Scalable Nanomanufacturing (SNM)

04/08/2014, 5:00 PM

The following is a limited submission opportunity with only one proposal as lead institution allowed. If you are interested in this program please email me by April 8, 2014.

Scalable Nanomanufacturing (SNM)


Program Description:

This solicitation is seeking high-risk/high-reward research and education proposals. Its focus is on nanomanufacturing challenges and societal and educational issues associated with continuing advances in nanomanufacturing and the ensuing increasing use of nanoscale materials, devices and systems. All proposals should clearly state what roadblocks to scale-up exist and what new approach or approaches will be investigated to overcome those roadblocks. The scientific and technological barriers to commercialization, in terms of production rate, throughput, quality, reproducibility, yield and cost should be addressed in the proposal.

In preparation of the proposal, the research team should consider addressing the following elements of scalable nanomanufacturing:

  • Novel scalable processes and techniques for large-area or continuous manufacturing of nano-scale structures andtheir assembly/integration into higher order systems.

Processes could be top-down (deposition, lithography) or bottom-up (self-assembly) or an integration of the two. Deposition processes could be vapor-based or solution-based or a combination of the two. Self-assembly processes could be spontaneous or directed via physical, chemical, biological, thermal or other means. Research on creating nanostructures that will self-assemble or that can be easily assembled into large-scale nanosystems and systems of such nanosystems is encouraged. It is anticipated that such systems will comprise discrete elements that are differentiable in composition, structure, dimension, and/or geometry. The proposed methodologies should lead to the fabrication of complex heterogeneous nanostructures and their integration into higher order systems. The potential for high-volume production of industrially-relevant systems should be demonstrated. Research on modeling and simulation, coupled with bench-scale experimentation in support of the integration and scale-up of nanomanufacturing processes is sought. 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, and roll-to-roll processing.

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 technical areas that are compellingly justified as approaches to overcome critical barriers to scale-up and integration.

Methods for the scale-up of both emergent and more well-established materials synthesis and processing methods are desired. 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. 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. Although not required, the progression to commercial scale would be greatly enhanced by

having partners with manufacturing expertise on the research team.

  • Design principles for production systems leading to nanomanufacturing platforms; identification of metrology, instrumentation, standards and control methodologies needed for process control and to assess quality and yield.

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, 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. Key factors in the progression to large-scale nanomanufacturing involve standardization and the development of measurement, control and quality monitoring methods. Towards that end, approaches are sought for reliable, high-speed, high-resolution on-line metrology, diagnostics, and adaptive (real-time) control methods and the process simulation and design methods needed in nanomanufacturing.

In addition, proposals should address technological, societal, educational and/or outreach implications in context of this solicitation. NSF has a strong interest in developing the infrastructure for nanoscale science and engineering. Accordingly, all proposals should address integration of research and education, for example, by 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 16, 2014