A milestone in scientific cooperation between the United
States and the European Commission (EC) will boost the growing
field of materials research at the nanoscale. The National
Science Foundation (NSF) and the EC have expanded a program of
workshops and funding of mutual research goals in materials
science, to include nanotechnology.

“The creation and modification of materials at the
nanoscale, once the stuff of science fiction, will be a critical
factor in shaping future technologies,” Lance Haworth, executive
officer of NSF’s Materials Research Division, said in announcing
the collaboration. “Because of the emerging nature of the field, the benefits from international collaboration could be
significant.”

Under the cooperative program, research goals will be
determined jointly by U.S. and European researchers. NSF grants
will support the U.S. side of research teams in areas such as
surface structure and thin films, carbon nanotubes and the role
of defects in materials. The EC will fund the Europeans’
participation.

Four joint workshops are planned for 2002, following up on an initial workshop in 2000 to identify opportunities for
nanoscale research:

  • “Nanomanufacturing and Processing,” San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jan. 5-7, will explore processes and techniques for design, modeling, tooling and fabrication of devices and materials.
  • “Nanotechnology–Revolutionary Opportunities and Societal
    Implications,” Lecce, Italy, Jan. 31-Feb. 1, will highlight U.S. and European “roadmaps” for nanotechnology and impacts of the field for society and various industries.

  • “Instrumentation and Tools for Nanotechnology,” Grenoble,
    France, June 12-14, will examine tools, instruments and devices needed for nanoscale manufacturing.

  • “Nanostructured Materials,” Boston, Mass., Dec. 5-6, will
    review developments in metals, polymers, ceramics and other
    advanced materials.

The collaborative research awards and joint workshops are being carried out under an agreement signed in December 1999 to cooperate in materials research and education. That agreement, an implementing arrangement under the U.S.-EC Science and Technology Agreement of 1998, establishes the framework for
collaboration in areas such as the understanding of fundamental
materials phenomena, materials synthesis and characterization,
and the properties, processing and fabrication of advanced
materials.

International cooperation in materials research and
nanotechnology helps advance NSF’s goals to facilitate U.S.
access to worldwide research, optimize U.S. investments in the
global environment, foster the development of an internationally
competitive work force and carry out the National Nanotechnology
Initiative. In Europe, the cooperation furthers an EC program on competitive and sustainable growth.

NSF’s Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Directorate for Engineering and Division of International Programs will participate in the nanotechnology collaboration with Europe.