The San Diego Nanotechnology Infrastructure (SDNI) is set up as a national nanotechnology research and education infrastructure to serve the country’s needs for advancing research, facilitating technology commercialization, supporting entrepreneurship, developing strong and competitive work force, enhancing K-12, college and graduate education, and promoting diversity and inclusion. By accomplishing its missions, SDNI will become a key contributor to the pursuit of scientific research and the national health, prosperity, and security. SDNI offers unique tool sets, skills, technical support, mentorship, and services to produce a myriad of innovative materials and devices. These unique capabilities will help the nation to gain competitive advantages in areas critical to the nation’s economy and security, including artificial intelligence (AI), advanced manufacturing, quantum information science (QIS), and 5G/6G communications. The SDNI will also play a pivotal role in research pursuits that align with NSF’s 10 Big Ideas for the future, with particular focus on supporting and growing convergent research, enhancing science and engineering through diversity, and seeding innovation. To develop a more diverse and productive scientific workforce, the SDNI is committed to developing a systematic and executable outreach and education program to promote STEM. Built upon a pilot program that has shown feasibility through very positive responses from all stakeholders, including students, teachers, and administrators from school districts with high minority student populations, SDNI’s proposed outreach efforts will bring nanotechnology to the science curriculum of middle and high schools in southern California first and then across the country, through collaborations with other sites in the NNCI network.

Technical Abstract

As part of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI), the SDNI offers technical strengths in the areas of Nano/Meso/Metamaterials, NanoBioMedicine, NanoPhotonics, and NanoMagnetics. SDNI’s strategic goals are to (1) Provide infrastructure that enables transformative research and education and leverages San Diego’s innovation ecosystem, which includes major research institutes and over 2,000 companies employing more than 60,000 scientists and engineers; (2) Accelerate the translation of discoveries and new nanotechnologies to the marketplace; (3) Become a key contributing member of the NNCI Network to support and advance the nation’s nanotechnology infrastructure, and (4) Collaborate with the California Board of Education and local school districts to develop education and outreach programs to promote STEM efforts in high school and community colleges, especially at schools with high populations of underrepresented minority (URM) students. Because nanotechnology is a foundational technology with applications across disciplines, SDNI will continue to expand its capabilities, optimize its operations, and actively recruit and engage new and nonconventional users to advance discoveries in scientific areas of national priority. In particular, we expect the SDNI will play a crucial role in the advancement of convergent research to help create breakthroughs in areas of human machine interfaces, exploration of the universe, facilitating revolutions based on quantum physics, and enhancing science and technology by broadening participation in STEM. Discoveries made by users of the SDNI will have the potential to create transformative change in fields critical to the future of human society and national interests.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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University of California San Diego
La Jolla
United States
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