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OCR for page 22
5 Overall Conclusions The Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology continues to make significant progress toward meeting its stated objectives of (1) safely and reliably operating a national, shared-use facility for nanoscale fabrication and measurement; (2) developing innovative nanoscale measurement and fabrication capabilities; (3) supporting researchers from industry, academia, NIST, and other government agencies in nanoscale technology from discovery to production; (4) disseminating new nanoscale measurement methods by incorporating them into facility operations, collaborating and partnering with others, and providing international leadership in nanotechnology; and (5) serving as a hub linking the international nanotechnology community to the comprehensive measurement expertise within the NIST laboratories and centers. There has been significant maturation and development of the CNST since the previous review in 2009. The capabilities that were judged to be mature in 2009 continue to be outstanding, especially in terms of the quality and productivity of the staff, the uniqueness of the capabilities, and the alignment with the CNST and NIST mission. Capabilities that were judged to be significantly less mature in 2009 have made significant progress. All of the CNST facilities are among the best in the world, and in many cases they are unique. Staff are of high quality, and their productivity within the CNST is growing impressively. The center is now more or less fully staffed. The NanoFab facility is now an impressive and smoothly running facility that is attracting a wide range of users. Given its state-of-the-art capabilities, it has the potential to draw an even larger user base from across the country. The Nanofabrication Research Group has made significant strides, with research of uniformly high quality. Alignment of the group’s research with its mission continues to evolve. The Energy Research Group is the least mature of the units within the CNST. The group is now staffed with high- quality personnel, although many of the laboratories are still under development. It is expected that this group will continue to coalesce as a unit and increase its focus on the most important problems within its mission space in the coming review period. The CNST will further maximize its impact on U.S. and global nanoscience and nanotechnology by (1) further diversifying the user base for the NanoFab; (2) continuing to increase the CNST focus on industry as its key customer; (3) continuing to manage actively the balance between high-quality science and measurement; (4) continuing to mature the focus and stature of the newer research groups, especially the Energy Research Group; (5) considering the further enhancement of the already-strong professional development of postdoctoral staff by offering opportunities (possibly through partner institutions such as universities) for the staff to learn skills needed for non-academic careers—for example, in entrepreneurship. The Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology is maturing impressively as a state-of- the-art nanoscience and nanotechnology center of excellence aligned with the overall mission of NIST. The program is already impressive in its national and international reach. Given the quality of the facilities and staff in addition to the youth of the organization, the impact of the CNST is expected to continue to grow. 22