NIST waded through over 100 proposals over the past few months and has now approved proposals and funding for five new scientific research facilities, including two that will concentrate on nano technologies The institute will give a total of $50 million for centers that will construct new labs or expand on existing ones. Each sponsoring institution is matching the NIST dollars with at least 20 percent of the annual project costs.
The facility research centers, locations and funding are as follows:
- Center of Excellence in Nano Mechanical Science & Engineering (nanoscale engineering and science) University of Michigan; $9.5 million of $41.2 million construction budget, to open Summer 2013.
- Western Institute of Nanotechnology on Green Engineering and Metrology (micro- and nanotechnology for advanced energy applications), UCLA; $6 million of $30 million construction budget, to open Spring 2014.
- Golisano Institute for Sustainability Research Building (green-building research), Rochester Institute of Technology, N.Y; $13.1 million of $35 million construction budget, to open Fall 2012.
- Center for Civil Engineering Earthquake Research (earthquake simulation), University of Nevada, Reno; $12.2 million of $15.3 million expansion budget, to open Fall 2013.
- Center for Ocean Health (role of microbial life in marine ecosystems), Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences,West Boothbay Harbor, Maine; $9.1 million of $11.4 million construction budget, to open Summer 2012.
Michigan’s 63,000 square-feet nano center will focus on several areas including the dynamics of DNA molecules, nanoscale energy conversion, nanomanufacturing and nano/micro electromechanical systems) for medical research and diagnostics. It will also house eight special ultra-low vibration specialized laboratory chambers designed to meet NIST specifications for vibration, air quality, temperature and humidity control. It also plans to have lab dedicated to imaging and optics; biosystems; nanoengineering; micro-bioengineering; materials, mechanics and mechanical testing; microdynamics and nanostructures. Planned research projects for the new facility range from the analysis of single biomolecules to metrology of nanoparticle-based composites to precision nanomanufacturing and assembly.
The UCLA WIN-GEM center is supposed to focus on “low-dissipation, nonvolatile electronics. One of the particular angles mentioned are low-cost, high-yield, energy-efficient nanoscale semiconductor manufacturing. The facility will also serve as one of DOE’s Energy Frontiers Research Centers that will look at polymer-based solar cells, electrochemical supercapacitors for energy storage and carbon capture. There is supposed to be 35,000 square feet of labs, plus separate facilities for a quantum metrology, microscopy, electron and spintronic transport, and a wet chemistry energy/nano lab.
NIST announced this Construction Grant Program in February. The five winners were selected based on scientific and technical merit of the proposed use of the facility and the need for federal funding; quality of the design of the facility; and adequacy of the construction project management plan.