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Report from the National Science Foundation Workshop: Research Challenges for Integrated Nanomanufacturing Systems, February 10 - 11, 2008

Written by: 
Jeff Morse, Ph.D.

The report from the NSF Workshop on Integrated Nanomanufacturing Systems is now available. The two-day workshop brought together approximately 25 leading experts to identify key issues for manufacturing of nanotechnology-enabled products and to begin the process of categorizing specific concerns for individual product technologies and segments.

The goal of this workshop was to elucidate the key research challenges facing Integrated Systems Nanomanufacturing, thereby providing a roadmap of the near term and long term focus areas that must be addressed. In prioritizing these challenges, needs for systems nanomanufacturing were emphasized, including

  • Understanding the mechanisms and patterns of integrated system behavior as a function of components, interaction forces, and networks at the nanoscale;
  • Considering the scalability of systems having large numbers of nanocomponents and non-linear interactions;
  • Establishing reliable, reproducible and economically viable means of assembling arrays of nanoscale components, effectuating their deterministic placement and integrating the nanostructures with device architectures that span multiple length scales.  This must be achieved on application appropriate manufacturing platforms ranging from wafer based batch processing to high speed, low cost roll-roll manufacturing platforms.
  • Determining the tools required for measuring, simulating, and manufacturing of engineered nanosystems;
  • Establishing the framework for product lifecycle and environmental health and safety controls addressing emerging functions of integrated nanosystems with potential use in consumer products, energy, medical treatments, the food industry, and other areas that will be most impacted by nanomanufacturing systems.

The workshop also addressed the theory of systems-level behavior of integrated nanosystems, including how nanoscale phenomena ultimately affect the characteristics and operability of macroscale systems.

The challenges facing integrated systems nanomanufacturing represent an inherently multi-disciplinary set of problems addressing issues for working with structures in the 1-100 nm regime that must combine the range of top-down and bottom-up processes available in order to provide multi-scale systems integration. To achieve the necessary economy of scale for large-scale production, new concepts and principles must be envisioned providing revolutionary approaches, thereby extending the capabilities of existing manufacturing and infrastructure. A cross-section of scientific disciplines is contributing to the greater understanding and control of nanoscale phenomena—physics, chemistry, biology, material and information sciences, engineering, and polymer science. The collective knowledge of these disciplines will redefine the relationships between materials, processes and property phenomena, allowing for the creation of novel nanomanufacturing techniques. Those techniques will help to bridge the manufacturing gap between the innovations of the research laboratory and the economic viability of nanotechnology.

The critical challenges for systems nanomanufacturing are the need to control assembly of three-dimensional heterogeneous systems, to process nanoscale structures in high-rate/high-volume applications without compromising their inherent properties, and to ensure the long-term reliability of nanostructures through testing and metrics. These challenges reflect the need for research in the characterization of nanomaterials and nanoparticles as the building-blocks of nanostructures and in the fabrication and synthesis of both top-down and bottom-up processes. Further, they require advanced instrumentation to characterize and measure nanostructures in order to provide predictive simulation of nanostructure behavior, and to contribute to the design and integration of nanodevices and systems. Finally, knowledge sharing and outreach is a challenge to be overcome to enable technology transfer and to contribute to public awareness of nanotechnologies.


Research Challenges for Integrated Systems Nanomanufacturing
Agenda and Presentaton material from the report.