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NIST Grant to University of Maryland Steps Up the Agency’s Nanotechnology Efforts

For Immediate Release: July 6, 2006

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Contact: Mark Bello
(301) 975-3776

GAITHERSBURG, Md.—The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland have joined in a $1.5 million cooperative program that will further NIST’s efforts to develop measurement technology and other new tools designed to support all phases of nanotechnology development, from discovery to manufacture.

The competitively awarded grant, renewable for up to five years, also will accelerate the scale-up of NIST’s new Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST), launched in March 2006. The bulk of the funding will support the work of 13 research scientists and engineers. They will work with researchers in the CNST, which is housed in NIST’s state-of-the-art Advanced Measurement Laboratory.

The University of Maryland research associates will work on jointly defined projects aligned with the center’s mission to develop the knowledge and technical infrastructure that underpins nanotechnology development. They also will collaborate with visiting researchers who come to the CNST to use measurement instruments and other advanced equipment in its Nanofabrication Facility, a national resource available to collaborators and outside users.

“NIST's unique niche is to develop the measurement tools and the standards necessary to turn the incredible promise of nanotechnology into practical products,” says NIST Director William Jeffrey. “Through this partnership, we can step up our efforts to meet this important need.”

A portion of the grant will be used for national outreach and education efforts directed towards young faculty members and post-doctoral researchers.

"I'm so proud of NIST in Maryland," said Maryland Senator Barbara A. Mikulski. "This new partnership between NIST and the University of Maryland will lead to innovative new technologies and new products that will create new jobs and make Maryland, and America, more competitive in the global economy."

The university will participate in the cooperative program through its Maryland Center for Integrated Nanoscience and Engineering. Physics Professor Ellen Williams, author of more than 150 scientific papers and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, will serve as principal investigator.

The program will get under way in September.

As a non-regulatory agency, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.