Good news came yesterday to the Nano/Bio Interface Center at the University of Pennsylvania when it learned it won an $11.5 million grant from the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers of the National Science Foundation.

According to a Penn release, “the grant will support multidisciplinary research at Penn designed to explore and control the function and quantification of molecules, to explore interactions between organic/inorganic interfaces and physical and biological systems.”

The NBIC focuses on biomolecular optoelectronics and molecular motions. The NBIC also has a Nano/Bio Probe Innovation Facility that is developing new instrumentation for nanotechnology research. According to the university, the center has:

  • Performed the first probe of the dielectric function of a single molecular layer;
  • Performed the first simultaneous optical and force imaging of a single ribosome;
  • Designed and synthesized a new family of molecules with extreme optical properties;
  • Created a new hybrid plasmonic nanostructure that increases and tunes photo conductivity for solar cells; and
  • Demonstrated real-time observation of a molecular motor.

“Basic research of this kind will become the technologies that fuel nanoelectronics, medical diagnostic devices, functional organic molecules and inorganic nanostructures that lead to improved catalysts, solar cells and chemical sensor — all made with new families of functional materials ordered on the sub-10 nanometer-length scale,” said Steven Fluharty, vice provost for research at UPenn.

The NBIC emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach and has supported research at many of Penn’s schools, including Engineering and Applied Science, Arts and Sciences, Medicine, Education and the Wharton Business School.