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SRC, NIST Introduce Second Phase of Nanoelectronics Research Initiative with $5 Million in Annual Funding to Develop Post-CMOS Electronics

Written by: 
Chad Boutin, NIST

NRI Second Phase Features Multi-University Network Focused on Research Centers at SUNY's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Texas at Austin

GAITHERSBURG, Md. – The Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today announced the second phase of the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI). For this phase, the SRC and NIST will provide a combined $5 million in annual funding for three multi-university research centers tasked with demonstrating, over the course of the next 10 years and beyond, a number of nonconventional, low-energy technologies that outperform current devices on critical applications.

The second phase of the NRI also features joint projects with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the multi-university research network, which involves 34 universities in 17 states. The three research centers are:

  • the Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery and Exploration (INDEX) at SUNY's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE);
  • the Center for Nanoferroic Devices (CNFD) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and
  • the South West Academy of Nanoelectronics (SWAN) at the University of Texas at Austin.

"In 2012, the first phase of the NRI culminated with a comprehensive assessment of the various NRI device concepts through performance benchmarking," said Tom Theis, the new SRC program executive director. "NRI 2.0 will focus on key research opportunities identified in the benchmarking study and will explore the ultimate scalability of emerging digital device concepts and their functionality beyond digital logic. For example, researchers will explore magnetoelectric devices that promise improved energy efficiency and the ability to combine memory and logic."

NIST will provide $2.6 million to the effort each year for up to five years, matched by $2.4 million each year from the NRI. The NRI is made up of participants from the semiconductor industry, including GLOBALFOUNDRIES, IBM, Intel, Micron Technology and Texas Instruments.

"NIST collaborations with the NRI are one of the fastest ways to move pre-competitive technology forward," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Director of NIST Patrick Gallagher. "We're excited to see what innovative nanoelectronic devices and concepts the next phase of this partnership with SRC will produce."

Thin-film deposition equipment at the Brookhaven Center for Functional Nanomaterials Nanofabrication Facility. Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory
Thin-film deposition equipment at the Brookhaven Center for Functional Nanomaterials Nanofabrication Facility. Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory
Additional universities involved in the NRI network include:

  • INDEX at SUNY's CNSE:Purdue University, University of Virginia, Cornell University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Columbia University.
  • CNFD at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln: the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Oakland University, SUNY Buffalo, University of California (UC)-Irvine, and the University of Delaware.
  • SWAN at the University of Texas (UT)- Austin: UT Dallas, North Carolina State University, Texas A&M University, UC San Diego, Stanford University, and Harvard University.

In collaboration with the NSF, the NRI also supports Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Teams (NIRTs) as part of the National Nanotechnology Initiative's Signature Initiative "Nanoelectronics for Beyond 2020." Funding for these projects flows to many other leading U.S. universities.

NRI 2.0 is the successor to an earlier multiyear collaboration between NRI and NIST that focused on the long-term goal of "developing the next logic switch," or the basic logic elements that serve as the building blocks of electronic devices. The NRI initiative was originally launched by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) in 2005. The NRI and the collaboration with NIST are managed by the Nanoelectronics Research Corporation (NERC), a special-purpose subsidiary of the SRC, the world's leading university-research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies.

The Nanoelectronics Research Initiative is one of three research program entities of the SRC aimed at extending the frontiers of semiconductor electronics. For more information on the NRI, visit

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. To learn more about NIST, visit

Source: NIST