Frequently Asked Questions

What is nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology deals with products and processes that are measured in almost unbelievably small increments called “nanometers”–one billionth of a meter. At the nanoscale, materials differ from larger objects in their physical, chemical and biological properties; therefore, they lend themselves to new and improved materials, systems and devices.

Nanotechnology is helping scientists and engineers bring new solutions to technology challenges, and it is creating a new generation of tools that will impact the growth of multiple industries. Nanotechnology has already significant impacted countless industries including communications, medicine, environmental cleanup, agriculture and more.

For instance, nanotechnology is to thank for the development of such diverse advancements as:

  • Lightweight army fatigues that resist chemical weapons
  • Portable labs that provide instant analysis for everything from diabetes to HIV
  • Special golf balls that correct their own flight path so they fly straighter

Thanks to rapid advances in this exciting new field, we now have the tools and talents to manipulate materials on the molecular scale–a technology literally poised to change the world as we know it.

What is the Nanotechnology Institute?
The overarching mission of the Nanotechnology Institute is to focus on the transfer of nanotechnology discoveries and intellectual knowledge from universities to industry partners, and on the rapid application and commercialization of nanotechnology to stimulate economic growth:

The NTI is at the forefront of the nanotechnology revolution in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, helping situate the state as a hotbed for nanotechnology commercialization. It is the first comprehensive model of its kind in the United States, facilitating the research, development and commercialization of nanotechnology’s real-world applications.

What does the Nanotechnology Institute do?
By providing funding, intellectual property and commercialization assistance to companies and researchers, the NTI expedites the rate at which revolutionary technologies are brought to market, changing our world and fueling our economy.

The NTI is a catalyst for nanotechnology commercialization through the following efforts:

  • Providing networking, knowledge and funding to develop new products and services in nanotechnology
  • Orchestrating the creation and efficient transfer of intellectual property from universities into area companies and new businesses
  • Helping educate and build a skilled local workforce
  • Organizing, communicating and marketing the nanotech assets of the region with a unified voice

Who funds the Nanotechnology Institute?
The NTI is seeded with a technology grant whose cumulative value is $16.3 million from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, and it is administered through the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

Who are the NTI’s partner organizations?
Click here to see a comprehensive list.

Who can receive funding from the NTI?
The NTI funds nanotechnology-related research projects, and it funds companies in search of nanotechnology to license.

How do I apply for funding?
Click here to download an application form.

The Promise of Nanotechnology

“The use of nanotechnology in consumer products and industrial applications is growing rapidly, with the products listed in the inventory showing just the tip of the iceberg.  How consumers respond to these early products — in food, electronics, health care, clothing and cars — will be a litmus test for broader market acceptance of nanotechnologies in the future.”

–Andrew D. Maynard
Chief Science Advisor, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars