WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 -- President Bush signed the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act into law this week, authorizing funding for nanotechnology research and development (R&D) over four years, starting in fiscal year 2005. The legislation puts into law programs and activities supported by the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), one of the President’s highest multi-agency R&D priorities.
The new law specifies a major role for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It requires the director of NIST to "establish a research program on the development and manufacture of nanotechnology, including metrology, reliability and quality assurance, processes control and manufacturing best practices and to utilize the Manufacturing Extension Partnership to disseminate the results of the program."
Nanotechnology research has been a priority for the Administration for the last three years, the White House said. Overall funding for nanotechnology research has increased by 83 percent since 2001. For fiscal year 2004, the President requested $849 million for nanotechnology R&D across 10 federal agencies -- a 10 percent increase over the amount requested in 2003.
According to a White House press release, "Nanotechnology offers the promise of breakthroughs that will revolutionize the way we detect and treat disease, monitor and protect the environment, produce and store energy and build complex structures as small as an electronic circuit or as large as an airplane. Nanotechnology is expected to have a broad and fundamental impact on many sectors of the economy, leading to new products, new businesses, new jobs and even new industries."
Nanotechnology is the ability to work at the atomic and molecular levels, corresponding to lengths of approximately 1 to 100 nanometers, or 1/100,000th the diameter of a human hair. Nanotechnology is not merely the study of small things; it is the research and development of materials, devices and systems that exhibit physical, chemical and biological properties that are different from those found at larger scales.
For more information, visit: www.house.gov/science