The National Nanomanufacturing Network is an open network for collaboration and information exchange among the nanomanufacturing research, development and education community.
Over the last several years, the federal government, through the National Nanotechnology Initiative, has made strategic research funding investments to spark innovations in nanotechnology. This has resulted in a growing portfolio of laboratory discoveries that promise new applications with tremendous societal benefit. To realize this potential, however, these proof-of-concept scientific advancements must make their way into factories. To do so is no easy feat. Nonetheless, the projected economic and societal gains, deriving from the advanced nanomaterials properties, are a strong driver to invest the necessary time, money and human effort.
Historically, most product manufacturing technologies advance in an evolutionary fashion where small modifications are relatively easy to implement. In contrast, nanomanufacturing technologies are frequently disruptive, quantum leaps that take considerably more effort to adopt. For a potential nanomanufacturing process to fit in the product manufacturing value chain it must be developed to become compatible with complementary manufacturing steps. Moreover, the product performance must be assured, an adequate return on investment is required, the supporting manufacturing equipment and trained technical worker must be available, and safety to workers and consumers is essential. Meeting these requirements requires cooperation among stakeholders in academia, industry and government.
The National Nanomanufacturing Network
The National Nanomanufacturing Network (NNN) is an alliance of academic, government and industry partners that cooperate to advance nanomanufacturing strength in the U.S. The NNN conducts strategic workshops and other activities to build communities of practice in nanomanufacturing. The NNN is also building an open source information clearinghouse, InterNano, to provide vital information to nanomanufacturing community. The NNN is funded by the National Science Foundation.
The National Science Foundation currently funds four Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers (NSECs) that focus specifically on nanomanufacturing issues. These centers have a mission to advance new nanomanufacturing methods and provide education to create a nanomanufacturing workforce. The nanomanufacturing NSECs form an essential core of the NNN.
The Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing (CHM) based at the University of Massachusetts Amherst develops methods of guided self assembly, nanoimprint lithography and chemical functionalization methods to create manufacturing processes for applications in nanoelectronics and biotechnology. James Watkins directs the CHM. The CHM also serves to coordinate the NNN, with Mark Tuominen as NNN director. CHM academic partners include Mount Holyoke College, University of Puerto Rico Rio Pedras, Springfield Technical Community College and SUNY Binghamton. www.umass.edu/chm
The Center for Nanoscale Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manufacturing Systems (Nano-CEMMS) based at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign develops nanomanufacturing methods based on molecular gate-based printing, electrohydrodynamic writing, electrochemical patterning and others. The Nano-CEMMS center is directed by Placid Ferriera. Academic partners include CalTech and North Carolina A&T. www.nano-cemms.uiuc.edu
The Center for High Rate Nanomanufacturing (CHN) based at Northeastern University is focused on developing tools and processes that enable high-rate/high-volume bottom-up, precise, parallel assembly of nanoelements and polymer nanostructures. Ahmed Busnaina is the CHN director. CHN academic partners include UMass Lowell and University of New Hampshire. www.nano.neu.edu
The Center for Scalable and Integrated Nanomanufacturing (SINAM) based at UC Berkeley addresses develops methods for lithography below 20 nm and fabrication of 3D complex nanostructures. SINAM is directed by Xiang Zhang. Academic partners include UCLA, UCSD, Stanford and UNC Charlotte. www.sinam.org
The NNN also includes participation from other NSF research centers and from other federal agencies such as the National Institute for Standards and Technology, Department of Defense, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health, and other organizations. An open invitation for participation is extended to potential partners.
Inquiries regarding the NNN should be directed to Mark Tuominen, Director of the NNN. firstname.lastname@example.org. (Phone: 413-545-1944). Inquries regarding InterNano should be directed to Jessica Adamick, InterNano Science Librarian, jessica @internano.org.