Governor Baker visits the Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing

Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun joined Mass­a­chu­setts Gov. Charlie Baker at the George J. Kostas Research Insti­tute for Home­land Secu­rity on Tuesday at an event announcing a $3 million grant, which will estab­lish the Advanced Nanoman­u­fac­turing Cluster for Smart Sen­sors and Mate­rials, or ANSSeM, that com­prises research uni­ver­si­ties and pri­vate man­u­fac­turing companies.

The ini­tia­tive will leverage Northeastern’s inno­v­a­tive Nanoscale Offset Printing System, or NanoOPS, a man­u­fac­turing tech­nology pio­neered by the college's NSF Center for High-​​rate Nanoman­u­fac­turing (CHN).  Unveiled in Sep­tember 2014, NanoOPS can print nanoscale sen­sors and devices as small as 20 nanometers—more than 1,000 times thinner than a human hair—on a variety of sur­faces, and 100 to 1,000 times faster than cur­rent inkjet-​​based elec­tronic and 3-​​D printing.

Speakers at Tuesday’s event noted the vast poten­tial for nano­ma­te­rials to advance con­nected technologies—known as the Internet of Things—and rev­o­lu­tionize the sensing industry. This includes poten­tial com­mer­cial appli­ca­tions such as high-​​precision sen­sors used to mon­itor pre­ma­ture babies in hos­pital neonatal units, devices that track water quality, and wear­able devices that mon­itor bio­metric data.

Uni­ver­sity Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor Ahmed Bus­naina, CHN’s director and the William Lin­coln Smith Chair in the Col­lege of Engi­neering, said part of the new funding will be used to pur­chase equip­ment at the Kostas Research Insti­tute for mate­rials char­ac­ter­i­za­tion and testing smart sensor pro­to­types, and to bring two new NanoOPS with enhanced capa­bil­i­ties to the insti­tute. He said the cur­rent NanoOPS prints on plas­tics, but the next-​​generation NanoOPS “will be able to print on any surface.”

“The pos­si­bil­i­ties here are enor­mous,” added Baker, noting the consortium’s role in con­tin­uing to drive inno­va­tion and work­force and eco­nomic devel­op­ment in the com­mon­wealth. He thanked North­eastern “for its lead­er­ship across a wide variety of fields.” He added, “We’re very happy to be part­nering with you.”

The state grant comes from the Mass­a­chu­setts Tech­nology Collaborative’s Col­lab­o­ra­tive Research and Devel­op­ment Matching Grant Pro­gram, and is being matched by nearly $11 mil­lion in out­side funds through this part­ner­ship between acad­emia, industry, and government.

Local Coverage: Boston Globe and the NewBostonPost

Related Faculty: Ahmed Busnaina

Related Departments:Mechanical & Industrial Engineering