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Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels on Tuesday said the University of Notre Dame would lead a research consortium dedicated to the development of nanotechnology that would one day become the basic building blocks for computers.
Support for the Midwest Academy for Nanoelectronics and Architectures is expected to top $25 million over the next three years from the public and private sectors and participating universities. Consortium organizers expect additional funds through federal grants under the National Nanotechnology Initiative, which is earmarked to receive $1.5 billion a year from the federal government.
Besides Notre Dame, MANA members include Purdue University, the University of Illinois, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Michigan, Argonne National Laboratory, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
"The Midwest Academy for Nanoelectronics and Architecture is a giant stride in the development of the technology of small things," the Rev. John I. Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, said in a statement. "It promises to move us past the limits currently imposed by the laws of physics and enable the building of advanced devices, circuits, and systems that will be faster, more powerful, and more compact than those that currently power our cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices."
Among the private-sector supporters of MANA is the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative of the Semiconductor Research Corp., a consortium of U.S. semiconductor manufacturers that includes IBM, Intel, Micron, Texas Instruments, Advanced Micro Devices, and Freescale Semiconductor.
Conventional microelectronic technology depends on shrinking transistors to get more of the devices on a microprocessor in order to boost performance-to-power ratios. This method, however, is nearing its physical limits, so MANA's mission will be to develop advanced devices, circuits, and nanosystems with performance capabilities beyond conventional technology.