NC A&T, UNCG Partner with Army on Nanotechnologies Research
The U.S. Department of Defense has tapped two Triad universities to develop new nanotechnologies for protecting soldiers.
The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, a collaboration of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and the University of North Carolina Greensboro, is partnering with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Soldier Center to create a new research initiative called ICONS, short for Innovation Collaborative Laboratory for Nanotechnologies to Empower the Future Soldier.
The purpose of ICONS is to establish technologies through integrated science and engineering that will protect soldiers. Through ICONS, Joint School faculty and their affiliates, along with their graduate and undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellows, will work with scientists and engineers from DEVCOM’s Soldier Center and share research facilities to create next-generation technologies.
A grand opening ceremony for ICONS was held Nov. 21 at the Joint School in Greensboro.
“The importance and positive impact of this collaboration was evident from the great respect and remarks made by the leadership; the innovative projects presented; and the commitment to the mission of protecting those who protect us,” said Nancy Johnston, executive director of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Piedmont Triad Office, who participated in the grand opening.
“Having this Center located at Gateway Research Park and powered by JSNN's collective expertise from NCA&T and UNCG is meaningful today and in the future.”
The ICONS research team includes 14 Joint School faculty, 15 Joint School ICONS student scholars, and 17 researchers at the DEVCOM Soldier Center in Natick, Mass.
The partnership was initiated with a $1.05 million cooperative agreement awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Sixteen research projects are under way, according to the Joint School’s website.
The ICONS research is focused on three major areas:
- Developing new sustainable nanoscale materials that are lighter, safer and stronger and can be incorporated into yarn and woven into fabric for soldier clothing, helmets and other applications.
- Designing sensors to detect various chemical hazards with high sensitivity, selectivity and reusability in extreme environments.
- Developing technologies to detect and decontaminate biological hazards on the battlefield.
The Joint School’s proximity to several military bases in North Carolina will allow researchers to connect directly with soldiers and veterans to better understand soldier needs and to train students to develop solutions from the users’ perspective.
The Joint School, located on the South Campus of Gateway University Research Park in Greensboro, provides cross-disciplinary graduate programs in nanoscience and nanoengineering. Its research is focused on synthetic biology, nanomaterials, computational nanotechnology and environmental science and sustainability.
The Joint School operates from a $56.3 million, 105,000-square-foot facility that includes nanoelectronics and nanobio clean rooms, nanoengineering and nanoscience laboratories, and extensive materials analysis equipment.