Steve Semancik, NIST

Steve Semancik is a Physicist and Project Leader in the Biomolecular Measurement Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr Semancik received his B.S. degree in Physics from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute, and his Sc.M. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from Brown University. He leads NIST’s research efforts on chemical and biochemical microdevices in a program that has utilized and combined concepts from the fields of surface and interfacial chemistry, solid state physics, nanomaterials science, microelectronics, silicon micromachining (MEMS), electrochemistry, photonics, analytical chemistry, biology and signal processing. Key achievements of these multidisciplinary studies have been the development of application-tunable microsensors for monitoring chemical and biochemical molecules.

Dr. Semancik is a Fellow of both the American Physical Society and the American Vacuum Society, and an author on five U.S. patents relating to sensing materials, devices and concepts. He has published more than 150 papers in the fields of surface, sensor, and nanoscale science, and given 99 invited lectures. He has also served as a Member of the Editorial Boards of Sensors and Actuators B, and Sensor Letters, and is the North and South America Program Chair of the International Meeting on Chemical Sensors.



National Institute of Standards and Technology

Founded in 1901 and now part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is one of the nation's oldest physical science laboratories. Today, NIST measurements support the smallest devices, such as microfluidic tools for cell sorting and nanomaterials integrated into new imaging modalities, to large and complex systems such as earthquake-resistant skyscrapers and global communication networks.  NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology. The agency employs about 3,000 scientists, engineers, technicians, support staff, and administrative personnel at two main locations in Gaithersburg, Md., and Boulder, Colo. NIST also hosts about 2,600 associates and facility users from academia, industry, and other government agencies on its campuses at any given time. The two main locations are augmented by joint institutes with university and other partners in Colorado (JILA), Maryland (Joint Quantum Institute), Illinois (Center for Hierarchical Materials Design), and South Carolina (Hollings Marine Laboratory). 

Nanotechnology-related research conducted in NIST’s laboratories and user facilities (including that connected to sensing) develops measurements, standards, and data crucial to a wide range of industries and Federal agencies, from the development of new measurement and fabrication methods necessary for advanced manufacturing to the development of the reference materials and data necessary to accurately measure key nanomaterial properties needed for the responsible development and use of nanotechnology. NIST further supports the U.S. nanotechnology enterprise through its two user facilities, the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) and the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST). The NCNR provides access to a broad range of world-class neutron scattering tools for characterizing the atomic- and nanometer-scale structure and dynamics of materials. As 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 a particular emphasis on helping industry.

Ongoing projects at NIST related to Thrust 1 of the Sensor Nanotechnology Signature Initiative (Sensor NSI) are focused on detection concepts that utilize nanomaterials for enhanced performance in chemical and biochemical sensing []. Examples include the use of nanocomposites and interfaces with nanoscale patterning for electronic, electrochemical and photonic measurements. A variety of instruments and methodologies are employed in supporting Thrust 2 efforts for developing sensors for nanotechnology and for studying materials factors in the nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety (nanoEHS) arena []. The CNST NanoFab and NanoLab in CNST [] provide facility users with access to equipment and processes for precision fabrication and advanced characterization of nanomaterials that impact a range of Sensor NSI research. In addition, NIST is active in defining smart sensor communication interface standards [ ] for devices to be developed within both thrust areas.