North Dakota State University's Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering, established in 2002, conducts large-scale, multidisciplinary research for government and industry. Located in a state-of-the-art research facility in the NDSU Research & Technology Park, CNSE employs scientists, engineers, students and faculty engaged in high level research. CNSE's Research 2 facility includes 77,000 sf of cleanroom, laboratory and engineering spaces that house its design, synthesis, fabrication and characterization capabilities. Core competencies include wireless miniaturized electronics design and prototype fabrication, research on coatings and polymeric materials, and on materials for electronics and energy conversion.
CNSE is a Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA, Department of Defense) Center of Excellence (COE) for design and prototype fabrication of microsensors and miniaturized wireless communication devices. CNSE is affiliated with state Centers of Excellence, including: Advanced Electronics Design and Manufacturing; Integrated Electronic Systems; Sensors, Communications and Control; and Surface Protection.
A characteristic of CNSE’s research programs is the focus on the application and product deliverables. For example, prototype electronics can be routinely fabricated in quantity 1,000 units. Considerations for “manufacturability” and “productization” are part of much of CNSE’s research.
The Center has several capabilities in electronics and materials research that are unique among U.S. universities.
CNSE's electronics-oriented facilities occupy 25,000 sf of Research 2, including 6,500 sf of Class 10,000 and Class 100 cleanrooms, design and device testing laboratories, and an antenna design and test facility in the nearby NDSU Business & Technology Incubator. Equipment and prototyping tools are valued at nearly $10M. Technologies transferred from Alien Technology (Morgan Hill, Calif.) and Tessera Incorporated (San Jose, Calif.) are utilized in electronics packaging R&D. The Center also has an extensive research program in which students and faculty participate with staff researchers on studies of materials, design and manufacturing process innovations in the electronics area.
NDSU's Combinatorial Materials Research Laboratory (CMRL) is also unique among U.S. universities. The CMRL and related labs occupy seven rooms totaling nearly 7,000 sf of Research 2. The CMRL combines robotic machines and software purchased from Symyx® Technologies, Inc. (Santa Clara, Calif.) with machines and equipment designed and built by the CNSE engineering team. Capital equipment in the CMRL is valued at more than $12M.