Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.
OCR for page 182
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies 5 Air Force Micro- and Nanotechnology Programs and Opportunities IMPACTS OF MICRO- AND NANOTECHNOLOGIES ON AIR FORCE MISSIONS The committee found four major themes that describe the impacts that micro- and nanotechnologies will have as they provide revolutionary advances for Air Force missions: increased information capabilities miniaturization of systems new materials resulting from new science at these scales increased functionality and autonomy The dramatic increase in information capabilities of the past several decades—processing, storing, communicating, and displaying—shows no signs of imminent slowing. The integrated circuit industry is predicting ~128× improvements in transistor density, based on current state of the technology, over the next 15 years or so. Many other technologies are being explored for use once CMOS silicon scaling has reached saturation (see “Information Technology,” the first section of Chapter 3, for additional discussion). This will allow the Air Force to pack more and more intelligence into smaller and smaller, lighter and lighter, less-power-consuming (per function) packages that have increasing local intelligence and increasing autonomy. For space systems the ability to miniaturize will allow smaller and lighter vehicles, increased quality control, and new options for launch. Both space systems
OCR for page 183
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies and avionics will benefit from the associated trend to modularization and standardization with improved reliability and better control of development costs. The adoption of the batch manufacturing and built-in-place fabrication approaches brought about by microtechnologies will increase reliability and reduce cost and will be especially enabling. The continued rapid advance of information technology will make possible new systems approaches. Miniaturization is expected to bring a world of ubiquitous sensing and computing to Air Force systems (lower power, smaller size, more function with embedded systems, lower cost, and increased capability), and the concomitant development of software for platforms, sensors, and C3I will become increasingly important. The challenge will be to discover ways to optimize the benefit from these rapidly evolving areas of technology. Properties qualitatively change as things get small. There is great opportunity for discovering the new science and material properties that can be achieved at the micro- and nanoscale and for applying these capabilities to Air Force systems. The new properties being explored at the small scale, particularly the nanoscale, will lead to new capabilities for sensing, information processing and storage, propulsion, and high-performance materials. Stronger, more durable, and lighter-weight structures and increased efficiency in the use of energy are of particular interest. A particularly important challenge is the increased use of smart and adaptive materials—for example, to improve boundary layer control on aircraft or allow reconfigurable surveillance systems that learn from and adapt to their environment—to enable new systems approaches. Over the long term, these advances are likely to be accelerated as the study of biologically inspired systems leads to new ways to control, tailor, and adapt the properties of materials to their environment and to more efficiently store and utilize energy and information in small-scale systems. The advances in information density, miniaturization, and materials functionality will enable an advanced degree of autonomous systems operation and a paradigm shift from reliance on a few large systems to many small things that work together. Over time, the increased intelligence of unmanned systems with integrated sensor suites and information processing (situational awareness) capabilities, and offensive/defensive reaction capabilities will probably change the character of warfare, allowing a degree of autonomy unthinkable today. The opportunities made possible by understanding and exploiting the emergent behavior of large numbers of entities working together as a system is a long-term challenge that will lead to new system architectures and revolutionary capabilities in analogy to biological systems. CURRENT INVESTMENTS BY THE AIR FORCE IN MICRO-AND NANOTECHNOLOGIES The Air Force, like the other DoD services and agencies, has historically invested in micro- and nanotechnologies. This investment supports both develop-
OCR for page 184
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies ment-oriented efforts (6.2 and 6.3) at AFRL laboratories and 6.1 basic research through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), a directorate within the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). AFRL Research Portfolio in Micro- and Nanotechnologies In microtechnology, AFRL supports 40 projects for a total of $29 million. The AFRL nanotechnology program includes about 120 tasks, which receive over $25 million in support. This includes about $10 million for the support of nanomaterials research, about $12 million for nanodevice research, about $2 million for research in nanobiology and information technology, and about $3 million for research in nanoenergetics. This research is expected to have significant impact in the areas indicated in Box 5-1. The relationship of the AFRL nanotechnology program to long-term Air Force requirements is illustrated in Table 5-1. Work is under way at the level of the AFRL Chief Technologist to collect the multiple existing threads in micro-and nanotechnology within AFRL and to plan a coordinated approach. Funding for the main Air Force areas of interest by funding level is shown in Table 5-2 and in Figure 5-1. AFOSR Basic Research Programs in Nanotechnology Much of the basic research (6.1) is conducted in U.S. academic institutions; the distribution of AFOSR funding is about 70 percent external and 30 percent in-house within AFRL. These investments have been provided from the Air Force BOX 5-1 Expected Impacts of Research Supported by the Air Force Nanotechnology Program Sensors Electronic devices Energetic Materials Enhanced Mechanical Structures • Infrared target recognition • Airborne and space-based long-range detection • Multispectral awareness • High-speed information processing • Orders of magnitude increase in computing power • Counterradiation effects • Propellants with higher specific impulse and controlled burn rates • Smaller munitions • Safer propellants • Enhanced power generation • Advanced fuels, lubricants, and additives • Lightweight structures • High performance • High-temperature materials and structures • Self-healing structures • Smart skins • Reduced cost of launch
OCR for page 185
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies TABLE 5-1 Challenges and Impact Areas Long-Term Challenges Areas Where Micro-and Nanotechnologies Will Have an Impact Finding and tracking Nanosensors. Integrated nanoelectronics and nanophotonics; enhanced infrared recognition; high-speed image processing Command and control Nanodevices. Nanoprocessors with orders of magnitude increase in computing power, information storage and processing abilities; radically improved decision making. Quantum computing. Eliminate multiple design iterations and prototype testing, extremely fast image reconstruction. Controlled effects Nanoscale energetic materials. Improved energy release rate; accelerated burn; smaller munitions; safer propellants. Nanoelectronics. Counter radiation effects. Sanctuary Nanosensors. Airborne and space-based long-range detection. Coatings. Revolutionary dynamic stealth. Effective aerospace persistence Nanoparticles and nanostructured materials. Advanced fuels, lubricants, and additives; power generation, storage, and delivery; long-life high-temperature components; self-healing structures; smart skins. Nanoelectronics. Nanosatellite clusters. Rapid aerospace response Nanocomposites and nanostructures. Lightweight structures; reduced cost to launch; high-performance and high-temperature materials and structures; high-efficiency propellants. SOURCE: Adapted from Schöne, H. 2001. The Role of Nano-Technology and Microsystems for Space. Briefing by Harald Schöne, Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate, to the Committee on Implications of Emerging Micro and Nano Technologies, Doubletree Hotel, Albuquerque, N.M., November 8. core program, primarily through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), and in collaboration with other DoD organizations such as DARPA and the Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E). The Air Force serves as an agent for DARPA, DDR&E, and other DoD agencies and manages a significant customer budget. These funds are leveraged against core Air Force funds to produce a strong and robust research program. The Air Force also collaborates with other DoD and non-DoD federal agencies in defining and supporting a broad research program in micro- and nanotechnologies. It was a key participant in the Joint Service Electronics Program (JSEP), which supported a variety of electronics-oriented technologies. JSEP was instrumental in supporting research in compound semiconductor materials and devices and helped develop the technology for fabricating and evaluating sub-
OCR for page 186
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies TABLE 5-2 Air Force Nanotechnology Research Area Funding ($ millions) Nanodevices 12 Nanomaterials 10 Nanoenergetics 3 Nanobiology/IT 2 SOURCE: Adapted from data provided by Gernot Pomrenke, Air Force Research Laboratory. micrometer devices. JSEP research helped provide the tools and techniques that now make it possible to work on the nanoscale. The JSEP program was phased out in 1997 primarily due to the growth of the University Research Initiative (URI). The Air Force has been a major participant in the URI since its establishment in 1986. URI was established to fund large, multidisciplinary group research programs in U.S. academic institutions. It is funded and managed by the Basic Research Office in DDR&E, but executed through the AFOSR, the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Army Research Office (ARO), and DARPA. The URI now consists of a variety of programs, including the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) and the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP). These programs account for over half the funds allocated to the URI and provide in turn a significant amount of university research funding to the Services. The MURI programs FIGURE 5-1 Air Force nanotechnology research. SOURCE: Based on data provided by Gernot Pomrenke, Air Force Research Laboratory.
OCR for page 187
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies are funded at about $1 million per year and there are currently about 140 programs in existence. Many of these programs are directed at nanotechnology and are providing a significant amount of funding for nanotechnology research. The DURIP has a budget of about $45 million. It is the only program funded by DoD that explicitly provides resources to U.S. academic institutions for acquiring large, expensive equipment items that cannot be supported by traditional grant mechanisms. Examples include molecular beam epitaxial semiconductor growth machines, organo-metallic chemical vapor deposition reactors, scanning tunneling electron microscopes, atomic force microscopes, and other equipment that enables research on nanoscale materials and devices. This support is leveraged by the Services with their core programs to support service-specific research, as well as work of general and broad interest. The Air Force has been a participant in the establishment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). The NNI is a multiagency program to provide government support for nanoscience and nanotechnology research as discussed in Chapter 2. The program was planned by a consortium of representatives from six U.S. government agencies. The original agencies were the National Science Foundation; the Departments of Defense, Commerce, and Energy; the National Institutes of Health; and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The program was proposed by the President in his 2001 budget request and funded by Congress. Each participating agency reviewed then-current research programs and determined that funding for nanotechnology research had been about $270 million in FY 2000. The NNI brought about an increase of 73 percent in the FY 2001 budget, for a total of $466 million. Additional increases that brought the total investment to over $600 million were included in the FY 2002 budget. Each agency surveyed its scientific and program offices to determine opportunities and areas of interest for nanotechnology research and to avoid overlapping efforts. The NNI representatives coordinated the survey results and turned them into a comprehensive program. Initially, DoD interest in nanotechnology focused on three major areas, as outlined in Box 5-2. The Air Force has further reviewed its efforts in nanotechnology in order to refine the focus on areas more specific to its interests (Box 5-3). In FY 2001, the MURI program conducted a nanotechnology-focused competition, Defense University Research in Nanotechnology (DURINT), with a total annual funding level of $8.75 million. The AFOSR-managed DURINT programs included two programs in nanodevices, three in nanomaterials, and one each in nanoenergetics and nanobiology/information technology (Table 5-3). In addition, the Air Force supported two nanotechnology-related MURIs in FY 2001 (Table 5-4). Overall, 5 of 48 MURI awards were in nanotechnology-related areas. The FY 2001 DURINT program included a separate equipment competition similar to the DURIP. The AFOSR grants related to nanotechnology are shown in Table 5-5.
