacteria produce these nano-materials at room temperature, so nano-synthesis using bacteria may prove to be a “green” approach that eliminates the need for high temperatures and pressures or the use of dangerous chemicals during synthesis. For more information, see Microbial Biogeochemistry of Aquatic Environments.