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$3M Grant Establishes Advanced Nanomanufacturing Cluster for Smart Centers and Materials (CSSM)

The Mass­a­chu­setts Tech­nology Collaborative’s Col­lab­o­ra­tive Research and Devel­op­ment Matching Grant Pro­gram awarded a $3 million grant to Northeastern to estab­lish the Advanced Nanoman­u­fac­turing Cluster for Smart Sen­sors and Mate­rials, or CSSM, which com­prises research uni­ver­si­ties and pri­vate man­u­fac­turing companies.

Advanced Nanomanufacturing has vast potential to advance con­nected technologies, known as the internet of things, and rev­o­lu­tionize the sensing industry. This includes poten­tial com­mer­cial appli­ca­tions such as high- precision miniature wireless sen­sors used to mon­itor pre­ma­ture babies in hos­pital neonatal units, wearable sensors for health and fitness that tracks biomarkers such as glucose, lactate or other biometrics, and sensors that track water quality.

The ini­tia­tive will leverage Northeastern’s inno­v­a­tive Nanoscale Offset Printing System, or NanoOPS, a man­u­fac­turing tech­nology pio­neered by the College’s NSF Center for High- Rate Nanoman­u­fac­turing (CHN), led by Ahmed Bus­naina University Distinguished Professor and the William Lin­coln Smith Chair in the Col­lege of Engi­neering. NanoOPS can print nanoscale sen­sors and devices as small as 20 nanometers—more than 10,000 times thinner than a human hair—on a variety of sur­faces, and 100 to 1,000 times faster than cur­rent ink jet- based elec­tronic and 3- D printing.

Part of the new funding will be used to establish infrastructure for mate­rials char­ac­ter­i­za­tion and testing smart sensor pro­to­types, and to build generation 2 and generation 3 NanoOPS with enhanced capa­bil­i­ties to the insti­tute, including the ability print on any surface. The grant is being matched by nearly $11 mil­lion in out­side funds through this part­ner­ship between acad­emia, industry, and government.

In collaboration wtih:

Chesterton, DIC Corporation, DRAPER, FLEX, GE, MOXTEK, NASA, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Renesas Electronic, Milara, NBMC, Rogers Corporation, Tufts University, University of Massachusetts Boston and U.S. Air Force.


Proposed Cluster Activities

  1. Design, develop and manufacture product prototypes based on technologies using smart sensors and advanced materials.
  2. Improve physical infrastructure, including purchase of instruments and equipment for materials characterization and testing of products
  3. Design and Build 2nd generation NanoOPS that had the ability to print on any substrate.
  4. Workforce development, such as seminars and workforce training programs to introduce and expose highly educated work force that are currently out of the job market.
  5. Study advanced materials and product life cycle sustainability to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations.