Monday, July 15, 2024

AFRL and Rice University Collaborate to Open International Center

AFRL Opens International Center at Rice University

AFRL Opens International Center at Rice University for Nanotechnology Research

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has taken a significant step forward in nanotechnology research with the kickoff meeting for the new International Research Innovation in Nanotechnology (RISING) Center at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Ajit Roy, senior materials engineer at AFRL, highlighted the importance of the collaboration with India’s Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO) and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur in formulating this four-way partnership with Rice University. This collaboration aims to increase the availability of rare nanomaterials technology and strengthen scientific and manufacturing ties between the U.S. and India.

Nanomaterial composites, at about 100,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, offer numerous benefits such as adding strength without extra weight and enhancing the performance of various technologies including sensors, circuits, and computer chips.

The RISING Center will focus on five nano manufacturing technical areas identified by the AFRL US-India Nano Manufacturing Working Group. These areas address specific needs of AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing, Sensors, and Munitions directorates, including thin-film crystalline growth process scale up, device contacts of tailored properties, and 2D materials process scale up.

Dr. Nicholas Glavin, another senior materials engineer at AFRL, emphasized the diverse potential applications of nanomaterials across different technologies and the need to leverage the center to address manufacturing challenges.

The establishment of the RISING Center aligns with the U.S. Air Force/Space Force Science and Technology 2030 Strategy, which emphasizes strengthening international partnerships in science and technology development. This collaboration also supports the Department of Defense’s initiative on Critical Emerging Technology for boosting electronics manufacturing capability.

Rice University was selected as the location for the RISING Center due to its expertise in 2-D nanotechnology and its role as a hub for international innovation and scientific exchange between the U.S. and India. The center will serve as a platform for workforce development and expediting the development of technology through international partnerships.

AFRL scientists and engineers will work with international students and collaborators at Rice University and IIT Kanpur on five projects focusing on sensors for human health monitoring, high purity 2D materials growth, conformal and flexible electronics, and energy harvesting materials technology.

Dr. Timothy J. Bunning, AFRL Chief Technology Officer, highlighted the importance of strategic partnering with allies and doing business differently in a rapidly evolving global technology landscape. The RISING Center symbolizes a long-term focus on developing talent and competencies by combining the strengths of both parties.

The RISING Center at Rice University represents a significant milestone in international collaboration for nanotechnology research, furthering the goals of AFRL and strengthening ties between the U.S. and India in the field of scientific innovation and technology development.

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