The University of Wisconsin-Madison Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center in Templated Synthesis and Assembly at the Nanoscale, funded by the National Science Foundation, addresses grand challenges associated with directed assembly of nanoscale materials into functional systems and architectures through the use of self-assembly, chemical patterning, and external fields. Public dialogue, analysis of governmental regulation, and environmental health and safety research are integral components of the Center. The NSEC operates an ambitious and unique education and outreach program aimed at cultivating the next generation of nanoscale science and engineering experts with diverse and interdisciplinary backgrounds.
- Thrust 1: Directed Assembly of Block Copolymer Materialsexplores and develops new materials and processes for advanced lithography, in which self-assembling block copolymers are directed to adopt morphologies that advance the performance of nanomanufacturing processes.
- Thrust 2: Sequence-Directed Assembly of Organic Nanostructures explores directed assembly at the nanoscale through the synthesis of biologically-inspired organic nanostructures in which functional side-chains display unique ordering, in terms of both sequence along a backbone and three-dimensional arrangement in space.
- Thrust 3: Driven Assembly at the Nanoscale explores and harnesses non-equilibrium processes, including the use of external fields, for manipulating the assembly of nanoscale objects, including particles and macromolecules.
- Thrust 4: Environmental Health and Safety Implications of Nanotechnology elucidates the toxicity of nanomaterials and their environmental fate.
- The Societal Implications Group analyzes the potential of the online environment for effective public communication and engagement in nanomaterials related issues.
- The Educational Outreach Group develops new scaleable teaching and learning programs, methods, and communities, aimed at cultivating a diverse next generation of nanoscientists and engineers.
- The NSEC Shared Facilities are remarkable in their scope and their reach; they include one of the most advanced lithographic tools in the nation, and characterization facilities (including a new soft materials laboratory) that provide internal and external users from academia and industry with access to world-class instrumentation.