NNCI: Nebraska Nanoscale Facility (NNF)
The Nebraska Nanoscale Facility (NNF) at the University of Nebraska will provide a regional center of excellence for instrumentation and service in nanoscience and nanotechnology to the NNCI. It will contribute to the United States research and educational infrastructure for transformative advances in the fabrication, understanding and utilization of novel nanostructures, materials and devices. These structures and devices play an increasingly critical role in contemporary technologies including ultraminiaturization in information processing, digital communications, energy processing, sensors for threat detection, and biomedicine. Special attention will be given to serving the nanotechnology needs of educational institutions and industry in the western region of the United States Midwest. NNF will significantly enhance economic development through industrial collaborations, spin-offs, materials analyses, and tech-transfer to companies. National impact will result from interactions and collaborations with the newly developing Nebraska Innovation Campus and the National Security Research Institute at the University of Nebraska. A strong education-outreach program at NNF is focused on increasing diversity through summer research experiences for students and professor-student pairs, after school middle-school programs, community-college programs, minicourses, and others. In addition, education and outreach efforts will be pursued with Native Americans and tribal colleges in Nebraska associated with the Winnebago, Santee Dakota, and Omaha tribes.
NNF will build upon the established Central Facilities of the Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience to strongly galvanize research and education in nanotechnology in Nebraska and the region. The Central and Shared Laboratory Facilities include: Nanofabrication Cleanroom, Nanomaterials and Thin-Film Preparation, Nanoengineered Materials and Structures, Electron Microscopy, X-ray Structural Characterization, Scanning Probe and Materials Characterization, Low-Dimensional Nanostructure Synthesis, and Laser Nanofabrication and Characterization. Most of these facilities are housed in the 32,000 sq. ft. Voelte-Keegan Nanoscience Research Center that was completed in 2012 and funded by major grants from the National Institute for Standards and Technology and the University of Nebraska Foundation. The research in NNF is bolstered by strong research groups in nanoscale electronics, magnetism, and materials and structures for energy. NNF in turn will reinforce several centers and focused research programs including the Nebraska NSF-MRSEC: Polarization and Spin Phenomena in Nanoferroic Structures, DOE-EERE Consortium on Magnetic Materials, SRC-NIST Center for Ferroic Devices, NSF-Center for Nanohybrid Materials, and others. These programs have many national and international collaborators that will add vitality to and provide a broad base of users for the NNF. Hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral research associates, and visiting scientists and engineers from companies will benefit each year from the state-of-the-art facilities in NNF.