Project Overview

NSEC: Templated Synthesis and Assembly at the Nanoscale

# 0425880
Paul Nealey (Principal Investigator)
Samuel Gellman (Co-Principal Investigator)
David Schwartz (Co-Principal Investigator)
Clark Miller (Co-Principal Investigator)
Franz Himpsel (Co-Principal Investigator)

The Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center on Templated Synthesis and Assembly at the Nanoscale at the University of Wisconsin-Madison addresses the self-assembly of complex materials and building blocks at the nanoscale, including development of a unique program to explore their societal implications. The Center includes 27 faculty participants from 10 departments. The research mission of the proposed NSEC is organized into four interdisciplinary research thrusts.

The thrust on the Directed Self-Assembly and Registration of Nanoscale Chemical Architectures addresses the question of assembling nano-structured objects into functional nanoscale systems. It explores the self-assembly of block copolymers on nanopatterned substrates, the convergent assembly of pre-fabricated nanoscale elements on nanoscale patterns, and the biologically-directed assembly of nanowires and nanorods for development of innovative biosensors. Another thrust is entitled Templated Chemical Synthesis of Sequence Specific Heteropolymeric Nanostructures. It explores guided processes of chemical synthesis and assembly on the on the scale of atomic dimensions. The thrust on Driven Nano-Fluidic Self Assembly of Colloids and Macromolecules explores the use of non-equilibrium processes, such as the use of flow and other fields, for nanoscale assembly and manipulation of nanoparticles and macromolecules, including DNA, under severe confinement. Finally, the thrust on the Research in the Societal Implications of Template Synthesis and Assembly at the Nanoscale uses a partnership with the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies and the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin to develop an integrated, multidisciplinary understanding of nanoscale science and engineering as it moves out of the laboratory and into society and to build a public dialog about its societal, ethical, legal, and policy implications. In addition to these thrusts, the center uses seed funds to support promising individuals or groups of individuals in emerging areas of nanoscale science and engineering and its societal implications.

The education and outreach program of the Center builds on the UW's experience in scientific education and benefit from infrastructure provided by the Institute for Chemical Education, the Journal of Chemical Education, and the National Science Digital Library. An additional partnership with the UW's Business School will assess the commercial potential and possible pathways to commercialization of technologies under development in the NSEC.

The NSEC activities include the establishment of a Graduate Fellowship Program to recruit the most talented young scientists and engineers to the interdisciplinary field of nanoscale science and engineering and to foster a community of diversity. Links to international laboratories on three continents allow students to participate in substantive collaborative co-supervised research projects. The shared experimental facilities of the proposed NSEC include nanopatterning and surface sensitive characterization of materials, and leverage existing state-of-the-art instrumentation and infrastructure at the NSF sponsored Synchrotron Radiation Center (SRC), the NSF sponsored MRSEC, and the Center for NanoTechnology (CNTech). Supporting infrastructure will also be provided by the Wisconsin Center for Applied Microelectronics (WCAM) and the UW Materials Science Center (MSC).

Source: NSF