Nanotechnology Collaborate Infrastructure Southwest


ASU chosen to lead one of 16 NSF funded national nanotechnology sites

Arizona State University has been chosen to lead a new National Science Foundation (NSF) site that will provide a Southwest regional infrastructure to advance nanoscale science, engineering and technology research. The new program includes the Solar Power Lab.

The NNCI sites will provide researchers from academia, small and large companies, and government labs with access to university user facilities with leading-edge fabrication and characterization tools, instrumentation, and expertise within all disciplines of nanoscale science, engineering and technology.

Nanotechnology deals with the design and manufacture of electrical, mechanical and biological systems built at the molecular level of less than 100 nanometers

A nanometer is one billionth of a meter. To put that scale in perspective, the diameter of a human hair is in the range 50,000 to 75,000 nanometers. Nanotechnology may be able to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in medicine, electronics, biomaterials energy production, and consumer products.

The Nanotechnology Collaborate Infrastructure Southwest (NCI-SW)

The NNCI award has been granted to Trevor Thornton, professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering. He will be the principal investigator and director of the new Nanotechnology Collaborative Infrastructure Southwest (NCI-SW). along with co-principal investigators Stuart Bowden, co-director of the Solar Power Lab abd associate research professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering; Jenefer Husman, associate professor in the Sanford School; and Jameson Wetmore, associate professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes, and School of Human Evolution & Social Change.

“NSF’s long-standing investments in nanotechnology infrastructure have helped the research community to make great progress by making research facilities available,” said Pramod Khargonekar, the NSF’s assistant director for engineering. “NNCI will serve as a nationwide backbone for nanoscale research, which will lead to continuing innovations and economic and societal benefits.”

According to Thornton, ASU has a well-established nanotechnology infrastructure, with faculty strengths that transcend disciplines.

“This gave us a competitive advantage in being chosen for this award,” he said. “We also successfully directed the NSF predecessor to the NNCI centers, a NNIN site—ASU Nanofab—that wrapped up 6 years of funding at the end of August. The NNCI allows us to expand our offerings and outreach in a big way.”

The NCI-SW site will encompass six collaborative research facilities: the ASU NanoFab, the LeRoy Eyring Center for Solid State Science, the Flexible Electronics and Display Center (FEDC), the Peptide Array Core Facility, the Solar Power Laboratory (SPL), and the User Facility for the Social and Ethical Implications of Nanotechnology.

The NCI-SW increases the reach of the Solar Power Laboratory to the broader research community. 'We have had the ability to do outside research work for sometime' said SPL co-Dorector Stuart Bowden. "This new initiative provides us with the ability to be responsive to industry in areas of nanotechnology. The staff support provided by the grant will greatly speed our turn around time."