Argonne National Laboratory
Nanoscience – A Source of Innovation for the 21st Century
Technological innovation has always driven the search for new strategic materials. Goals are typically described in terms of smaller, lighter, stronger, faster, cheaper…. The idea is to continually achieve incremental improvements to stay on a roadmap, as in following Moore’s Law. In the past, the materials quest has been guided by Edisonian searches, often governed by serendipity, and by top-down miniaturization, which is reaching its limits. The future offers new opportunities, guided by the principles of nanoscience and the bottom-up approach, to ponder entirely new functionalities, such as self-repairing, self-replicating, bio-inspired, adaptive, smart materials and hierarchically self-assembled systems. Given these possibilities and the realization that great science often requires and is driven by great facilities and instrumentation, this talk will introduce the new Department of Energy Nanoscale Science Research Centers that will serve the Nation, region by region, highlighting the Center for Nanoscale Materials that is poised to serve the Midwest. Examples of research themes that address the grand challenges that lie ahead will be used to illustrate the vibrancy of the nanoscience approach to spur a new era of technological innovation.