Engineering at Nebraska, Spring 2008
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UNL Earns $8.1 Million NSF Grant for Nanotechnology Research Center

The university has received an $8.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and its nanotechnology research through 2014.

UNL's center focuses on quantum and spin phenomena in nanomagnetic structures and is one of 26 such elite Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers in the nation. This grant continues support for the interdisciplinary research by UNL scientists and engineers associated with the center, which was established in 2002 with a $5.4 million NSF grant.

"Grants for these centers are extremely competitive. Our continued success is indicative of the high quality of our faculty's research. They've put UNL on the map in the exciting field of nanomagnetics," said UNL chancellor Harvey Perlman.

Prem Paul, UNL vice chancellor for research and economic development, noted: "We expect UNL's growing nanotechnology expertise and the center's ongoing work with industry will lead to additional partnerships that benefit Nebraska's economy."

The center includes 20 UNL faculty from the departments of chemical and biomolecular engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, physics and astronomy, chemistry, and one physicist from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Jeff Shield, professor and interim chair of the Department Mechanical Engineering, is involved via the Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience. Shield said applications of this research include "magnetic data storage and energy technologies, among others ... things that may find their way into consumer products in five or 10 years."

"The grant also involves education and outreach programs, the most unique being one that brings in faculty paired with an undergraduate student from predominantly undergraduate institutions for a summer of research," shield added.

"The groundwork for this grant ... is a culture of collaborative research within the materials community at UNL that was developed over many years, with the ultimate goal of being recognized as a world leader in magnetism research," shield concluded. "We are excited to be recognized in this way and look forward to the research, education and outreach possibilities made possible by this grant."

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