2 years ago is having a positive impact through enhanced collaboration. It is anticipated that further benefits of the reorganization will continue to emerge.
Breadth of Responsibility
One of the greatest challenges for the NIST Next-Generation Materials Measurements, Modeling, and Simulation program is covering the entire intellectual space of materials used in all manufacturing industries. Certainly the panel’s review could not address all of the relevant programs at NIST in the time available; it was more important to ensure that the quality of what is done remains high rather than to cover all areas. Generally, NIST management has done an excellent job in starting to define programs that relate to U.S. manufacturing sectors, from high-volume automotive and infrastructure needs to high-value aerospace and electronics industries. Of course, at the foundation for all of these is the metrology focus in which NIST has been a clear leader for decades.
Coordination of the Next-Generation Materials program represents an opportunity to develop synergistic research efforts; it is noted that today some groups still appear to be working independently of one another. Elements of fundamental first-principles materials characterization, nanoscale materials development, and smart nanoscale process development can be found in the development of key materials systems. A few examples of such nanoengineered surfaces include the following: low-cost, high-volume, infrared thin-film reflective coatings for glass; engineered thin-film-based lithium-ion batteries scalable for high-volume manufacturing; unique organometallic surfaces to control corrosion, adhesion, and friction; and thermal electric devices with high ZT and non-rate-limiting interfaces.
The recommendations for the Next-Generation Materials Measurements, Modeling, and Simulation area are as follows:
1. As NIST continues its healthy collaboration with industry, its increasing focus on advanced manufacturing should proceed with additional recognition of industrial needs. Most of the projects in the area of Next-Generation Materials Measurements, Modeling, and Simulation should be market-driven, that is, based on market pull rather than on technology push. In establishing its technical portfolio, NIST should continue to seek strong partnerships with industrial consortia when these exist.
2. In establishing its technical portfolio in the area of Next-Generation Materials Measurements, Modeling, and Simulation, NIST should continue to seek strong partnerships with industrial consortia when these exist.
3. NIST’s key manufacturing researchers should visit several manufacturing facilities each year in order to broaden their understanding of the real-world manufacturing environment.
4. NIST should define the research projects in the Next-Generation Materials Measurements, Modeling, and Simulation area, and it should do this by direct understanding of the challenges facing industry and by helping to transfer knowledge across industries.