JSNN, Georgia Tech Collaboration Receives $7.5M NSF Renewal Grant to Support Nanotechnology Research and Development

By Jamie Crockett / 09/30/2020 Joint School of Nanoscience & Nanoengineering

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Sept. 30, 2020)  – The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a five-year $7.5 million renewal grant to support the ongoing work of the Southeastern Nanotechnology Infrastructure Corridor (SENIC) program, benefitting in part research at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN).

JSNN, a joint academic effort of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and University of North Carolina Greensboro, and the Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology (IEN) at the Georgia Institute of Technology partnered to establish SENIC as one of only 16 designated sites of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI). The collaboration allows access to both micro- and nanofabrication and characterization facilities, providing onsite support for users across academia, government and industry.

“Through SENIC, our institutions represent one facility at two locations as we focus on enabling users in the southeast, particularly along the I-85 corridor, to do their research well,” said Shyam Aravamudhan, associate professor of nanoengineering and director of JSNN Core Facilities. “This renewal grant recognizes the far-reaching, impactful work JSNN has done in partnership with Georgia Tech through our investments in state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure, while supporting research productivity in the nanotechnology field.”

Aravamudhan serves alongside JSNN Dean Sherine O. Obare, Ph.D., as co-principal investigators. Additional collaborators include principal investigator and IEN executive director and SENIC site director, Oliver Brand, Ph.D., David Gottfried, Ph.D., deputy site director and a principal research scientist at IEN, and Quinn Spadola, Ph.D., director of education and outreach and an academic professional at IEN.

Since its inception, SENIC utilized the initial $8 million NSF funding, which led to substantial gains in the following outcomes:

  • More than 1,300 individual researchers utilize the facilities annually, and 2,800 total unique users have benefitted from the program’s numerous resources.
    • These totals include more than 650 external users from 300 small and large companies, as well as 50 colleges and universities.
  • Members can access more than 300 nanotechnology fabrication and characterization tools to conduct research.
  • More than 45,000 students (K-12, undergraduate and graduate), professionals and members of the general public have participated in hands-on classroom activities, teacher trainings, seminars, nanotechnology events, etc.

The collaboration supports research that can be applied to various fields including energy, medicine, smart transportation and technology. In addition to the commitment to strengthening workforce development, SENIC is dedicated to ensuring underserved populations have opportunities to participate in STEM experiences through its unique Societal and Ethical Implications program.

"NNCI helps scientists and engineers in diverse fields solve challenging convergent research problems," said Dawn Tilbury, NSF assistant director for engineering. "Research and education through NNCI will continue to yield nanotechnology innovations, from interconnects for quantum systems to high-resolution imaging to brain-implanted sensors, that bring economic and societal benefits to us all."

Research in areas such as quantum science, convergence research and biomedical technologies conducted at SENIC facilities align with NSF’s “10 Big Ideas.”

Media Contact Information: jicrockett@ncat.edu

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