By Trevor Thornton, NCI-SW Director

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the NCI-SW has been renewed for a further 5 years with a number of exciting new changes. Chief amongst these is our collaboration with the Center for Materials Interfaces in Research and Applications, or ¡MIRA! at Northern Arizona University (NAU). This new inter-disciplinary materials science initiative is focused on the development of functional materials through the exploration of materials interfaces. Users of the ¡MIRA! Center have access to capabilities and expertise in characterization and modeling of hard and soft materials.  The ¡MIRA! Focus includes in-situ scanning probe microscopies, modeling and simulation of light-matter interactions as well as quantum training in areas such as quantum information. An example of the very topical work being carried out by the NAU faculty under the NCI-SW umbrella is provided at the end of this newsletter.

The other new initiative for the renewal period is adding the Advanced Electronics and Photonics (AEP) core facility under the NCI-SW umbrella. The AEP is housed in a 250,000 ft2 manufacturing facility originally built by Motorola. It offers state-of-the-art capabilities in semiconductor processing, solar cell manufacturing and flexible electronics in a 43,000 ft2 cleanroom. The building is currently home to ASU faculty labs and start-ups. Other occupants include equipment manufacturers who enhance the AEP toolset. The AEP core supports prototype and low volume manufacturing, including an industry standard photovoltaics pilot line.

With the new funding, all of us at the NCI-SW look forward to supporting the nanotechnology needs of users across the Southwest and beyond.