New nanotech center in Texas to focus on innovations at the atomic level

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AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin will get an $18.5 million federal grant for a new engineering research center that will focus on turning advances in nanoscience into innovations.

With grant money from the National Science Foundation, the University of Texas will work with two other universities and several industrial partners on nanotechnologies that could yield foldable laptops, implantable medical devices and wearable sensors. / Ricardo B. Brazziell /American-Statesman

The Austin American-Statesman reports that the National Science Foundation announced Monday the grant that will be paid over the next five years, with $13.5 million staying at UT and about $5 million to be split between its two academic partners, the University of California, Berkeley and the University of New Mexico.

The center will be known as Nanomanufacturing Systems for Mobile Computing and Mobile Energy Technologies, or NASCENT. Nanoscience is the science of manipulating materials on an atomic or molecular scale.

The center’s projects are likely to include development of silicon nano-wires that could increase the storage capacity of batteries, technologies for reducing energy use by cellphones and methods for producing “rollable” batteries that could conform to various shapes, said S.V. Sreenivasan, a professor of mechanical engineering and co-principal investigator for NASCENT.

Other applications could include implantable devices for treating diabetes and goggles for surfing the Web.

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