Tenn. -- The Vanderbilt School of Engineering will
lead a new $2.4 million multi-institutional nanotechnology
program funded by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory
to develop radically improved electronics, sensors,
energy-conversion devices and other critical defense
The Advanced Carbon Nanotechnology Research Program
will explore various nanostructures of carbon, including
diamond, at the molecular level to develop next-generation
materials that can be used in a wide range of defense
devices and systems. The Army Research Laboratory
funds will support the program's first year of operation.
"Nanoscale" describes objects that measure
approximately a millionth of a millimeter, or roughly
1/100,000th the diameter of a human hair.
"The goal of this cutting-edge research is to
gain control of structures and devices at atomic and
molecular levels and to learn to efficiently manufacture
and use these devices," said Jimmy L. Davidson,
principal investigator of the new program.
Davidson, professor of electrical engineering and
professor of materials science and engineering, will
coordinate the research efforts. In addition to Vanderbilt,
the University of Kentucky, North Carolina State University,
the University of Florida and the International Technology
Center will participate in the program.
Davidson pointed out that although carbon is the most
versatile of elements and is the foundation of most
fuels, synthetic materials and biological systems,
little is known about its behavior at the nanoscale
"Using carbon as a building block in this promising
new area of science is a potentially boundless resource
not sufficiently explored in today's research endeavors,"
In addition to conducting research into carbon-based
nanotechnology, the new program will train graduate
students to work in the emerging field and will establish
close interactions among U.S. industry and government
Initial goals include developing diamond/carbon nanostructures
for biological and chemical sensors, developing a
new energy-conversion device, and developing electron
emission devices for advanced electronics.
and chemical sensors: Carbon-derived nanotubes, electrodes
and microtips could detect toxic chemical agents.
Energy-conversion device: Thermal-electric energy
conversion devices based on diamond/carbon vacuum
field emitter nanostructures can provide power and
cooling systems that are more efficient, clean and
Electron emission devices: New cold-cathode electron
emitters and gated field emission devices could improve
performance, efficiency and reliability in advanced
electronics. Infrared-emission displays can be used
in infrared imaging and sensing equipment. These materials
may also be useful for medical, biological and chemical
The research is sponsored by the Army Research
Laboratory under Cooperative Agreement Number W911NF-04-20023.
The views and conclusions contained in this document
are those of the authors and should not be interpreted
as representing the official policies, either expressed
or implied, of the Army Research Laboratory or the