The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign together with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) have launched the United States’s first computational node aimed at the development of nanomanufacturing simulation tools. NanoMFG Node, as the five-year project is called, began on September 1, 2017, funded by a $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
As described in the NSF award documents:
The mission of the nanoMFG Node is to be the engine for design, simulation, planning, and optimization of highly relevant nano-manufacturing growth and patterning processes. To help achieve this mission, computational tools for nanomanufacturing aimed at multiscale theory, modeling, and simulation (TM&S) will be developed and broadly disseminated. The intellectual merit of this 5-year activity is the development of nanomanufacturing simulation tools, validated by experimental data, and integrated with data-driven uncertainty quantification.
The framework for the effort is based on a layered computational tool infrastructure comprising the creation of the following: (1) nanoscale transport phenomena models, (2) process models, (3) uncertainty quantification framework, (4) application and empirical validation of process models, (5) tools for multiscale transport phenomena, and (6) tools for nanoscale self-assembly.
The tools developed by the node will be validated by experimental data and made available on the nanoHUB, the cyber platform for the Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN). A successful endeavor will produce nanomanufacturing simulation tools that improve efficiencies and strengthen the economic viability of nanomanufacturing.
The nanoMFG Node team includes faculty members from the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) at Illinois — Kimani Toussaint (PI and Director), NCSA’s Narayana Aluru (Co-PI), Elif Ertekin (Co-PI), and Placid Ferreira (Co-PI) — and Hayden Taylor (Co-PI) from UC, Berkeley.
“To make nanomanufacturing economically viable, we envision end-users getting onto the nanoHUB cyber platform and simulating every stage in the manufacturing of a nano-enabled product,” Toussaint said in an official statement. “These simulation tools could save significant time and money while providing valuable insight on how to refine critical process steps in nanomanufacturing.”
The researchers will collaborate with many of the facilities and centers at Illinois, including the Materials Research Laboratory and the Micro-Nano-Mechanical Systems Cleanroom Laboratory. NCSA will assist with software development and design.
“We are very excited about the collaboration opportunities between nanoMFG Node efforts and NCSA researchers,” said Dr. Seid Koric, technical assistant director of NCSA and research professor of MechSE. “The advancement of cutting-edge tools for simulation software in hierarchical nanomanufacturing processes from nanoscale components to devices and systems is a huge accomplishment which will aid and enable a number of research projects at NCSA, the University of Illinois, and beyond.”
The NCSA Industry Program is the largest industrial HPC outreach effort in the world. The successful program operates dedicated non-government high-performance computing resources, including the iForge cluster.