Georgia Tech to be Part of 13-University National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network

The network will be an integrated, nationwide system of user facilities to support research and education in nanometer-scale science, engineering and technology.

Led by Cornell University, the NNIN will enable students and researchers from any school in the United States - as well as scientists from U.S. corporate and government laboratories - to have open access to resources they need for studying molecular and higher length-scale materials and processes, and for applying them in a variety of structures, devices and systems.

The $70 million network is expected to begin operation in January 2004 for a five-year period.

Georgia Tech will share its nanotechnology fabrication resources - including a new system capable of creating nanometer-scale features - and lead the network's education and outreach efforts, said James Meindl, director of Georgia Tech's Microelectronics Research Center.

"Georgia Tech is installing a $4 million electron-beam nanolithography system that will allow etching of patterns at the nano-scale," he said. "This critical tool, funded by the Georgia Research Alliance, will facilitate advances in bio-electronics, nanotechnology and advanced microelectronics. The system, one of only a few such university-based instruments in the nation, will be available to NNIN partner institutions along with skilled personnel to operate it."

The NNIN's outreach and education effort will focus on K-12, undergraduate and professional education, Meindl noted. "Georgia Tech brings to the network strengths in engineering education and outreach, and we anticipate close collaboration with our sister sites on such key issues as diversity and minority education," he said.

The new network was approved by the National Science Board, the 24-member policy advisory body of the National Science Foundation.

"The network will be an investment of at least $70 million under NSF's nanoscale science and engineering priority area," said Lawrence Goldberg, NSF senior engineering advisor. "NNIN expands significantly beyond the current capabilities of the five university National Nanofabrication Users Network (NNUN) that is concluding its ten-year life span this year."

In addition to Cornell and Georgia Tech, the network will include Harvard University, Howard University, North Carolina State University, Pennsylvania State University, Stanford University, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, the University of New Mexico, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Washington.

"By assembling and offering to share our specialized resources with any and all qualified users, we have created the world's largest, most comprehensive and accessible nanotechnology laboratory," said Sandip Tiwari, the Cornell electrical engineering professor who will serve as director of the NNIN.