Limited Submission: Scalable Nanomanufacturing (SNM)

03/22/2013, 5:00 PM

To: All Faculty in the Colleges of Natural Science and Engineering;


The following is a limited submission opportunity with only one proposal as lead institution is allowed. If you are interested in this program please email me by March 22.


Scalable Nanomanufacturing (SNM)

Program Description:

This solicitation focuses on five high-risk/high-reward research and education themes, four focusing on nanomanufacturing and the fifth on societal issues associated with continuing advances in nanomanufacturing and the associated increasing use of nanoscale materials, devices and systems. All proposals, regardless of the theme or themes under which they are submitted, should clearly state what roadblocks to scale-up exist and what new approach or approaches will be investigated to overcome those obstacles. The scientific and technical barriers to commercialization, in terms of production rate, throughput, quality, reproducibility, and yield should be addressed in the proposal.

·         Novel Processes and Techniques for Continuous and Scalable Nanomanufacturing. Research on modeling, simulation, and bench-scale experimentation in support of the integration and scale-up of nanomanufacturing processes. Projects identifying specific technological roadblocks and proposing academic-industry research partnerships to overcome them are particularly encouraged. These may include research efforts inspired by promising fabrication approaches and tools recently demonstrated in industry or academia that likely have wider applicability. Examples of such areas include large area production, low-temperature solution-based processing, roll-to-roll processing and the reliable, high-speed, high-resolution on-line metrology, diagnostics, and adaptive (real-time) control capabilities and the process simulation and design methods needed in nanomanufacturing.

·         Directed Self-Assembly Processes for the High-Rate Production of Heterogeneous Nanostructures. Research on creating nanostructures that will self-assemble or can be easily assembled into large-scale nanosystems and systems of such nanosystems. It is anticipated that such systems will comprise discrete elements that are differentiable in composition, structure, dimension, and/or geometry. Processes producing heterogeneous nanostructures by conventional phase separation or multilayer deposition processes are not sought and will not usually meet this requirement.

·         Fundamental Scientific Research in Well-Defined Areas that are Compellingly Justified as Critical Roadblocks to Scale-Up. Key factors in the progression to large-scale nanomanufacturing involve infrastructure investment and standardization, development of metrology and quality monitoring methods, and the scale-up of both emergent and more well-established materials synthesis and processing methods. High production rate, throughput, quality, reproducibility and yield are all required for commercial viability. Some emerging fields of application appear to be particularly well suited for scale-up; however, the progression to commercial scale would be greatly enhanced by having partners with manufacturing expertise on the research team. In more established areas, researchers should clearly state what roadblocks to scale-up exist and what new approach or approaches will be investigated to overcome these obstacles.

·         Principles and Design Methods for Machines and Processes to Manufacture Nanoscale Structures, Devices and Systems. Research is encouraged on design principles, architectures and construction methods for nanoscale measurement and processing machines and systems, including their energy supply and control. Research in this area anticipates machines with integrated or stand-alone capabilities for the nanometer-scale resolution metrology of three-dimensional objects with 10-100 centimeter dimensions, new tools for sensing, assembling, processing, manipulating, manufacturing and integrating across length scales, new sensing modalities and algorithms for controlling and testing nanostructures and devices, and design automation tools for assembling systems of large numbers of heterogeneous nanocomponents. This research should be strongly grounded in fundamental understanding of nanoscale processes and should integrate novel concepts for measurement, high-rate synthesis and processing, scale integration, and scale-up of nanoscale synthesis and processing methods that derive from such understanding.

·         Societal, Environmental and Educational Implications of the Large-Scale Production and Use of Nanomaterials, Devices and Systems. Research proposals submitted in this area are expected to increase understanding, assessment and management of societal change associated with nanoscale science, engineering, and technology. Subjects for examination can include the educational, economic, environmental, social, organizational and ethical changes associated with support for, design of, and results from inventions and innovations in nanomanufacturing. These proposals can focus on any social, behavioral or environmental phenomena, alone or in combination, and should relate to the research emphases and findings. Thus, they should include experts in the relevant social, behavioral, economic and environmental sciences and nanoscale science and engineering. Proposers are encouraged to include enhancements to the relevant science infrastructure, and new or improved software, databases, instrumentation or tools are especially welcome. This theme aims at a long-term vision for addressing societal and ethical implications of nanotechnology with special reference to nanomanufacturing.

Proposals that incorporate elements of more than one theme are welcome. Given NSF's strong focus on developing the infrastructure for nanoscale science and engineering, all proposals should address integration of research and education, including course development appropriate to the nature of the project. Collaborations between research universities and community colleges to provide curricula and research experiences to educate the future nanomanufacturing workforce are particularly encouraged.

NSF does not normally support technical assistance, pilot plant efforts, research requiring security classification, or the development of products for commercial marketing or market research for a particular project or invention. Other research and education projects in nanoscale science and engineering will continue to be supported in the relevant programs divisions and directorates.

Principal Investigators should ensure that their proposed project does not substantially overlap with ongoing federally-funded research. Proposals submitted in response to this solicitation may be shared by NSF with other federal agencies, including (but not limited to) the Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Office of Naval Research, and the Intelligence Community. Reviews, including panel summaries, if applicable, may also be shared. The reasons for sharing these proposals and reviews include potential co-funding as well as avoiding duplication of federal funding for a particular research project. If the PI or awardee organization does not wish the proposal to be shared with a particular federal agency or agencies for funding purposes, they should provide a Single Copy Document with the proposal stating which federal funding agencies should be excluded. No explanations for exclusion are required.

Sponsor Deadline:

June 3, 2013