The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science supports a broad range of pioneering research in nanoscale science and engineering to benefit the agency’s missions of advancing the energy, economic and national security of the United States, promoting scientific and technological innovation, and ensuring environmental cleanup of the national nuclear weapons complex. These programs represent the frontiers of discovery in materials science, physics, chemistry, biology, computational science, and engineering, and are expected to significantly advance future technologies in areas such as solar energy collection and conversion, energy-efficient lighting, stronger and lighter materials for transportation, improved chemical and biological sensing, low-energy catalytic pathways for fuel and chemical production and to break down toxic substances for environmental restoration, and advanced systems for stockpile stewardship. The discovery of new phenomena and materials will also lead to as yet unanticipated technologies.
The majority of DOE support for nanoscale science and engineering research is managed by DOE’s Office of Science, with additional support from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Office of Fossil Energy, and the Office of Nuclear Energy. DOE supports nanoscale science and engineering research activities in university, industry, and DOE laboratories. In addition, the Office of Science supports five recently-established DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers, user facilities that provide access to leading-edge synthesis, characterization, and computational tools and scientific expertise for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale.
DOE’s activities in nanoscale science and engineering research and technology development are coordinated with other Federal government agencies through participation in the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). The NNI was established in fiscal year 2001 to coordinate Federal nanotechnology research and development activities across agencies and DOE has actively participated in the NNI since its inception. Nanotechnology has a vitally important role to play in addressing the nation’s energy, climate change and national security challenges. DOE maintains a strong commitment to the initiative, which has served as an effective and valuable way to spotlight needs and target resources in this critical area of science and technology.