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For Immediate Release
December 22, 2003

At the Nanoscale: Georgia Tech to be Part of 13-University National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network Funded by National Science Foundation

The Georgia Institute of Technology will be among 13 U.S. universities participating in the new National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) announced December 22 by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The network will be an integrated, nationwide system of user facilities to support research and education in nanometer-scale science, engineering and technology.

Nanoscience researcher Z.L. Wang holds precursor materials for nanometer-scale structures known as "nanobelts." Wang described the structures in a paper published in the journal Science.
Georgia Tech Photo: Gary Meek

Led by Cornell University, the NNIN will enable students and researchers from any school in the United States – as well as scientists from U.S. corporate and government laboratories – to have open access to resources they need for studying molecular and higher length-scale materials and processes, and for applying them in a variety of structures, devices and systems.

The $70 million network is expected to begin operation in January 2004 for a five-year period.

Georgia Tech will share its nanotechnology fabrication resources – including a new system capable of creating nanometer-scale features – and lead the network’s education and outreach efforts, said James Meindl, director of Georgia Tech’s Microelectronics Research Center.

“Georgia Tech is installing a $4 million electron-beam nanolithography system that will allow etching of patterns at the nano-scale,” he said. “This critical tool, funded by the Georgia Research Alliance, will facilitate advances in bio-electronics, nanotechnology and advanced microelectronics. The system, one of only a few such university-based instruments in the nation, will be available to NNIN partner institutions along with skilled personnel to operate it.”

The NNIN’s outreach and education effort will focus on K-12, undergraduate and professional education, Meindl noted. “Georgia Tech brings to the network strengths in engineering education and outreach, and we anticipate close collaboration with our sister sites on such key issues as diversity and minority education,” he said.

The new National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network will include a $4 million electron beam nanolithography system being installed at Georgia Tech, says James Meindl, director of Georgia Tech's Microelectronics Research Center.
Georgia Tech Photo: Stanley Leary 

The new network was approved by the National Science Board, the 24-member policy advisory body of the National Science Foundation.

“The network will be an investment of at least $70 million under NSF’s nanoscale science and engineering priority area,” said Lawrence Goldberg, NSF senior engineering advisor. “NNIN expands significantly beyond the current capabilities of the five university National Nanofabrication Users Network (NNUN) that is concluding its ten-year life span this year.”

In addition to Cornell and Georgia Tech, the network will include Harvard University, Howard University, North Carolina State University, Pennsylvania State University, Stanford University, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, the University of New Mexico, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Washington.

“By assembling and offering to share our specialized resources with any and all qualified users, we have created the world’s largest, most comprehensive and accessible nanotechnology laboratory,” said Sandip Tiwari, the Cornell electrical engineering professor who will serve as director of the NNIN.

The network will not only provide users across the nation with access to leading-edge tools and instruments, but will contribute to the development of a new workforce skilled in nanotechnology and the latest laboratory techniques.

“NNIN will implement, on a national scale, innovation in education that will impact all levels from professional through K-12, include outreach efforts to non-traditional users, reach underrepresented groups, and disseminate knowledge to the wider technical community and public,” Goldberg explained. “It will also develop the intellectual and institutional capacity needed to examine and address societal and ethical implications of nanotechnology.”

Announcement of the NNIN follows the October 22 announcement by Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue of plans for a new Nanotechnology Research Center at Georgia Tech. The facility would be funded by $36 million from a private donor and up to $45 million in state money.

To be located at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Ferst Drive, the center would be the most advanced nanotechnology research facility in the southeast, the first of its kind in the region, and among the most sophisticated in the country. The 160,000-square-foot facility will include 30,000 square feet of clean room space.

Georgia Institute of Technology
177 North Avenue NW
Atlanta, Georgia 30332 USA

1) Georgia Tech:

2) National Science Foundation: M. Mitchell Waldrop (703-292-7752); E-mail: (

1) Georgia Tech: Jame Meindl (404-894-5101); E-mail: (

2) National Science Foundation: Lawrence S. Goldberg (703-292-8339); E-mail: (