NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION ACTIVITIES IN NANOTECHNOLOGY

NSF OVERVIEW

Dr. M.C. Roco, National Science Foundation
Coordinator of the Nanotechnology Group

Previous NSF activities in nanotechnology have originated in the disciplinary programs throughout the Foundation, and also result from several relevant interdisciplinary initiatives:

A broad spectrum of individual or small-group projects in the areas of materials, chemistry, physics, electrical and chemical engineering, biosciences and bioengineering, computer science, and manufacturing have received support in the area of NT by competing in the disciplinary programs of the NSF Directorates for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), Engineering (ENG), Biosciences (BIO), and Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering (CISE). The 1997-8 level of NSF investment in nanotechnology research totals approximately $65 million, of which about $41 million is spent in MPS and about $20 million in ENG, with relatively lower expenditures in BIO and CISE.

Several NSF-supported centers in engineering (e.g., the Engineering Research Center on Microelectronics at the University of Illinois) and materials research (e.g., the Material Research Science and Engineering Center at Brown University) have plans targeted at nanosciences and nanotechnology. More detailed information concerning NSF NT activities can be found in the outlines of the NSF areas of support given in the following sections.

High-risk/high-gain research is sought in all aspects of nanosciences and nanotechnology. The "building-up" approach -- from molecular and particle levels to nanostructured materials, nanocomponents, and nanodevices -- is preferred. In order to succeed, this activity will require an interdisciplinary research and education endeavor. It is expected that the NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) will be also involved. The fundamental research opportunities may be grouped as follows:

Previous NSF Activities in
Nanoparticles/Nanostructures


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Published: January 1998; WTEC Hyper-Librarian