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Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology Awards Over $34 Million  in Recovery Act Grants to Increase Innovation and Improve American Competitiveness

For Immediate Release: January 8, 2010

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Contact: Ben Stein
301-975-3097

GAITHERSBURG, Md.–The U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today awarded $34.12 million in grants for measurement science and engineering research. The NIST Measurement Science and Engineering Research Grants Program, made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will fund 27 projects at higher-education, commercial, and nonprofit organizations in 18 states.

"While we’ve seen some recent signs of progress, we cannot rest until every American looking for a job finds one,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “These new projects will create high-tech jobs and spur economic growth while supporting U.S. world leadership in science.”

The 27 projects will receive one-time funding ranging from $408,996 to $1.5 million to carry out research programs that last three years. The projects will advance the state of knowledge and practice of measurement science in six identified research areas of critical national importance:

  • Energy;
  • Environment and climate change;
  • Information technology and cybersecurity;
  • Biosciences/health care;
  • Manufacturing; and
  • Physical infrastructure.


"With these grants, we are leveraging our nation's brightest minds in measurement science to address important national needs," said NIST Director Patrick Gallagher. "These projects will bolster U.S. scientific and technological infrastructure, increasing our nation's ability to innovate, compete, and solve scientific and technological problems."

NIST received over 1,300 proposals for the grants. The proposals underwent exhaustive administrative and technical review by more than 300 NIST scientists and engineers working intensively on an accelerated time frame.

U.S. innovation and competitiveness in areas such as automobile manufacturing, cybersecurity, climate change studies, cloud computing and renewable energy sources depend on measurement science research.

State-of-the-art measurement science provides the infrastructure that industry and science need to develop and commercialize new technologies. The air conditioning and refrigeration industry, for example, has saved millions of dollars over the past 20 years due to NIST’s work on the measurement of the thermophysical properties of alternative refrigerants, including alternatives to ozone-depleting compounds.

ENERGY

Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality in Retail Stores

ASHRAE, Inc. (Atlanta, GA)

  • Project duration: 3 years
  • NIST Funding: $1,500,000


Improving the energy efficiency of ventilation systems in retail stores while maintaining indoor air quality (IAQ) by establishing a method to determine the relationship between ventilation rates and IAQ, using measured ventilation and pollutant concentration data.

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Novel Electrical and Physical Characterization of the SiC-SiO2 Interface

General Electric, GE Global Research (Niskayuna, NY)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,500,000

Develop novel measurement techniques to study the interface between silicon carbide (SiC) and silicon dioxide (SiO2) in metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) devices designed to handle large amounts of power for rapidly routing electrical energy to customers from diverse sources such as wind and solar powered devices.

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Biofuels Thermophysical Properties

Brigham Young University (Provo, UT )

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $627,500

Produce a database of thermophysical property values for 30 biofuel compounds that will contain the most accurate, consistent set of property values for use by the biofuel industry and enable future design and development of biofuel production methods on a scientifically quantitative basis.

Read more…

Phasor Measurement Units Calibrator Development

Fluke Electronics Corporation (Everett, WA)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,404,400

Develop an instrument for calibrating measurements of the magnitude and phase of voltage and current signals in a power system—a combined mathematical entity called a phasor—to facilitate deployment of the Smart Grid in the US electric power system.

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Application of Neutron Metrology Methods to Electrochemical Energy Systems

General Motors Electrochemical Energy Research Lab (Honeoye Falls, NY)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,255,833

Apply neutron detectors that can view the inner workings of fuel cells with 10 times improved spatial resolution over previous efforts, and assess mechanisms for degradation of lithium-based battery capacity and power.

Read more…

ENVIRONMENT/CLIMATE CHANGE

Determining the Optical Properties of Carbonaceous Nanoparticles In Atmospheric Aerosols by Electron Imaging and Monchromated Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy

Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $742,983

Use electron-based probes to study the physical properties of carbon-containing nanoparticles that have important consequences for both climate change and human health.

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Development, Improvement, and Assessment of the Accuracy of Aircraft-Based Mass Balance Measurements of the Integrated Urban Fluxes of Greenhouse Gases

Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,500,000

This project aims to develop, improve, and assess the accuracy of measurements of the total greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide and methane) emissions from urban environments.

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A Buoy Sensor Technology for Long-Term Submerged Observation of the Marine Carbon Dioxide System and Isotopic Composition

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Woods Hole, MA)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,046,438

Develop buoy-sensor technology that will improve the ability to understand the origin, distribution, biogeochemical role and eventual fate of carbon dioxide (CO2) in marine ecosystems.

Read more…

Multi-Wavelength Atmospheric Characterization System

Michigan Aerospace Corporation (Ann Arbor, MI)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,499,463

A multi-wavelength Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system will be developed and deployed to measure properties of aerosols critical for understanding climate change, atmospheric chemistry, and air quality.

Read more…

Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Inverse Methods: A Pilot Program

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, CA)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,211,820

Develop and demonstrate a “top-down” measurement approach to map and quantify greenhouse gas emissions, by using measurement data from atmospheric monitoring stations combined with meteorological data to track regional emissions and movements of greenhouse gases.

Read more…

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY/CYBERSECURITY

RF Propagation Measurement and Modeling for Wireless Body Area Networking

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA )

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,170,293

Develop a comprehensive measurement program to characterize the propagation of radio waves in and around the human body to support the growth of technology and standardization activities for emerging pervasive information technologies and wireless body area networks.

Read more…

Quantum Control Techniques for Diamond-Based Magnetometers with Applications to Quantum Information Processing

Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,441,440

Develop nanometer-scale, diamond-based magnetic field sensors that employ the rules of quantum mechanics to detect magnetic fields with extremely high sensitivity.

