Fifth NSI will accelerate the development of nano-enabled sensors and nanomaterial sensing
The Nanotechnology Signature Initiative (NSI) Nanotechnology for Sensors and Sensors for Nanotechnology: Improving and Protecting Health, Safety, and the Environment is the fifth NSI to be launched by agencies of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). The NNI agencies recognize the considerable potential for nanotechnology to open the door to the development of inexpensive, portable devices that can rapidly detect, identify, and quantify biological and chemical substances. As such, nanosensors are expected to lead to revolutionary applications, including early disease detection that can result in faster treatments and better outcomes, as well as the early and accurate detection of environmental pollutants, contaminants, and even biological or chemical weapons. Due to the diverse nature of these potential applications, nanosensors are expected to impact multiple sectors of the economy, including the healthcare, pharmaceutical, agricultural, food, environmental, consumer products, and defense sectors.
The Nanosensors NSI was announced yesterday by Dr. John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, as a key component of the Administration’s nanotechnology R&D portfolio and strategy for the continued collaborative efforts of the NNI agencies. The NSI coordinates existing and emerging efforts to explore the use of nanotechnology in two thrust areas:
- Using nanotechnology and nanoscale materials to build more sensitive, specific, and adaptable sensors in order to overcome the technical barriers associated with conventional sensors
- Developing new sensors to detect engineered nanomaterials across their life cycles, in order to assess the potential impact on health, safety, and the environment
The NSIs define the shared vision of the participating agencies for accelerating the use of nanoscale science and technology to address national needs through research and innovation. The research thrusts and anticipated outcomes articulated in this NSI align with the research objectives identified in the 2011 NNI Strategic Plan and the 2011 NNI Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Strategy, as well as recommendations by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology to increase interagency coordination efforts and to develop new Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives.