Nanoelectronics, Nanobiotechnology, and Nanometrology

ONAMI and Oregon’s strong industrial and academic experience in semiconductor electronics, microscopy and microanalysis, analytical tools, and test and measurement remains engaged on key semiconductor industry challenges (new devices, more demanding measurement challenges) and is also being leveraged to enable large opportunities and confront serious measurement challenges in the emerging field of nanomedicine (the application of engineered nanomaterials and nanoscale electronic, magnetic, and optical devices for medical diagnostics and therapeutics).  The long history of equipment and instrumentation advances in the engineering and physical sciences enabling great breakthroughs in the medical and life sciences, suggest that this is a very opportune time for the physical, engineering and medical sciences to collaborate closely on developments in nanobiotechnology. Applications are emerging in single cell analysis at the point-of-use in real time for cancer and other disease diagnosis.

N3I research projects span the following areas:


  • Carbon-based nanoelectronics
  • Analog memory applications of nanoscale devices
  • Nanoscale energy conversion and storage


  • Imaging/sensing/diagnostics at the nanoscale
  • Drug delivery/cell membrane behavior
  • Intracellular behavior and regenerative medicine


  • Nanoscale optical near-field nanoscopy and photo-electron emission
  • Spatio-temporal-compositional imaging at the nanometer and femtosecond scales
  • Nanoscale electron crystallography
  • Nanoparticle characterization

Dr. John Carruthers, Distinguished Professor of Physics at Portland State University and former Director of Components Research at Intel Corporation, heads up this research collaboration.


Safer Nanomaterials and Nano Manufacturing

The goals of ONAMI’s Safer Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Initiative (SNNI) are to develop new nanomaterials and nanomanufacturing approaches that offer a high level of performance, yet pose minimal harm to human health or the environment. Research under the Initiative merges the principles of green chemistry and nanomaterials design and synthesis strategies to produce safer nanomaterials and more efficient nanomanufacturing (including critical purification steps) processes in the context of producing nanoparticles and nanostructured materials for applications in fields such as photovoltaics, nanoelectronics, and sensors.

In addition to greening the production of nanomaterials, SNNI seeks to understand the biological and environmental impacts of nanoparticles. As part of an international research community, it is [1] working with organizations to develop reference materials and standard practices, [2] creating well-characterized nanomaterial libraries and [3] developing effective methods protocols for both physico-chemical characterization and biological effects assays for many different types of engineered nanomaterials. Distinctive features of our research portfolio are the critical importance of using only well-characterized nanomaterials and acquiring rich information sets from biological impacts studies. This approach establishes a foundation of fundamental knowledge and advances predictive strategies based upon structure-activity relationships. A long-term commitment to this strategy is required because it is simply not practical to test all significant permutations of nanoparticles (composition, size, shape, surface functionalization, etc.) in bioassays to assess safety.

Professor Jim Hutchison of the University of Oregon leads this initiative that is bringing together key scientists in the life sciences, materials sciences and engineering. Visit the Safer Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing website.

Since 2005, SNNI has spearheaded the highly regarded Greener Nano series of annual conferences, with “GN11” coming in the late spring of 2011.

Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry

OSU Professor Douglas Keszler leads this research initiative, which is a collaboration chiefly between OSU and the University of Oregon with additional partners Washington University (St. Louis), Rutgers University, University of California, Davis, and University of California, Berkeley.

The CSMC is an NSF-sponsored Phase II “Centers of Chemical Innovation” program that expands upon the successes of Phase I (2008-2011), the joint OSU-UO Center for Green Material Chemistry.

Visit the program website at Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry.

Microtech Based Energy & Chemical Systems

Microtechnology-Based Energy and Chemical Systems

ONAMI researchers are developing and fabricating unique bulk fluidic microsystems that accelerate, miniaturize and distribute energy, chemical and biomedical processes. Applications include:

  • Compact, highest-performance heat exchangers
  • Novel miniaturized HVAC cycles
  • Medical devices, e.g. dialysis filters
  • Fuel processing, e.g. hydrogen reforming
  • Fuel atomization for small engines using greener fuels
  • Continuous production and direct deposition of nanomaterials
  • Water sterilization

This work is based on the principle that mass and heat transfer are best accomplished in microchannels which, when fabricated (typically via micro-lamination) into massively parallel structures enable “bulk” throughputs without pressure drop penalties. Revolutionary results—in terms of component size, weight and energy efficiency—can be applied to military energy, medical devices and other specialty chemical products. Microproducts Breakthrough Institute

A dedicated facility, the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute  supports project activity for R&D by both institutional researchers and numerous companies. A good overview of several applications and fabrication capabilities may be found at :

Professors Goran Jovanovic, Brian Paul, Richard Peterson and Kendra Sharp of Oregon State University and Dr. Ward TeGrotenhuis of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, jointly lead this team.



Thrusts of Research

Drawing on the region’s world-class research, talent and technology assets, ONAMI researchers are leading the nation in discovery and application for four areas of small-tech research. Each of these research thrusts represents the collaboration of local, national and international industry, academic and government agency partners seeking to bring groundbreaking research to commercial reality.

ONAMI’s four thrust areas are

ONAMI’s Proposal Matching Grant Program

The Proposal Matching Program assists ONAMI member researchers and research teams to collaborate with industry partners and to win competitive federal and private awards - with emphasis on multi-year collaborative centers, growth in shared user facility capabilities, and product development/commercialization. ONAMI Matching Grant Program FY14-15 (PDF, 270K) provides program details, including:

  • Rationale
  • Purpose and Use of Matching Funds
  • Types of Projects Eligible for Matching Grants
  • Process for Submission, Review, Approval and Administration of Matching Grants

The Process for Submission of Matching Fund Requests (Word, 45K) is available as a Word document for ease of use as an application template.

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