By Cameron Chai
The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a grant worth $20 million.
UMass Amherst’s Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing (CHM) will provide support for a period of five years to a research centre in the field of nanomanufacturing. Through the grant received by the Foundation, the center will work in tandem with Carpe Diem Technologies of Franklin and develop the roll-to-roll processing facility for nanomanufacturing which includes devices such as batteries, sensors, solar cells and cell phone displays.
A custom manufacturing laboratory has been developed by researchers at CHM to scale up or integrate nanoimprint coating and patterning of self-assembling materials. The core technology is based on chemical synthesis of hybrid materials as well as nanoscale patterns and templates which are based on polymers. The polymers are then coated and specified to assemble into nanoscale structures. The process of designing accurate nanostructures will be applied to functional hybrid material and then combined with nanoimprint lithography (NIL) to manufacture devices based on flexible substrates. The nanoscale feature printing or embossing on a moving web is enabled by the NIL technology.
Created in 2006, CHM received a federal grant worth $16 million and state fund worth $7 million to work in tandem with private manufacturers to boost the economy of the state of Massachusetts as well as boost the business of the industry by getting access to advanced nanotechnology refined and generated by the CHM. The center specializes in the engineering of nanometer-scale components which are 1/1000 times smaller than the cross section of the human hair, to be used in manufacturing device systems.