Howard University is requesting CREST resources for proposed CREST Phase 2, operation as the CREST Nanoscale Analytical Sciences Research and Education Center. In Phase 2 the CREST Center focuses on four basic Subproject areas including: (1) the characterization and measurement of the molecular composition and structural factors dictating the unique physicochemical properties of nanomaterials, (2) surface enhanced separation, identification and metrology of nanomolecular species in complex systems, (3) the fabrication and characterization of nanostructured materials and films for nanoscale separation, high resolution microscopy and infrared detection, and (4) development and transfer of education technology utilizing nanomaterials and nanodevice technology as tools. This research has the intellectual merit of providing the basic knowledge for elucidating chemistry at the nanoscale, and creates the analytical chemistry knowledge-base underpinning advances in nanotechnology. The rationale for the above focus of activities is that for the foreseeable future, nanoscience and engineering will continue to create frontiers for interdisciplinary research in nanomaterials, bionanotechnology, environmental science, and nanoelectronics. Executing leading-edge research in these areas will require analytical chemistry research as a pivotal discipline for advancement. Research outputs will be integrated with education to develop a modernized nanoscale analytical sciences doctoral program to provide the broader impact of educating future generations of minority characterization scientists for careers in the US nanotechnology enterprise. The CREST Center?s strategic plan for sustainment beyond Phase 2 is the continued validation of its pivotal role in the accomplishment of Howard University?s major education and research goals. This achievement is providing momentum for underpinning the launching of a Howard University NanoTechnology Initiative, which targets the provision of funding beyond NSF Phase 2. The strategy also includes expanding multi-year research funded partnerships with corporations; obtaining intellectual property in subproject areas; and initiating CREST faculty participation in SBIR programs.
The CREST Nanoscale Analytical Sciences Research & Education Center at Howard University has impacted nanoscience research, enhanced collaborations with corporations, advanced STEM education and outreach, and developed STEM manpower. First, nanotechnology research, having gained recognition as one of the leading multidisciplinary programs on the Howard University campus, influenced the decision to construct a new Interdisciplinary Science Building, which is scheduled for completion by Fall 2014. The new building will significantly expand space for collaborative research in the nanosciences and other multidisciplinary areas. Additionally, Howard's research branding, broadened specifically by outputs of the CREST- National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN), allowed the acquisition of a partnership within the new Science and Technology Center (STC) for Quantum Interface Materials, which is led by Harvard-Howard-MIT.Another major research output includes a multiyear research agreement, inaugurated by collaborations between the CREST Center and a major Corporate Contractor for Defense Agencies. The agreement, renewed recently for a third term (3 yrs.), has expanded into a university-wide multidisciplinary research program. The sponsored research in nanoscience spans the range from high sensitivity nanometer photon array sensors, multi-wavelength infrared detection technology, high temperature ceramic nanomaterials, to nanomaterial enhanced lubricants. This research has led to the filing/granting of four patents. Actions of CREST faculty and staff have advanced the undergraduate STEM curriculum at Howard University. For example, the CREST Associate Director for Integration of Research and Education (ADIRE), working collaboratively with faculty in the Department of Chemistry, utilized research outcomes of the Center to develop unique laboratory and lecture modules for enhancing the undergraduate curriculum in chemistry. Examples include designs of nanoscience and nanotechnology modules for use in general chemistry through physical chemistry. By using the new modules, 200 undergraduate chemistry majors were involved in lectures with basic concepts exemplified by nanoscience principles. Additionally, CREST PIâ€™s conceptualized and taught one of the most popular STEM elective courses for undergraduates, "Frontiers in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology." This full year, 3 credit hour course, accommodates about thirty students per semester, and constitutes a major instrument for creating excitement about STEM. The course currently has four laboratory modules, Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Tunneling Electron Microscopy (TEM), and Photolithography. A new laboratory module that demonstrates the growth and characterization of graphene was introduced in the spring of 2013.CREST Center programs have exemplified the leadership role that the university sector has in systemically improving K-12 STEM education. The staff of the center established strong K-12 networks with public schools in the VA-MD-DC area, and executed pilot projects with middle schools to stimulate interest in STEM. First, an across-the-board partnership, established with the Howard University Middle School for Math and Science (MS)2, was utilized to expose science teachers and students to the use of NX design software to create hardware solutions for practical problems identified by the students. The hardware design solution was then prototyped/developed using 3D printing techniques. This Howard project utilized graduate students to lead middle school student teams during a four-week summer program culminating in a visit to a manufacturing plant. This "student teaching student" module was extremely successful at Howard, and subsequently expanded into a twelve-week Saturday Morning Academy. In the latter case, the CREST Director of Outreach collaborated with Montgomery County Community College to involve 50 middle school students in the use of design software, 3D printing, and robotics hardware assembly. The process is repeatable and scalable using a "student teaching student" model. Additionally, key contacts with K-12 schools in Prince Georgeâ€™s County, derived through the Board of Education, have placed the CREST Center in a strategic position to expand STEM stimulating programs in this district as well. Also, ongoing interactions are occurring with 2 pre-eminent high schools, Benjamin Banneker High School and the Washington Mathematics Science Technology Public Charter High School, in the District of Columbia.The center sustained one of the largest STEM research teams at Howard during the period of the grant. The research group consisting of 4 PIâ€™s, 2 visiting professors, 9 research associates, 5 post-doctorates, 17 Ph.D. and 13 M.S. graduate students were supported by leveraging funding from the University, other agencies, and corporations. Additionally, more than 39 undergraduates, including REU participants, were advised and/or supervised in research.Demographically, the center has contributed to increasing underrepresented minorities in the STEM workforce. The PIâ€™s are all 100% BM and US citizens. The visiting professors,1 BM and 1 BF are both US citizens. Among the 9 research staff (five with Ph.D.â€™s), there are 3 BM and 2 BF (all US citizens) ,while the 4 holders of Masterâ€™s degrees constitute 3 BM US citizens and 1 AM (I). The graduate students supported during this period were 5 BM (US),9 BF (US), 7 BM (I),8 BF (I), and 1AM (US). Demographics include 12 BM, 17BF, 1 AM, with the respective US/I ratio being 50%.