National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency. Their goal is to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense. NSF funds support basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. About 1,300 projects involving more than 6,000 faculty and students are supported each year.

The NSF funds the National Nanofabrication Users Network (NNUN) and the Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN). The NNUN includes five university-based research hubs which are focused on electronics, biology, advanced materials, optoelectronics, and nanoscale computer simulation. The NCN, centered at Purdue University, is linking theory and computation to experimental work that helps turn the promise of nanoscience into new nanotechnologies.

The National Science Foundation funds a number of projects. One example of a funded nanoproject includes nano research work done at the University of Akron. Scientists at the University of Akron have shown how to create a densely packed carpet of carbon nanotubes that functions like an artificial gecko foot—but with 200 times the gecko foot's gripping power. Potential applications include dry adhesives for microelectronics, information technology, robotics, space, and many other fields.

Another NSF program that was funded included work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Researchers were able to begin the process of developing nanoscale electronic devices that can be directed to

^ Space Elevator. Scientists envision a space elevator based in the Pacific Ocean. Go to: php3?articlejd=218392162&language= english

The National Science Foundation funded an exhibit called "It's a Nano World." The traveling exhibit, organized by Sciencenter in Ithaca, New York, is a hands-on interactive exhibition that introduces children and their parents to the biological wonders of the nanoworld. At this station in the exhibit, visitors are using magnifying glasses to look at tiny parts of feathers, shells, and seeds. (Courtesy Sciencenter, Ithaca, NY)

self-assemble themselves automatically. This research development would allow manufacturers to mass-produce nanochips having circuit elements only a few molecules across. The mass production of the nanochips would provide large quantities of chips to be developed with possible lower costs per unit.

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