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Basic Research and Development

Basic Research and Development
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Nanotechnology is a multidisciplinary field of discovery.

Scientists and technicians working in physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, information technology, and other fields are contributing to today's nanotechnology research - research that is leading to the development of tomorrow's breakthrough applications and products.

Basic Research & Development (R&D) in nanotechnology involves understanding and controlling matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers - microscopic levels where unique phenomena enable novel applications.

This work uses highly specialized, precision equipment such as electron, atomic, and scanning tunneling microscopes to machinery that is capable of making these extraordinarily small new products.

Basic R&D in nanotechnology is being conducted by the private sector, research universities, and the federal government - with the government playing an important role in this effort.

The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), for example, is a federally funded R&D program established to coordinate multi-agency efforts in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology; and includes the participation of 23 different federal agencies.

In addition to its coordination role, the NNI helps by funding basic research, providing funds to establish and support university and government laboratories, and contributing to the educational preparation needed to build a nanotechnology workforce.

The National Science Foundation provides support for the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN). Led by Cornell University, the Network is comprised of 13 major research universities that form an integrated, nationwide system of facilities to support research and education in nanoscale science, engineering and technology. R&D user centers and facilities also contribute valuable laboratory space to aid in the nation's nanotechnology R&D effort.

U.S. nanotechnology R&D continues to grow, and thus it will continue to require thousands more scientists and technicians in the years ahead.

(Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), U.S. National Science Foundation; Center for Responsible Nanotechnology; Foresight Nanotech Institute.)

Key Links

Comprehensive Information Portals

  • National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN)
    Screen Capture of NNIN Site The National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) is an integrated networked partnership of user facilities, supported by the National Science Foundation, serving the needs of nanoscale science, engineering and technology.
  • National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI)
    Screen Capture of NNI Site The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) provides a multi-agency framework to ensure U.S. leadership in nanotechnology that will be essential to improved human health, economic well being and national security.
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
    Screen Capture of NSF Site The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense." Enter "Nanotechnology" in the search box.

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