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Advanced Manufacturing & Nanotechnology (MN)


Advanced Manufacturing (M)
The Advanced Manufacturing (MN) subtopic aims to support all aspects of manufacturing innovations that have the potential to rejuvenate the nation's manufacturing sector and also improve its efficiency, competitiveness, and sustainability. Proposals should be driven by market needs and demand, and should identify both the end users of the proposed technology and the proposed pathway to commercialization. It is also important that the proposals are responsive to strong societal needs in terms of job growth and global trends.

M1. Personalized Manufacturing
Innovative, new-to-the-world manufacturing methods and machines leading to mass customization. The applications may include (but are not limited to) clothing, footwear, furniture, ear buds, dental restorations, and person-specific medical devices such as headbands, hearing aids etc. The resultant products may need to be cost competitive with the relevant mass manufactured products. Proposals may also include development of software-as-a-service or workflow-as-a-service tools to assist young personalized manufacturing businesses.

M2. Additive Manufacturing
Innovations in processes or machines that permit manufacturing through a layering process, including 3D printing, to achieve fabrication of a range of products including near net shape products. Proposals by young companies to develop sustainable businesses based on 3D printing are especially encouraged. Proposals are also encouraged that permit the manufacturing of complex multi-scale and/or multi-functional products for superior performance and productivity.

M3. Manufacturing for Emerging Markets
Transformative technological innovations that enable the manufacturing of ultra-low-cost products designed to tap into the vast commercial potential of global underserved markets. The proposals must aim to produce products that are affordable and that have significant societal impact in the intended markets such as enhancing accessibility, reducing environmental impact, improving health etc.

M4. Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Manufacturing Technology
Proposals may cover technologies that take a system approach to green engineering for industrial, residential, and commercial infrastructure, industrial manufacturing infrastructure design innovations; technologies that present new process and system design paradigms enhancing environmental sustainability with reductions in carbon footprint and ways of enhancing the sourcing, use, and recycle of materials and energy streams; novel tools for the real-time analysis of system performance and the dynamic global optimization of system performance; innovations in technologies for the improved efficiency, control, and dynamic optimization of complex industrial manufacturing processes; new technologies (involving materials, sensors, devices, and control systems) that support smart infrastructures to ensure efficient and sustainable energy transmission, distribution, monitoring, and management.

M5. Manufacturing Processes
Innovative technologies for the processing of a variety of materials, including metals, alloys, ceramics, polymers, and novel composites using processes such as casting, forming, machining, and joining. Proposals that lead to significantly improved efficiency (in terms of materials, energy, time, or money) and sustainability are encouraged. The topic also includes on-line detection and/or control of defects in those processes.

M6. Transportation Technologies
Proposed projects might include (but are not limited to) the reduction of engine emissions; the reduction of greenhouse gases resulting from combustion; vehicle weight reduction; vehicle components; improved engine and fuel efficiency; reduction of SOx, NOx, and particulates resulting from combustion; reduction in wear and environmental pollutants. Projects may include technologies of commercial importance for low-temperature combustion, flexible fuel and fuel blends for automotive applications, improved atomizers and ignition characteristics, low heat-loss (coatings, materials, etc.) engines, on-board energy harvesting (e.g., thermoelectric generators), energy conversion and storage, improved catalyst systems, and other alternative technologies to improve fuel efficiency, reduce energy loss, and reduce environmental emissions; advanced batteries for transportation, including radically new battery systems or breakthroughs based on existing systems with a focus on high-energy density and high-power density batteries suitable for transportation applications.

M7. Manufacturing Technologies involving Chemical Transformations
New process technologies for the production of novel materials include (but not limited to) high-performance bio-materials, inorganic and composite materials, alloys, novel materials with optimized design at an atomic scale, nano- and micro-scale metallic materials, and nano-materials and metallurgical products of commercial relevance.

M8. Machines and Equipment
Innovative machines and equipment in a range of operations for making nano-, micro-, and macro-scale products in all industries, including manufacturing, construction, and recycling. Innovative equipment modification or retrofitting to enable manufacturing of completely new products is encouraged.

M9. Modeling & Simulation
Innovations in the modeling and simulation ofenterprise operations, manufacturing processes for intermediate or finished products, machines and equipment, including predictive modeling of tooling and machine performance and discrete event simulation of manufacturing systems. Innovative approaches that bring the benefits of cloud computing and/or big data analytics to the manufacturing sector are especially encouraged. Technologies enabling real-time prediction or optimization are also encouraged.

M10. Rare Earths and Critical Materials Processing Technology
Proposals of interest would involve production technologies enabling the development of new sources for rare earths, metals, and critical materials of strategic national importance; improving the economics of existing sources; accelerating the development and deployment of alternatives to rare earths and critical materials currently in use; technologies and processes for more efficient use in manufacturing; recycling and reuse; new processes for critical and strategic metals and minerals extraction; novel purification processes; recycle and recovery by separation of rare earths and strategic materials from waste; novel ways to reduce the amount of critical materials currently utilized in current and emerging technology products.

Nanotechnology (N)
The Nanotechnology subtopic addresses the creation and manipulation of functional materials, devices, and systems with novel properties and functions that are achieved through the control of matter at a submicroscopic scale (from a fraction of nanometer to about 100 nanometers). Proposals should be driven by market needs and demand and should identify both the end users of the proposed technology and the pathway to commercialization.

N1. Nanomaterials
Material innovations in scalable synthesis, purification, and processing techniques for hierarchical nanostructures, nanolayered structures, nanowires, nanotubes, quantum dots, nanoparticles, nanofibers, and other nanomaterials.

N2. Nanomanufacturing
Innovations for manufacturing at the nanoscale, including self-assembly, nanolithography, nanopatterning, nanotexturing, etc. Proposals that seek to develop processes, techniques, and equipment for the low-cost, large-scale production of nano-structured materials are encouraged.




Agency Contact(s)


General inquiries regarding this topic should be made to: Rajesh Mehta, (703) 292-2174,



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