NSF 16-604 Scalable Nanomanufacturing for Integrated Systems (SNM-IS)

Number of Submissions Per Institution: 
Submissions Per Institution: 
An academic institution – a university, or a campus in a multi-campus university -- may submit no more than one (1) proposal on which it is the lead organization in response to this solicitation. Potential PIs are advised to contact their institutional office of research regarding processes used to select proposals for submission. The same organization may be a collaborative partner in any number of other multi-organization group proposals in which it is not the lead. A proposal involving more than one organization must be submitted as a single proposal in which a single award is requested, with the managing principal investigator from the lead organization and subawards administered by the lead organization to any other participating organizations.
Internal Deadline: 
11/18/2016 - 5:00pm
LOI or Pre-Proposal Required: 
External Deadline: 
01/13/2017 - 5:00pm

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) announces a 7th (seventh) year of a solicitation on collaborative research and education in the area of Scalable Nanomanufacturing for Integrated Systems (SNM-IS). This solicitation is in response to and is a component of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) Signature Initiative: Sustainable Nanomanufacturing - Creating the Industries of the Future (http://www.nano.gov/NSINanomanufacturing).

    Many nanofabrication techniques have demonstrated the ability to synthesize small quantities of nanomaterials and nanostructures for characterization and evaluation and simple nanodevices for analysis and testing purposes. The emphasis of the Scalable Nanomanufacturing for Integrated Systems (SNM-IS) solicitation is on research in new nano-scale manufacturing concepts and integration methods to realize complex integrated systems based on nanotechnology. The research will focus on overcoming the key scientific and engineering barriers that prevent the translation of laboratory-scale discoveries in nano-enabled integrated systems to an industrially relevant scale, reliably, affordably and within sustainability and environmental, health and safety (EHS) guidelines. The goal of the SNM-IS solicitation is to study and formulate the fundamental principles of scalable nanomanufacturing and integration for nanotechnology-based integrated systems towards the eventual manufacture of useful nano-enabled products.

    The SNM-IS solicitation is driven by the discovery of numerous new nanomaterials with unique properties (2D atomic layer, transition metal dichalcogenides, van der Waals heterostructures, perovskites, metal-organic frameworks, metamaterials, origami, etc.) in recent years and invention of many novel fabrication methods (nano additive manufacturing, strain engineering processing, bio-nanomanufacturing, etc.) to synthesize nanostructures with different geometries, 'microstructures' and functionalities. These nanomaterials and nanostructures need to be assembled into larger-scale components and devices, which, in turn, need to be integrated into higher-order subsystems and systems so novel and useful products can be made for a variety of applications in the areas of functional and structural materials, mechanics, optics, electronics, chemical, biomedical, catalysis, environmental, energy, sensing, security, defense, etc. Integration will need to be across material sets (0D, 1D, 2D, 3D, hierarchical nanoparticles, etc.), across length-scales (molecular to nano to micro to meso to macro), and across function (mechanical, electrical, optical, chemical, biological, thermal, etc.) and across processes (top-down, bottom-up). Integration will involve the study and implementation of hybrid manufacturing and assembly processes and methods. The research will be driven by the need to understand and establish, among others, design rules for integrated systems, manufacturing and integration process and control models, and measurement science and technology. The desired outcome will be a nano-enabled integrated system that combines many different functions together to work as one entity and that is made up of component subsystems that are designed to perform in a unified manner.

    The SNM-IS solicitation seeks proposals that investigate novel scalable nanomanufacturing and integration methods for nano-enabled integrated systems with a clear commercial relevance. Proposals should consider addressing key aspects of the nanomanufacturing value chain comprised of nano-scale building-blocks → complex nanomaterials and nanostructures → functional components and devices → integrated sub-systems and systems:

        Novel nanomanufacturing processes and integration strategies for large-area or continuous manufacturing or customized manufacturing of nano-scale materials and structures and their assembly into larger-scale components and devices and the integration of the components and devices into higher order structures, subsystems and systems;
        Fundamental scientific research in key, well-defined technical areas that are compellingly justified as approaches to overcome critical scientific and engineering barriers to nanomanufacturing scale-up, customized nanomanufacturing and multi-scale integration; and
        Design principles for production systems leading to nanomanufacturing tools, and platforms; identification of manipulation and control methodologies, and metrology, instrumentation, and standards needed for process monitoring and control and to assess quality and yield; determination of process models and simulations to guide processing and integration; identification of environmental and energy footprints, as applicable.

    Competitive proposals will incorporate the following three elements in their research plans:

        A persuasive case that the nano-enabled integrated system to be manufactured has or is likely to have sufficient demand to justify eventual scale-up or meet demands for low-volume specialty materials or device systems;
        A clearly identified set of research challenges requiring science and engineering solutions that must be addressed to enable the realization of integrated systems for the cost-effective manufacture of high quality nano-enabled products in large quantities or low-volume specialty products; and
        A compelling research plan with clear objectives and approaches to overcome the identified research challenges. This may include environmentally benign approaches and life-cycle considerations.

    These elements should be carefully explained and justified in proposals, since both the scientific novelty and the feasibility of the methods being researched will be important evaluation factors.

    The SNM-IS solicitation is NOT seeking research proposals in large-scale manufacturing of single component nanomaterials and nanostructures. Novel ideas in novel nanomanufacturing processes and scale-up may be sent to the core Nanomanufacturing (NM) Program.

    Competitive proposals are expected to address the training and education of students in nanomanufacturing, system integration and related areas. Since Scalable Nanomanufacturing for Integrated Systems research will involve addressing multiple scientific and engineering challenges in the design and manufacture of complex nano-enabled integrated systems, an inter-disciplinary approach is strongly encouraged. Disciplines could range from the physical sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, materials science and others) to engineering (materials, mechanical, electrical, chemical, biomedical, industrial and others) and could include mathematics and computer science. While not required, collaborative activities with industrial or small business companies (e.g., through the GOALI program) are welcome and collaborations in which industrial partners develop industrially relevant test-beds where university and company researchers can experiment and interact are encouraged. It is advisable that such firms be consulted early in the proposal preparation process and that their intellectual contributions be clearly explained in the proposal.

    Other research and education projects in nanoscale science and engineering will continue to be supported in the appropriate programs and divisions.

    Please see requirements for submitting proposals for collaborations; a single proposal with sub-contracts must be submitted for collaborations and the submission of separate proposals from multiple investigators for collaborative projects ('collaborative proposals') is not allowed.