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Consortium Gets $1.4M to Develop Nanomaterials
Nov 2006
HOUSTON, Nov. 6, 2006 -- The Texas-based Consortium for Nanomaterials for Aerospace Commerce and Technology (CONTACT) has received $1.4 million from the US Department of Defense to develop and commercialize new nanomaterials for the defense aerospace industry.

CONTACT includes Rice University, The University of Texas at Austin, the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas at Brownsville, the University of Texas Pan American and the University of Houston. CONTACT researchers will partner with the Air Force Research Laboratory's Materials and Manufacturing Directorate (AFRL/ML) in Dayton, Ohio, to develop and rapidly commercialize next-generation composites and smart materials for the Air Force.

The new consortium will have a steering committee made up of the vice presidents for research and an executive committee of the directors of nanotechnology centers at each of the participating universities. The consortium executive committee will be chaired by Paul Barbara, director of the Center for Nano and Molecular Science and Technology at The University of Texas Austin.

CONTACT builds on a four-year federal investment in nanotechnology research infrastructure at the partner institutions, officials said. That program, the Strategic Partnership for Research in Nanotechnology (SPRING), received $37.5 million to spend on critical equipment and infrastructure at the seven partner schools.

Jack Agee, who served most recently as director of physics and electronics at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, is CONTACT's new executive director and will be housed at Rice. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

"SPRING and CONTACT are precisely the kind of federal-state partnerships that the US needs in order to insure that the nation's investment in nanotechnology pays off in the form of better jobs, improved national security and a stronger economy," said Wade Adams, director of Rice's Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.

Under its research program, CONTACT will: establish an industrial partnership for transferring technology to the private sector and into the Air Force and DoD systems; form an intellectual property management team with industry; develop a network of commercialization business partners; spend one-third of its appropriations on research and development equipment and infrastructure, develop nanomanufacturing platforms to move the technologies into military applications and commercial products; and integrate education and research programs in aerospace technologies in collaboration with University of Texas Pan American and University of Texas Brownsville's Nano-at-the-Border Program.

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The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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