JSNN, DEVCOM Soldier Center Partner to Enhance Nanoscale Materials for Soldier Protection

11/21/2022 Research and Economic Development, Joint School of Nanoscience & Nanoengineering

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Nov. 21, 2022) – A new partnership between the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development (DEVCOM) Soldier Center and the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering at Gateway Research Park will develop advanced nanoscale materials for soldier protection that promise to be lighter, faster, safer and stronger than ever before.

Officials with DEVCOM, the Joint School, its two academic parents, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG), and federal and state government announced the new development at a Nov. 21 media availability on the Gateway campus.

The Innovative Collaborative Laboratory for Nanotechnologies to Empower Future Soldier (ICONS), initiated by a $1.05-million cooperative agreement from the DEVCOM Soldier Center, is the only collaborative lab of its kind in North Carolina and the first established with a historically Black college or university (HBCU) or minority-serving institution anywhere in the nation. ICONS will be co-led by two JSNN professors, Kristen Dellinger, Ph.D., in the Department of Nanoengineering at N.C. A&T, and Tetyana Ignatova, Ph.D., in UNCG’s Department of Nanoscience.

“This is a unique opportunity for JSNN’s students to engage in collaborative research that advances the technologies needed to support soldiers and other military-relevant applications,” said Sherine Obare, Ph.D., JSNN dean. “And with JSNN’s proximity to several North Carolina military bases, our researchers can directly connect with military personnel and veterans to understand the needs of soldiers to develop solutions from the users’ perspective.”

ICONS will focus on the research and development of sustainable material solutions for the “Future Enabled, Invisible, Sustained and Enhanced Soldier.” Research teams will produce nanomaterials that can be integrated into yarn and woven fabric clothing for soldiers and used as additives for helmets and other protective devices. ICONS will also utilize JSNN’s nanodevice fabrication facilities to design and build highly sensitive and selective sensors to detect various chemical hazards.

“The rich history of N.C. A&T and UNCG and JSNN’s unique ability to produce a diverse cadre of students with transdisciplinary training spanning science and engineering, who are prepared to develop technologies to protect soldiers on the battlefield, aligns with our mission, and we look forward to a long-lasting partnership,” said Douglas Tamilio, director of the DEVCOM Soldier Center.

“We are excited to partner with two outstanding universities in N.C. A&T and UNC Greensboro, and their combined research and teaching strengths through JSNN,” said Ramanathan Nagarajan, the Army’s senior research scientist for Soldier Nanomaterials. “ICONS provides access to a diverse pool of S&T talent with the training and expertise needed to develop innovative materials breakthroughs to empower the Future Soldiers.”

Media Contact Information: jicrockett@ncat.edu

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