OCR for page 188
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies BOX 5-2 Initial DoD Focus in Nanotechnology Information Acquisition, Processing, Storage, and Display Materials Performance and Affordability Nanobioengineering • Higher-speed electronics • Higher-density electronics • Lower-power electronics • Increased complexity on a chip • Optoelectronic capability • Extended life and maintenance • “Smart” materials • High-performance materials • Chemical and biological agents • Detection/destruction • Casualty care (miniature devices to sense/actuate) • Personnel health monitors/stimulators BOX 5-3 Air Force Nanotechnology Program Nanoengineered Materials Nanostructured Devices Nano/Bio/Info Interface Nanoenergetics • Carbon nanotubes and composites • High-temperature and high-strength materials and coatings • Nanocomposites, organic and inorganic • Multilayer laminates • Self-healing polymers • Self-assembly and hybrid fabrication • Designer substrates for electronics • Nanocontrolled dielectrics • Ultrafast, ultradense electronic devices and processors • Nanoscale sensors and emitters • Molecular electronics and architecture • Nanophotonics and optical nanoprobes • Nonlinear and adaptive nanoscale optics • Quantum computing devices and circuits • Chemical and biological quantum sensors • Nanobiocatalysis • Chemical and biological decontamination • Nanosystems architecture • DNA information processing • Biocomputational models • Neural network processors • Distributed systems • Nanoscopic fuel additives • Nanoscale energetic materials • High-energy density materials • Nanoscale photovoltaics • Nanofuels, nanocomposites • Nanofluidics and plasma aerodynamics • Unimolecular micelles • Laser sources
OCR for page 189
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies TABLE 5-3 AFOSR-Managed DURINT Programs DURINT Topic Agency DURINT Team Nanostructures for catalysis Air Force University of Washington, Iowa State University, University of Pittsburgh Polymeric nanocomposites Air Force University of Akron Polymeric nanophotonics and nanoelectronics Air Force University of Washington, University of California at Berkeley, MIT, Yale Quantum computing with quantum devices Air Force Harvard University, University of Rochester Quantum computing with quantum devices Air Force University of Kansas Molecular recognition and signal transduction in biomolecular systems DARPA/Air Force University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Harold Washington College Synthesis and modification of nanostructure surfaces DARPA/Air Force University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Los Angeles, Princeton University, Louisiana State University SOURCE: Adapted from data provided by Gernot Pomrenke, Air Force Research Laboratory. TABLE 5-4 Nanotechnology MURIs in FY 2001 MURI Topic Agency DURINT Team Multi-functional nano-engineered coatings Air Force University of Virginia, Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, Arizona State University, University of New Mexico Multi-functional nano-engineered coatings Air Force University of Minnesota, North Dakota State University, University of Missouri at Kansas City, University of Dayton SOURCE: Adapted from data provided by Gernot Pomrenke, Air Force Research Laboratory.
OCR for page 190
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies TABLE 5-5 AFOSR Technology Grants in FY 2001 Institution Title of Equipment Proposal Equipment University of California at Santa Barbara Catalysis by Nanostructure: Methane, Ethylene Oxide, and Propylene Oxide Synthesis on Ag, Cu, or Au Nanoclusters UHV cluster source, characterization chamber, etc. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Very Low Temperature Measurement System for Quantum Computation with Superconductors Very-low-temperature-measurement system Pennsylvania State University Photoelectron Spectrometer and Cluster Source for the Production and Analysis of Cluster Assembled Nanoscale Materials Photoelectron spectrometer and cluster source University of Arizona Nanotechnology Instrumentation Optical parametric oscillator laser Western Kentucky University Acquisition of an X-ray Diffractometer for Nanotechnology Research X-ray diffractometer University of Virginia Acquisition of a High-Resolution Field Emission Electron Microscope for Nanoscale Materials Research and Development Field emission electron microscope SOURCE: Adapted from data provided by Gernot Pomrenke, Air Force Research Laboratory. TRENDS IN DoD AND AIR FORCE RESEARCH FUNDING R&D funding within the Department of Defense has not kept up with R&D funding in other agencies (see Figure 5-2). Furthermore, funding of the basic research within DoD has fluctuated by about 50 percent over the past 20 years, in constant dollars. DoD’s share of funding relative to the total basic research funding for all agencies has decreased by a factor of more than 2 (see Figure 5-3).1 Since university research in engineering and the physical sciences historically has been supported largely by the DoD, this represents a significant national deemphasis on support for these important disciplines. In addition to this decline in DoD’s share of overall funding, the Air Force S&T program has suffered an even greater erosion relative to that of the other two Services over the past 11 years (Figure 5-4). Together, the slippages relative to other agencies and to the other Services mean a significant reduction in Air Force support of basic research. Over the 1989-2000 period the Air Force investment in basic research declined by $39 million in constant dollar terms, a decrease of 15 percent.2 For the S&T budget (6.1-6.3), the integrated 46 percent decrease (in constant dollars) is even more dramatic, as Figure 5-4 illustrates.
OCR for page 191
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies FIGURE 5-2 Trends in federal R&D funding, FY 1990-2003. SOURCE: American Association for the Advancement of Science. 2002. Trends in Federal R&D, FY 1990–2003. Available online at <http://www.aaas.org/spp/dspp/rd/cht9003a.pdf> [May 29, 2002]. FIGURE 5-3 Funding of basic research by DoD. SOURCE: Plotted from data in National Science Foundation. 2000. Science and Engineering Indicators 2000. Available online at <http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/seind00/start.htm> [May 29, 2002].
OCR for page 192
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies FIGURE 5-4 Science and technology funding levels by Service. SOURCE: Tuohy, R. 1999. Review of Department of Defense Air and Space Science and Technology Program. Briefing by Robert Tuohy, director, DoD Science and Technology Plans and Programs, to the Committee on Review of the Department of Defense Air and Space Systems Science and Technology Program, Wyndham Bristol Hotel, Washington, D.C., December 16. This problem was highlighted in two recent studies: The paucity of S&T funding in the last decade has eroded traditional Air Force technology strengths like electronic warfare. At the same time, industry basic research has shrunk dramatically, with a much shorter time horizon than 20-30 years ago.3 The committee believes that the reductions made by the Air Force to its S&T investment since the end of the Cold War did not take into account the changing nature of the global threat and the S&T challenges it presents. . . . The committee believes that the Air Force’s current (FY01) investments in air, space, and information systems S&T are too low to meet the challenges being presented by new and emerging threats.4 This environment in which the Air Force finds itself cries out for increased investment in R&D. Potential nation-state adversaries as well as supranational terrorist groups connected not by national attachments but by ideology continue to pursue ways to gain advantage, raising challenges ranging from chemical and biological agent attacks, to camouflage under foliage, to deeply buried targets, to urban warfare, to new unconventional threats to civilian populations. To make
OCR for page 193
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies progress against these difficult problems, the Air Force must continue to make well-placed, long-term investments in basic research appropriate to its missions. These shortfalls have been recognized in congressional hearings, as noted by the House Committee on Science in its press release on the results of a 2001 NRC report:5 The panel recommended that overall Air Force spending on science and technology should be increased by one-and-a-half to two times its current level.6 They have also been mentioned in government data analyses: While DoD continues to be the largest Federal funder of R&D, the FY 2002 budget request for DoD was below actual obligations in FY 1990. The DoD share of Federal obligations for R&D and R&D plant has fallen from 57 percent in FY 1990 to an expected 40 percent in FY 2002. The last time the DoD share was this small was in FY 1979 when the agency provided 43 percent of the Federal total. DoD’s R&D and R&D plant dollars have dropped at an average annual rate of nearly 1 percent (a 3-percent decrease in constant 1996 dollars) between FYs 1990 and 2002.7 The political and economic context of DoD S&T activities has changed substantially. Industry must deal with global competition, and the commercial market has become much larger than the military market. This has several implications for DoD research: The commercial sector is driving near-term advances in components and systems, The DoD must incorporate commercial products into its systems and provide ruggedization and military specialization as an overlayer, Increased international competition is forcing industry to focus on the near term at the cost of longer-term investments in fundamental and applied research. Figure 5-5 illustrates these points for semiconductor integrated circuits (ICs), a critical area of micro- and nanotechnology. Similar relationships exist in many other technology areas relevant to the Air Force, such as wireless communications and jet engines. In 1976, military purchases accounted for 17 percent of IC worldwide sales ($700 million out of total sales of $4.2 billion)—a significant market share that gave the DoD leverage in defining product specifications and directions. Over the ensuing 20 years, the military market increased only marginally, to $1.1 billion, while the commercial market exploded, to $160 billion. Today the commercial market is over $200 billion, with the military market accounting for less than 1 percent of sales. (The data for 2000 were from a different source and include all government purchases of ICs, not only military purchases.) Clearly, the commercial market has become the dominant force in setting product directions. DoD must use predominantly commercial products—
OCR for page 194
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies FIGURE 5-5 Integrated circuit sales. SOURCE: For 1976, 1986, and 1996 data points— National Research Council. 1999. Reducing the Logistics Burden for the Army After Next: Doing More with Less. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; for 2000 data point—personal communication between Brian Matas, IC Insights, and Steve Brueck, Committee on the Implications of Emerging Micro and Nano Technology, March 26, 2002. it is no longer in a position to insist on specifications that are inconsistent with the marketplace, even if researched with DoD funds. At the same time, competitive pressures are shortening industry development horizons to only the next one or two product cycles: Much of current industrial research has a very short time horizon and, in addition, tends to be focused on incremental improvements of current civilian products.8 In a cycle that spans S&T through development and production to life-cycle support, a few additional dollars added to industry’s profit-driven, near-term development will have relatively little influence. DoD can exert much more influence by leveraging its dollars either at the front end by enabling the S&T phase or at the back end by (1) adapting commercial technology to meet DoD needs and (2) designing and procuring systems specific to DoD requirements.
OCR for page 195
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies Commercial industry remains dependent on the federal government for investments in long-term, higher-risk research. Historically, DoD has provided almost half of the total federal investment.9 In FY2002, estimated expenditures by all of the Services account for about $11 billion in basic and applied research and advanced technology development (6.1-6.3).10 The amount represents more than 36 percent of all federal investment in engineering.11 The concentration in information technology hardware is undoubtedly much greater. The worrisome trends in DoD and Air Force funding noted above therefore imply an even greater percentage reduction in funding in these vital areas that will impact progress for both DoD and commercial applications. U.S. industry has become increasingly dependent on government-funded research conducted at universities and federal laboratories. DoD’s research investment has remained relatively stable in constant dollars because its relationship with industry has served the needs of all parties—the DoD, the research community, and the commercial sector. The imperatives of national defense have enabled DoD to invest directly in important new ideas, providing adequate resources to make a difference. Although this focused approach has not led to success in every project, it has nonetheless fostered enormous progress in new technologies for both the military and the commercial sectors, with the early stages of new technologies almost always being applicable to both sectors. Examples include devices and systems such as microwave sources, the transistor, the laser, fiber optics, and the many new materials used in aircraft technologies. By investing wisely, DoD can influence the directions of research and subsequent development and guarantee an adequate research base for technologies to meet its future needs. DoD can also leverage its investments by coordinating teams drawn from federal laboratories, industry, and universities for demonstration projects to develop new defense applications based as much as possible on commercially available hardware and software. The advantage of U.S. forces will increasingly depend on adaptations of commercial products with a defense overlay, rather than on expensive military-specific products. AIR FORCE INVESTMENT STRATEGY AND CHALLENGES Micro- and nanotechnologies extend over a large area that will present many opportunities for Air Force missions. At the same time, the vast expanse and diversity of these technologies presents a significant challenge—namely, maintaining sufficient coverage in newly advancing areas while focusing investments to impact the most critical long-term missions. In this section the committee discusses the general issue of devising and maintaining the Air Force investment strategy for micro- and nanotechnologies. There are many challenges for the Air Force. First, which of the many nanotechnologies should be supported, given a limited budget, and how can the Air Force’s return on investment be maximized? Second, how should those efforts
OCR for page 196
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies be integrated into the national nanotechnology program and how can foreign nanotechnology developments be leveraged? Third, as these micro- and nanotechnologies approach maturity, how should they be used in hardware and systems? There is a long and wide gap between discovery of a technology and its commercialization to the point where it can be incorporated into military hardware (Chapter 4). And where the Air Force undertakes to develop an item or system in the absence of commercialization, there are large risks—the Air Force cannot and should not expect success except in a minority of such projects. The Air Force needs a cadre of dedicated professional personnel who follow nanotechnology developments. There are areas of nanotechnology in which commercial interest is very small—for example, certain sensors—and where the Air Force must act alone or in conjunction with the other Services. This cadre of researchers must be sustained by letting them have their own research projects. For many areas, the long-term challenge is sustaining efforts at universities and other research organizations. The Air Force needs to maintain long-term funding relationships with relevant organizations and scientific and technological contributors and to use its funding leverage to ensure relevance to Air Force requirements. Lastly, communication is required between these efforts and the military and industrial organizations that plan and evolve new military systems. To exploit these opportunities in the face of limited resources, three distinct investment strategies are needed: Long term. Long time horizons and investment strategies must be maintained for AFOSR (6.1) funding. AFOSR needs to be a leading participant in setting the long-term Air Force vision in the area of micro- and nanotechnologies, and AFRL upper-level management needs to vigorously develop and communicate its vision to the working level. Support of novel concepts and emerging areas at universities is critical, not only to maintain contact with the most creative researchers, but also to engage the best students in areas strategic for the Air Force and to cultivate them for the future. Here the emphasis should be on innovative concepts that might lead to entirely new military capabilities. In addition AFRL scientists must be active participants in the wider research community so as to take part in and react to new developments. Medium term. For the medium term there must be significant reliance on the commercial sector to explore the possibilities for implementing new concepts. Industry’s large investment in 6.2-6.4-like activities for these technologies can help determine which approaches will lead to commercial application. Major areas of new development provide technologies for use in military platform systems and help to establish an understanding of their potential for manufacturability, reliability, and cost reduction. In-house experts should couple to and track these new developments to understand their potential for meeting Air Force needs.
OCR for page 197
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies Near term. For the nearer term (6.3) investments the focus needs to be on overlaying military needs on commercial products. An example might be the use in space radiation environments of a MEMS-based microtechnology proven to have high reliability in terrestrial applications. By taking a leadership position in such targeted areas, the advances and investments of the commercial sector can be exploited and the technologies adapted to the specialized needs of Air Force missions. The committee anticipates there will be significant opportunities for this strategy in the area of micro- and nanotechnologies. The Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs provide a mechanism for involving small businesses and universities in specific near-term development needs. Several points worthy of increased attention are the following: AFRL research staff need to be full members of the nano and micro research community. This will require maintaining some flexible funding to enable the sustained exploratory activity necessary for participation in the community and increased coupling to academia, other government laboratories, and industry researchers. Better in-house and external mechanisms for selection of micro- and nanotechnology efforts are needed, and realistic goals need to be set. Almost universally, the AFRL presentations did not do an adequate job of benchmarking AFRL efforts against those of the broader community. Two types of in-house experts should be nurtured—evaluators who understand emerging S&T areas and implementers who know the state of the art and can serve as smart buyers. Ways should be devised to attract more of the top students in micro- and nanotechnologies to AFRL—for example, by increasing graduate student involvement in AFRL projects and by increasing coupling of AFRL and university programs. FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Finding P1. Both overall DoD and—even more—Air Force policies have de-emphasized R&D spending to the detriment of DoD and Air Force long-term needs. The Air Force relies heavily on the technological sophistication of its platforms, systems, and weapons. Its ability to meet its long-term objectives is critically dependent on a strong and continuing commitment to R&D. Recommendation P1. The Air Force must significantly increase its R&D funding levels if it is to have a meaningful role in the development of micro-
OCR for page 198
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies and nanotechnology and if it is to be effective in harnessing these technologies for future Air Force systems. DoD and the Air Force have historically funded a majority share of the nation’s research in information technologies. Their funding retrenchment represents a national de-emphasis on the future of this critically important war-fighting capability. Finding P2. The military market for many micro- and nanotechnologies (e.g., advanced computing, communications, and sensing) is small in comparison with commercial markets. Yet, the Air Force and DoD have mission-specific requirements not satisfied by the commercial market. Military-specific applications will not be supported by industry without government and Air Force investment, particularly in basic research. Recommendation P2. The Air Force should concentrate its efforts in micro-and nanotechnology on basic research at the front end and on Air Force-specific applications at the back end. Rather than