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News Tip


March 19, 2002

REMINDER:  Today’s nanotechnology symposium will be webcast from 9 a.m.-10:00 a.m. and 3:45-5:30 p.m.
See: http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/priority/nano/nano_live.htm
For more information, see: http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/02/ma0218.htm

Nanoscale Science and Engineering: A Priority Investment for NSF

For more information on these science news and feature story tips, please contact the public information officer at the end of each item at (703) 292-8070. Editor: Josh Chamot

 The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports nanoscale science and engineering research as one of its six agency-wide priority areas that address major scientific and technological challenges across multiple disciplines.  This year, NSF is devoting nearly $200 million to nanoscale research; the NSF FY 2003 Budget Request proposes an increase to $221 million (11.3%). NSF currently funds more than 1000 active grant awards for nanotechnology.  The following individual and team research projects are just a few that showcase the diverse range of nanotechnology projects NSF supports.  (For guidance on how to search NSF nanotechnology projects online, see bottom.) 

Researchers Use Nanowires to Detect Explosives

Researchers at the University of California at San Diego have developed a silicon polymer nanowire that can identify trace amounts of explosives, such as TNT and picric acid, in both air and water.  The fibers, which can be incorporated into materials ranging from paper to paints, reveal the presence of chemical residues when viewed in ultraviolet light.  NSF Award 9900034

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Nanoscale Composite Material May Aid Bone Repair

Researchers at Northwestern University have used nanoscale self-assembly to create a composite material that is very similar to bone.  In addition to future medical applications, the material may have applications for nerve repair, nanoelectric wires, and high-strength materials. NSF Awards 9996253, 9972048, 0108342

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Nanoscale Electronics May be Crafted Using Biological Assembly

Building upon their earlier work demonstrating that peptides and proteins can guide the interconnection of semiconductor materials, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are developing hybrid biological - semiconductor materials. Integrating quantum dot technology and complex nanoscale materials, the eventual products may impact biomedicine and electronics.  NSF Awards 9986563, 0103473

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Researchers to Determine Behavior of Fluids in Carbon Nanotubes

Carbon nanotubes have diameters that measure in nanometers. Researchers at Drexel University and the University of Illinois at Chicago are attempting to resolve the fundamental properties of fluids as they interact with carbon nanotubes.  The findings will help engineers develop the next generation of ink jets, biochips, and other nanofluidic devices.  NSF Awards 0084272, 0196006

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Nanoscale Film Serves as Molecular Filter

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a thin-film material with nanoscale cavities that acts as a molecular gatekeeper.  In solution, the film can also play a role in chemically transforming molecules.  Potential applications include nanosensors for environmental contaminants and compounds that reveal biological processes, such as neurotransmitters and acetone; vehicles for selective drug delivery; catalysts for synthesizing specialized chemicals; and new types of photoenergy converters. NSF Award 9811334

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Researchers Developing Novel Method to Synthesize Semiconductor Nanowires

A multidisciplinary team from Pennsylvania State University is developing a method to synthesize nanowires comprised of a single crystal semiconductor sandwiched between metal contacts. In addition to engineering the devices, the study will explore how changes in nanowire dimensions affect fundamental electrical properties.  The project also incorporates an extensive educational sandwiched between metal contacts.  In addition to engineering the devices, the study will explore how changes in nanowire dimensions affect fundamental electrical properties. The project also incorporates an extensive educational component, including the development of K-12 education and outreach activities.  NSF Award 0103068

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Nanoscale Polymer Yields Extremely Slick Coating

Chemical engineers at North Carolina State University have developed a technique to group molecules so tightly that they form a slick surface.  The material may have a variety of applications, including non-stick cookware, computer disk drives, airplane surface coatings, and medical implants.  NSF Award 9875256

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Nanogeoscience: Earth Processes to be Investigated on the Nanoscale

A variety of environmental contaminants, from mine wastes to industrial chemical spills, may interact differently with nanoscale earth materials than they do with macroscale materials.  Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley will study the interactions of ions and metal oxide nanocrystals.  The studies may reveal how some contaminants might become sequestered in the environment.  NSF Award 0123967

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DNA Molecules to be Used to Construct Nanoscale Devices

The unique properties of DNA molecules allow them to be crafted into intricate nanostructures.  A team of researchers from New York University, the California Institute of Technology, and Dow Chemical are attempting to create operational DNA-based nanomachines.  NSF Award 0103002

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For information related to "Small Wonders," the March 19, 2002 NSF symposium on nanotechnology, see: http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/priority/nano/start.htm

For listings of NSF nanotech research solicitations and awards, see: http://www.nsf.gov/home/crssprgm/nano/solicitations.htm and http://www.nsf.gov/nano

To search by award number for specific information on research projects and institutions that have been awarded NSF grants, see: https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a6/A6Start.htm

Nanotechnology Media Contact: Amber Jones (703) 292-8070/aljones@nsf.gov



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