North­eastern University’s Nanoscale Sci­ence and Engi­neering Center for High-​​rate Nanoman­u­fac­turing (CHN) has received a $2 mil­lion grant to help com­mer­cialize nan­otech­nology and put smaller, more energy effi­cient elec­tronic devices in the hands of con­sumers more quickly.

The five-​​year grant, funded by the John Adams Inno­va­tion Insti­tute — a divi­sion of the Mass­a­chu­setts Tech­nology Col­lab­o­ra­tive (MTC) — will sup­port the center’s cutting-​​edge research and help it com­mer­cialize its nanoman­u­fac­turing technologies.

CHN researchers are cur­rently working on the tech­nology to develop and man­u­fac­ture cancer-​​detecting nanobiosen­sors; high-​​powered bat­teries; and flex­ible, light­weight elec­tronics, such as cell phones and laptop computers.

Nan­otech­nology is pro­jected to be a $1 tril­lion industry by 2015, according to the National Sci­ence Foun­da­tion, and the MTC grant will help foster an envi­ron­ment of col­lab­o­ra­tion between Mass­a­chu­setts industry and acad­emia in the nan­otech­nology arena and speed up com­mer­cial development.

We have a tremen­dous oppor­tu­nity to bring com­pa­nies and their exper­tise to the table to put the com­mer­cial­iza­tion wheels in motion,” said Ahmed Bus­naina, CHN director and the William Lin­coln Smith Pro­fessor of Mechan­ical and Indus­trial Engi­neering. “Large and small com­pa­nies each have unique skills and tech­nolo­gies to offer, and these col­lab­o­ra­tions could lead to tremen­dous inno­va­tions in nan­otech­nology product development.”

Sev­eral work­shops and edu­ca­tional ses­sions will be held to pro­vide the center’s researchers with the essen­tial tools to create and foster long-​​term indus­trial part­ner­ships. The grant will also enable CHN to col­lab­o­rate with small– to mid-​​size com­pa­nies in the Com­mon­wealth and assist them with com­mer­cial­iza­tion. Matching funds will be avail­able to leverage the tech­nology and allow smaller com­pa­nies an oppor­tu­nity to carve a niche in the emerging nan­otech­nology field.

The Commonwealth’s research uni­ver­si­ties have made out­standing progress in nanoscale sci­ence and tech­nology research, and in direc­tions that have the poten­tial to trans­form many indus­tries in which the state is already a leader,” said Pat Larkin, director of MTC’s John Adams Inno­va­tion Insti­tute. “By enabling novel forms of university-​​industry col­lab­o­ra­tion, this award is one more step to har­ness cutting-​​edge research to dis­cover new appli­ca­tions and busi­ness opportunities.”

Estab­lished in 2004, CHN now has more than 160 researchers and staff mem­bers working on devel­oping nanoscale processes and appli­ca­tions. Its aca­d­emic part­ners — the Uni­ver­sity of New Hamp­shire and the Uni­ver­sity of Mass­a­chu­setts Lowell — will also ben­efit from the oppor­tu­ni­ties pro­vided by this grant.