Penn’s Singh Center Receives $5 Million NSF Grant to Establish Mid-Atlantic Nanotechnology Hub

The National Science Foundation awarded the University of Pennsylvania’s Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology a five-year, $5 Million grant to establish the Mid-Atlantic Nanotechnology Hub for Research, Education, & Innovation.

As part of its National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure program, the NSF will provide a total of $81 million to 16 “user facilities.” Such facilities allow access to nanotech fabrication and characterization equipment — as well as the relevant expertise — to partner institutions in government, academia, industry and the public at large.

“This grant will increase access to the Singh Center by external users,” said Mark Allen, director of the Singh Center and Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering in Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. “Our goal is to catalyze a nanotech hub, centered here in Philadelphia, by bringing together industry and academic external users and having them interact with Penn facilities and Penn researchers.”

In addition to hosting outside researchers who need the Singh Center’s equipment to image or manipulate atomic and molecular-scale samples, the Center will also host education programs to introduce high school students, college undergraduates, and the Philadelphia area community to nanotechnology. The next generation of nanotechnologists will have the opportunity to participate in Nano Day and Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates programs, view nanotechnology contributions to community outreach programs such as Philly Materials Day and the Philadelphia Science Festival and participate in workforce training activities for nanotechnology technicians carried out in partnership with the Community College of Philadelphia.

Penn’s nanotechnology hub will be part of a nationwide effort to increase access to such research facilities for the public good.  

“NSF’s long-standing investments in nanotechnology infrastructure have helped the research community to make great progress by making research facilities available,” said Pramod Khargonekar, NSF’s assistant director for engineering. “NNCI will serve as a nationwide backbone for nanoscale research, which will lead to continuing innovations and economic and societal benefits.”

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