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Advanced materials are essential to economic security and human well-being, with applications in many industries, including those aimed at addressing challenges in clean energy, national security, and human welfare. Accelerating the pace of discovery and deployment of advanced materials is crucial to achieving global competitiveness in the 21st century.
Currently, the time frame for incorporating new classes of materials into applications is remarkably long, typically about 10 to 20 years from initial research to first use. As today's scientists and engineers explore a new generation of advanced materials to solve the grand challenges of the 21st century, reducing the time required to bring these discoveries to market will be a key driving force behind a more competitive domestic manufacturing sector and economic growth. Such a goal of time reduction is the key objective of the Administration's Materials Genome Initiative announced in 2011 (www.whitehouse.gov/mgi and www.nist.gov/mgi).
The lengthy time frame for materials to move from discovery to market is due in part to the continued reliance of materials research and development programs on scientific intuition and trial and error experimentation. Much of the design and testing of materials is currently performed through time-consuming and repetitive experiment and characterization loops. Significant time reductions may be achieved if some of these experiments could be performed virtually with powerful and accurate computational tools such as those being developed in the Materials Genome Initiative. To accelerate the identification and development of advanced materials, it is necessary to bring together the abilities to design materials with computational tools, to rapidly produce prototype materials, and to measure and assess materials properties and performance.
By combining NIST's expertise and experience in materials science, materials characterization, reference data, and standards with leading research capabilities for designing, producing, and processing advanced materials, the Advanced Materials Center of Excellence will create a collaborative environment and concentration of scientific and technical capability to accelerate materials discovery and development; provide opportunities to transition new breakthroughs in advanced materials to industry, convene multidisciplinary and multi-sector communities for in-depth discussions; and provide training opportunities for scientists and engineers in materials metrology. This Center of Excellence will contribute to and demonstrate use of the tools and resources developed by the Materials Genome Initiative to create a new era of materials innovation that will serve as a foundation for strengthening domestic industry.