Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology in the USA

Dr. Michael P. Casassa

Acting Director, Program Office, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, 20899, U.S.A.


Nanotechnology holds promise to dramatically change many aspects of the world in which we live. The range and scope of the potential economic and societal benefits from nanotechnologies is so staggering it has been called the "Next Industrial Revolution." Recognizing the large potential for nanotechnology, the fiscal year 2001 U.S. Federal Budget included support for a major new initiative on nanotechnology. The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) was established by the U.S. Government to promote long-term nanoscale research and development leading to potential breakthroughs in areas ranging from materials and manufacturing to biotechnology and agriculture to national security and Defense, and many others. The NNI creates a multi-agency research infrastructure by coordinating activities such as fundamental research, Grand Challenges, and centers and networks of excellence, activities that are all potentially high payoff and broadly enabling. The NNI exemplifies the government's critical role in promoting the development of new science and technology. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is one of the federal agencies participating in the NNI. NIST's contribution can be readily understood in terms of NIST's long-standing presence in the measurements and standards arena and in NIST's role in promoting innovative high-risk technology research in industry. NIST provides the nanoscale measurements, standards and data needed to develop a complete understanding of new phenomena, to enable process control and quality control, and to facilitate commerce in nanotechnology-related products.


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