Read more…

Measurement Science for Cloud Computing: Data Management and Utilization

IBM (Yorktown Heights, NY)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,494,041

Develop measurement science tools and techniques to optimize the progress and development of cloud computing technology by devising methods for analyzing measurement data, assigning IT resources and managing workflow of cloud computing tasks.

Read more…

Environment for Fair and Comprehensive Performance Evaluation of Cryptographic Hardware and Software

George Mason University (Fairfax, VA)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,496,655

Develop a fair and comprehensive methodology and environment to evaluate and compare (benchmark) the performance of competing cryptographic algorithms when implemented in hardware devices, such as Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (electronic devices customized for a particular use, such as secure mobile communications), Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (electronic devices such as those used in defense systems whose specific functions are configured after delivery to customers), and microprocessors (electronic devices at the heart of modern general-purpose computers).

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BIOSCIENCES/HEALTHCARE

Development of Reference Methods for Measuring PSA and Activities of Sex Steroids

Mayo Clinic College of Medicine (Rochester, MN)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,496,654

Support improved accuracy in tests of prostate specific antigen (PSA) for detecting prostate cancer, and sex steroids such as testosterone, for assessing disease risks and proper dosing of hormone replacement therapy, by developing robust, standardized reference methods for measuring PSA and the biologic activity of testosterone and other sex hormones in human blood.

Read more…

A Microfluidic Platform for Multiplexed Elisa-Based Protein Measurements from Single Cell Samples

Institute for Systems Biology (Seattle, WA )

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,485,605

Develop a platform for the measurement of multiple proteins from single-cell samples to sensitively and accurately detect the signatures of disease in blood and tissue.

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Development and Validation of an In Vitro Human Testbed for Evaluation of Therapeutic Antibodies

VaxDesign Corporation (Orlando, FL)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,499,990

Use an advanced in vitro model of the human immune system, rather than those based on animals, to more accurately assess the potential toxicity and immune-system responses to monoclonal antibody drugs designed to help the immune system fight diseases such as arthritis and cancer.

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3D Holographic and 2-Photon Super-Resolution Microscopy

Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,498,674

Complete the development of two new widefield non-scanning imaging technologies for fluorescence 3D microscopy, in efforts to map the distribution of proteins and other components inside cells more simply and at higher speed and resolution than before.

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MANUFACTURING

Development of Metrics, Metrology and a Framework for Product-Process Ontology for Interoperability In Model-Based Sustainable Manufacturing

University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY )

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,499,935

Establish a framework to measure, quantify, evaluate and communicate the sustainability of manufactured products and manufacturing processes.

Read more…

Development of Accurate Metrology for Free-Form Surfaces

University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,348,643

Develop rapid and accurate measurements of free-form shapes, such as those used in solar reflectors for energy and astronomical applications, for improved manufacturing of these surfaces.

Read more…

Measurement and Characterization of Nanometer-Scale Magnets for Post-CMOS Electronics

Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO )

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $962,440

Develop two measurement techniques for nanometer-scale magnets (nanomagnets), which have great potential for improving existing technologies, such as data storage, and may become the basis of faster, smaller electromagnetic devices that may replace conventional components of computer chips.

Read more…

World Modeling for Autonomous Navigation in Unstructured and Dynamic Environments: Performance Evaluation and Benchmarking

Temple University (Philadelphia, PA )

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,095,019.25

Create and experimentally validate a framework by which automated guided vehicles (AGVs), robotic devices that are widely used in factory floors to transport goods, can automatically generate a sufficiently accurate internal map (world model) of its surroundings, in order to make them more versatile and useful as they navigate factory spaces with dynamically changing environments.

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PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Performance-Based Seismic Design Methods and Tools for Reinforced Masonry Shear-Wall Structures

University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, CA)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,499,366

Develop innovative methodologies and improved design requirements for the seismic resistance design of shear walls in reinforced masonry buildings, and reliable analytical tools for assessing their seismic performance, in efforts to enhance the cost-effectiveness and performance of these structures.

Read more…

The Science of Concrete with Fly Ash—Fundamental Models That Enable New Technology for Expanded Use of Fly Ash

Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,500,000

Establish a comprehensive strategy, through linked experimental and modeling work, for increasing the use of fly ash (an abundant industrial waste material) in concrete to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions associated with portland cement manufacture, and to improve concrete performance and durability.

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Improving Fire Safety by Enhancing the Fire Performance of Engineered Floor Systems and Providing the Fire Service with Information for Tactical Decision Making

Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (Northbrook, IL)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $1,295,000

Improve fire safety of engineered floor products constructed in longer floor spans by identifying the hazards associated with the fire exposure of a variety of engineered floor products, examining the fire performance of technologies available to protect the engineered floor system products, and assessing potential solutions.

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Modeling Natural Disaster Risk Management: A Stakeholder Perspective

University of Delaware (Newark, DE)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $796,255

Develop models to support the design of a regional natural disaster risk management system that is effective, efficient, sustainable, and equitable, and appealing to all key stakeholders, so that it is implementable; and demonstrate application of the new models in case studies, focusing on earthquake risk in Los Angeles and hurricane risk in North Carolina.

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Development and Evaluation of Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering (PBEE) Compliant Structural Systems

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, VA)

• Project duration: 3 years

• NIST Funding: $580,493

Develop four types of structural systems, at various levels of complexity, that are inherently compliant with the principles of Performance Based Earthquake Engineering (PBEE), which involves designing structures with a quantified expectation of good performance under earthquake conditions; produce design procedures for the systems as well as techniques and tools that engineers can use to show if the designed systems are indeed PBEE compliant.

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