competing with the commercial sector, the Air Force should stay strongly connected to commercial advances and adapt them to Air-Force-specific requirements. Finding P3. The Air Force has recognized the importance of micro- and nanotechnologies for its future capabilities and has begun a planning process to maximize the benefits of its in-house and extramural research programs. Strong leadership will be necessary to ensure maximum benefit from the Air Force Research Laboratory research programs. The Air Force has coupled its programs with other research programs within DoD, especially those of DARPA and DDR&E. Recommendation P3. It will be critical to continue the planning for micro-and nanotechnologies at the highest levels of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). AFRL should also strengthen its external review processes to assist the leadership and to ensure that its work is well coordinated with national efforts. The Air Force should coordinate its initiatives with other federal agencies and work to build collaborative programs where appropriate. Finding P4. The committee perceived a lack of consistency in the quality of current in-house Air Force programs and in the benchmarking of those programs against the large number of programs under way throughout the world. Recommendation P4. Considering that micro- and nanotechnology is a new and rapidly emerging, interdisciplinary field, the Air Force should critically evaluate its efforts in micro- and nanotechnology to select areas of strong potential payoff for Air Force missions and to sustain the highest-quality program. This will require the following:
OCR for page 199
Implications of Emerging Micro- and Nanotechnologies Long-term professional participation of Air Force personnel as active partners with the external micro- and nanotechnology community. Strong leadership and technical evaluation at the highest levels of AFRL technical leadership, as has already begun. Both fundamental research and focused, interdisciplinary development efforts. Fundamental research efforts are required to sustain a cadre of scientists with a deep understanding of both micro- and nanotechnology developments and of Air Force requirements. Interdisciplinary development efforts put an essential Air-Force-specific overlay on this fundamental research and force multidisciplinary teams to confront real system- and subsystem-level problems, which is essential for bringing any technology from the laboratory bench to practical application. REFERENCES 1. National Science Foundation. 2000. Science and Engineering Indicators 2000. Available online at <http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/seind00/start.htm> [July 9, 2002]. 2. National Research Council. 2001. Review of the U.S. Department of Defense Air, Space, and Supporting Information Systems Science and Technology Program. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 3. Air Force Association. 2000. Shortchanging the Future January: Air Force Research and Development Demands Investment. Arlington, Va.: Air Force Association. 4. National Research Council. 2001. Review of the U.S. Department of Defense Air, Space, and Supporting Information Systems Science and Technology Program. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 5. National Research Council. 2001. Review of the U.S. Department of Defense Air, Space, and Supporting Information Systems Science and Technology Program. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 6. U.S. House of Representatives. 2001. Blue-Ribbon Panel Warns of Dangers of Reduced Investment in Defense Science and Technology, Committee on Science Press Release, July 27. Available online at <http://www.house.gov/science/press/107pr/107-66.htm> [July 10, 2002]. 7. Meeks, R.L. 2002. Changing Composition of Federal Funding for Research and Development and R&D Plant Since 1990, National Science Foundation InfoBrief NSF 02-315, April. Available online at <http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/infbrief/nsf02315/nsf02315.pdf> [July 10, 2002]. 8. U.S. House of Representatives. 2001. Pentagon Advisory Panel Criticizes Science Budget, Press Release, March 19. Available online at <http://www.house.gov/tonyhall/pr214.html> [July 10, 2002]. 9. American Association for the Advancement of Science. 2002. Trends in Federal R&D, FY 1990–2003. Available online at <http://www.aaas.org/spp/dspp/rd/cht9003a.pdf> [July 10, 2002]. 10. U.S. House of Representatives. 2001. Pentagon Advisory Panel Criticizes Science Budget, Press Release, March 19. Available online at <http://www.house.gov/tonyhall/pr214.html> [July 10, 2002]. 11. U.S. House of Representatives. 2001. Pentagon Advisory Panel Criticizes Science Budget, Press Release, March 19. Available online at <http://www.house.gov/tonyhall/pr214.html> [July 10, 2002].
Representative terms from entire chapter: