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Page 288 8 The Next Decade Condensed-matter and materials physics lies at the heart of many of the scientific and technological challenges of our time. Progress in condensed-matter and materials physics drives our fundamental understanding of the materials and phenomena that enable technological advances; and condensed-matter and materials physics is entering a new era driven by new capabilities in synchrotron and neutron research, atomic-scale visualization, nanofabrication, and computing. These capabilities provide opportunities to examine the behavior of materials at levels of complexity and with degrees of microscopic control that are unprecedented. The new era promises to revolutionize our understanding of materials, expanding our knowledge beyond the physics of idealized systems to touch the real materials that enrich our lives. Fundamental understanding of electronic and optical phenomena, complex assemblies of atoms and multicomponent materials, nonequilibrium phenomena, and biological phenomena will fuel advances in technologies ranging from microelectronics to structural materials to medicine. The stage is set. The new era holds the promise of revolutionary developments in condensed-matter and materials physics that will contribute to economic growth, national security, and the quality of life. Success will require investing in human capital and research infrastructure, establishing partnerships across disciplines and institutions, integrating research and education, and maintaining excellence with relevance. Making the Right Investments Progress in condensed-matter and materials physics has been enabled by sustained investments in long-term research by federal agencies and at large
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Page 289 industrial laboratories. In recent years, in response to new competitive environments, industry has shifted away from long-term physical sciences research and toward nearer-term research and development. At the same time, the government's discretionary expenditures (which include R&D investments) have been constrained by efforts to balance the federal budget amidst growing entitlement outlays. Additional pressure on condensed-matter and materials physics funding comes from the field's responsibility to develop and operate large national facilities for materials research, such as synchrotrons and neutron sources, that are heavily utilized by a growing community of users from many scientific and engineering disciplines. As a result, although the resources available to condensed-matter and materials physics are substantial, there are severe constraints in comparison to the overall need to maintain the nation at the forefront of fundamental research in this technologically critical area. As a fraction of gross domestic product, federal investment in R&D has dropped by about half over the past 30 years. This trend of declining investment threatens U.S. leadership in science, including condensed-matter and materials physics. At the same time, it is estimated that half of the economic growth in the last half century has come from technological innovation that requires leadership in science. The President's budget request for FY 1999 reflects these concerns, placing increased priority on science and technology and showing strong gains for many federal research agencies. In addition, the bipartisan Fritz-Rockefeller bill (S. 2217) calls for a doubling of federal investment in civilian research over the next 12 years. This bill, known as the Federal Research Investment Act, is supported by a coalition of more than 100 science, engineering, and technology organizations. A parallel effort to increase support for defense R&D is also under way. Human Capital Many economists attribute current economic growth to investments in human capital, the capacity to generate new ideas that organize and rearrange existing resources to achieve productivity gains. Examples range from new ways of processing steel and polymers, to the soaring performance of electronic and optical systems, to the growth in software and computer applications. These advances share common characteristics of innovation and integration of knowledgethe economics of ideas. Human capital, enabled by investments in educational and research institutions, drives economic growth by providing the new ideas that allow escape from a traditional economic future limited by scarcity of resources and the law of diminishing returns. Unlike physical resources, which are limited in a finite world, the potential of human capital is nearly limitless. But it is not free. A commitment to education, to research, and to the free exchange of information and ideas is essential. In the modern global economy, world leadership is impossible without leadership in human capital.
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Page 290 In condensed-matter and materials physics, human capital is a product of the education system and the collective learning of universities, industry, and government laboratories. It is nourished by sustained investments in fundamental research and by maintaining close interactions among condensed-matter and materials physics performers, with other scientific disciplines, and with industry. The reservoirs of human capital include school teachers, the professoriate as both educators and researchers, and researchers and policy makers in government and industry. These reservoirs also include institutionsresearch universities and government and industrial laboratoriesthat provide the environment and infrastructure for generating and preserving knowledge and from which new ideas can emerge. Human capital is probably the single most important investment for science and technology. Human capital in condensed-matter and materials physics occupies a special place in the national economy, underpinning many of the technological advances that drive economic growth. The U.S. system of graduate education, research universities, government and industrial laboratories, and national facilities for condensed-matter and materials physics is the envy of the world. Maintaining this leadership requires continued commitment to strengthening these institutions. In addition, condensed-matter and materials physicists must play a crucial role in engaging undergraduates in research and improving their understanding of science and technology. These investments are needed to develop the human capital essential for leadership in condensed-matter and materials physics and related technologies. Facilities and Infrastructure Condensed-matter and materials physics encompasses a broad array of institutions and research modes, ranging from individual investigators to multidisciplinary teams, from bench science to large national facilities, and from fundamental to applications-oriented research. This diversity is representative of the diversity of the field and is essential to its success. Maintaining an appropriate balance among performers, institutions, and research modes is a continuing challenge for condensed-matter and materials physics. There are no clear boundaries. For example, large facilities are used primarily by individual investigators (often from fields other than condensed-matter and materials physics), and applications-oriented research often leads to breakthroughs in fundamental science. Priorities for infrastructure investments in facilities, laboratories, and institutions must be assessed in the context of this diversity and interdependence. Infrastructure Laboratories, instrumentation, and facilities for performing state-of-the-art condensed-matter and materials physics are becoming increasingly expensive to
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Page 291 develop and operate. At the same time, more universities are competing effectively for federal research dollars. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the needed infrastructure cannot be duplicated at even a few dozen universities, let alone the more than 180 institutions nationwide that grant physics Ph.D.s. It is estimated that nearly half of university laboratories in the physical sciences require refurbishment in order to be used effectively. Government institutions, including the DOE laboratories, are also burdened with an aging infrastructure. At the same time, there has been a significant increase in the availability of modem research infrastructure at major national and regional research facilities and centers. These facilities provide needed infrastructure on a shared basis. In addition, there is substantial research infrastructure at government laboratories (beyond the major facilities) that is contributing to alleviating this problem. The number of guest researchers from universities and industry at DOE national laboratories has skyrocketed in the past 15 years, and more could be accommodated with modest investments. An integrated solution, combining revitalization of university laboratories with modernization and increased community utilization of government laboratories, seems to provide the most cost-effective option to serve the infrastructure needs of the condensed-matter and materials physics community (see Box 8.1). Materials Microcharacterization and Processing Facilities The dozens of materials microcharacterization and processing centers distributed among universities and government laboratories provide access to electron microscopes, accelerators, and other microanalytical and processing equipment that is beyond the means of individual investigators. They also provide expertise in the operation of these facilities that greatly enhances their accessibility. As a result, state-of-the-art microcharacterization and processing capabilities are available to virtually all researchers on a shared basis. In addition, like larger facilities, these centers establish an environment where cross-disciplinary research is naturally encouraged. BOX 8.1 Recommendations for Materials Research Infrastructure and Microcharacterization and Processing Facilities • Increased investment in modernization of the condensed-matter and materials physics research infrastructure at universities and government laboratories. • Increased investment in state-of-the-art instrumentation and fabrication capabilities, including centers for instrumentation R&D, nanofabrication, and materials synthesis and processing.
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Page 292 Microcharacterization facilities also provide a resource for advancing microcharacterization science and developing new and better instrumentation. The United States has lagged in this area except in scanning-tunneling microscopy. Modest investments in research at these facilities could contribute to impressive performance gains in electron optics, visualization, virtual operation, and other improvements. Such investments are needed to ensure that the existing infrastructure is used effectively and that U.S. scientists have access to the best technology. The committee recognizes the essential role of regional and national centers for atomic-scale visualization, nanofabrication, materials synthesis and processing, high-field magnetism, and other specialized capabilities to support leading-edge condensed-matter and materials physics research. There should be explicit recognition of the importance of these centers and the need to strengthen their role in instrumentation development. In addition, attention should be given to the education of the next generation of instrument scientists (see Box 8.1). Neutron and Synchrotron Facilities In recent years, federal expenditures for the operation of large materials research facilities, such as neutron-scattering and synchrotron radiation sources, have received considerable attention because of the magnitude of these expenditures in comparison to the core research budgets of the agencies that fund them. In FY 1998, the estimated U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Basic Energy Sciences (BES) operating budgets for these facilities exceeded $253 million. The bulk of this amount, $235 million, was provided by the materials sciences and chemical sciences programs of BES. This represented approximately 38 percent of BES's total budget authority. Over the past decade, facility costs have almost doubled (in inflation-adjusted dollars), while the core research budgets of the BES materials sciences and chemical sciences programs have remained essentially constant. At the same time, there is increasing recognition that much of the research performed at these facilities (particularly at synchrotron sources) is in scientific and technological areas other than materials and chemical sciences. There have, therefore, been proposals that federal programs more closely linked to these other research areas should provide significant facility operating funds. Two national synchrotron radiation facilities have been constructed recently: the Advanced Light Source (ALS) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, for ultraviolet and soft x-ray research, and the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory, for x-ray research. In addition, the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) at Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) at Cornell University, the Synchrotron Radiation Center (SRC) at the University of Wisconsin,
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Page 293 and the Synchrotron Ultraviolet Radiation Facility II (SURF II) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology remain highly active and productive. In contrast, construction of the Advanced Neutron Source, which was to have been a reactor source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was canceled in 1995. In addition, the High Flux Beam Reactor at Brookhaven National Laboratory is currently not operating, and there is opposition to restarting it. On a positive note, the neutron-scattering facilities at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have been recently upgraded and the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) at Oak Ridge is being upgraded. Nevertheless, the neutron-scattering field now depends on an array of facilities that is even smaller than what was already found inadequate by national review committees in the 1980s and early 1990s. As a consequence of these concerns, the DOE's Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (BESAC) recently established reviews of its existing and proposed neutron and synchrotron radiation facilities. BESAC considered the neutron situation at a meeting in Washington, D.C., on February 5-6, 1996. Drawing on reports from several national panels, BESAC made the following recommendations for neutron-scattering facilities: • Construct a 1 MW, upgradable short-pulse spallation neutron source, now known as the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS). • Upgrade existing neutron scattering facilities at the High Flux Beam Reactor at Brookhaven National Laboratory, the High Flux Isotope Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Los Alamos Neutron Scattering Center at Los Alamos National Laboratory. BESAC further emphasized that the proposed construction and upgrades, while critically important to the future of neutron-scattering science in the United States, must not come at the expense of other BES research activities and must take explicit recognition of the additional operating and instrument development needs involved. Considerable progress has been make toward implementing these recommendations. The conceptual design for SNS has been completed, and construction funding for the project has been included in the FY 1999 budget. SNS will be constructed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory by a consortium of five DOE national laboratories. In addition, the proposed upgrades at the High Flux Isotope Reactor and the Los Alamos Neutron Scattering Center are under way. The committee recommends priority construction of SNS as well as upgrades to existing neutron-scattering facilities, provided that these projects do not come at the expense of the core research programs of BES (see Box 8.2). To address issues related to the operation and scientific roles of synchrotron facilities, BESAC established the Panel on Synchrotron Radiation Sources and Sciences in 1997. This panel was charged to assess the scientific importance of
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Page 294 BOX 8.2 Recommendations for Major Materials Research Facilities • Prompt construction of the Spallation Neutron Source as well as upgrades to existing neutron scattering facilities. • Increased funding for operations and upgrades at synchrotron facilities including research and development on fourth-generation sources. • Consideration of the broad utilization of synchrotron and neutron-scattering facilities across scientific disciplines and sectors when establishing budgets for the agencies that operate these facilities. synchrotron radiation over the next decade, determine the size and nature of the user community both globally and by facility, and assess the operation of the facilities including their plans and vision for the future. The panel was also asked to make detailed recommendations under various budget scenarios and to consider the consequences of closing one or more of the BES synchrotron facilities. In its report to BESAC, the panel concluded unanimously that ''... shutdown of any one of the four DOE/BES synchrotron light sources over the next decade would do significant harm to the nation's science research capabilities and would considerably weaken our international competitive position in this field.'' The panel recommended the following actions (in priority order): 1. Continue operation of the three hard x-ray sources (APS, NSLS, and SSRL) for their large user communities, with a modest investment for general user support and for R&D on a fourth-generation x-ray source. (Recommended expenditures at both NSLS and SSRL were $3 million per year above the FY 1998 DOE-requested levels.) 2. Develop new beam lines at APS and modernize existing facility beam lines at NSLS. (Recommended expenditures were $8 million per year at APS and $3 million per year at NSLS.) 3. Fund ALS at the FY 1998 DOE-requested level of $35 million. The panel also recommended funding proposed upgrades to the NSLS and SSRL facilities at an estimated cost of $27 million per year over 3 years. These upgrades should be carried out under a special initiative separate from the normal budgeting process. For example, BES might seek partnerships with other divisions within DOE and with other agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or could request a budget add-on. This recommendation was intermediate in priority between the second and third priorities above. The committee recommends support for operations and upgrades at existing synchrotron facilities (including modest investments for user support), as well as
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Page 295 R&D on a fourth-generation x-ray source. Synchrotron and neutron-scattering facilities are used extensively by researchers in various scientific disciplines, but the operating funds for the facilities are drawn from the agencies and programs that developed the facilities. The committee recommends that this fact be taken into account when the budgets of agencies operating these facilities are formulated (see Box 8.2). In light of the extensive use of the synchrotron radiation facilities by fields other than materials and chemical sciences, the panel considered funding models that included contributions from other agencies. Their conclusion was that this is not practical. Rather, the panel endorsed BES's stewardship of synchrotron radiation sources, and urged BES to build on the broad impact of these facilities, especially in fields related to health and the environment, to increase its own base budget. The panel did, however, recommend diversification of the funding sources for special initiatives such as the proposed SSRL and NSLS upgrades. There are synchrotron and neutron facilities supported by agencies other than DOE, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). These facilities are used by scientists supported by these and other federal and private agencies and institutions. Given the considerable cost of operating and improving these facilities, it is important that there be coordinated, interagency (including at least DOE, NSF, DOC, and NIH) consideration of, and planning for, neutron and synchrotron radiation facilities. The respective roles of these agencies in funding the construction, instrumentation, upgrading, and operation of these facilities should be delineated. However, each facility should have one agency that provides support for basic operations, and the broad utilization of synchrotron and neutron-scattering facilities across scientific disciplines and sectors should be considered in establishing the budgets for the agencies that operate these facilities. A committee of the National Research Council is considering interagency issues related to national facilities. Redefining Roles and Relationships The national R&D enterprise includes the funding agencies as well as essential components in industry, universities, and government laboratories. Industry is by far the largest performer of R&D in the United States, with expenditures of $133 billion in FY 1997, compared with $72 billion for the remaining sectors. Industrial R&D, however, is heavily weighted toward near-term development; industry provided only one-fourth of the $31 billion of U.S. investment in basic research in FY 1997. Universities and government laboratories are the largest performers of basic or fundamental research. Universities play a unique role in education, while government laboratories provide the infrastructure for multidisciplinary research and large facilities. Recently, many states have become significantly involved in the R&D enterprise, providing funds to stimulate the research competitiveness of their states. The states, responding to correla-
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Page 296 tions between R&D activity and regional economic development, are becoming important resources for research support. Within condensed-matter and materials physics, there are many approaches to the conduct of research, ranging from individual investigators to large multidisciplinary teams and from bench-scale experiments to studies at major national facilities. There is also a diversity of federal sponsors for condensed-matter and materials research, led by DOE, NSF, and the defense agencies. No single approach can span the diversity of research problems, and an effective national research program requires balance among a variety of performers and approaches. Achieving this balance requires an appreciation of the R&D roles of industry, universities, and government laboratories and of how to establish relationships among performers that encourage research synergy, funding leverage, and scientific productivity. The diversity of performers, institutions, and funding sources is a fundamental strength of condensed-matter and materials physics, essential to progress in a field that embraces both fundamental and applications-oriented research and spans both small and big science. Role of Research Universities Research universities are the bedrock of the U.S. R&D system. They are embedded in our communities with a holistic mission in knowledge creation, integration, and transfer. The desired outcomes are increased human capital (particularly in the form of trained students), opportunities for an improved quality of life (created by the advancement of knowledge), and an enlightened general public. Long the envy of the world, U.S. research universities face serious challenges over the next decade. Curricula will have to be overhauled to respond to the needs of industry in the global marketplace. Costs, which have escalated faster than the inflation rate for more than 2 decades, will have to be contained. Outreach to communities and businesses will have to be improved to create a public that understands and supports research and can compete in a technological economy. Underrepresented groups must be attracted to research careers in order to ensure an adequate supply of future talent. These challenges will have to be met in an environment of increasing research infrastructure costs, while adjusting to the impact of new information technology that will make distance learning and remote participation in research a reality. Within condensed-matter and materials physics, universities face the daunting challenge of determining how to support and distribute new R&D infrastructure. It will simply not be possible to duplicate the infrastructure now available at major research universities across the university system. A system of teaming will have to be established, among universities and between universities and government laboratories, to ensure broad access to the best research facilities. The time it takes to obtain a physics Ph.D. is approaching 7 years. This is costly and undesirable, particularly when industry, the permanent employer of
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Page 297 the majority of physics Ph.D. recipients, places a higher premium on flexibility and just-in-time learning than on in-depth knowledge within a narrow field. Graduate programs in applied physics and engineering physics appear to have bridged this gap successfully at several universities. Perhaps the time has come to redefine the physics Ph.D. or develop a professional degree for the industrial physicist. The steady decline in the number of undergraduate physics majors over the past 2 decades represents a major challenge to the field. Continued reliance on foreign students to fill graduate physics programs and provide human capital to U.S. industry is unwise in a global economy when offshore educational and employment opportunities can be expected to improve. The survival of the field and its continued impact on the U.S. economy depend on making physics relevant to U.S. students. Diversity presents the major opportunity here. Although the enrollment of women in physics has doubled over the past 2 decades, women only accounted for 12 percent of physics doctorates granted in 1997. African-American and Hispanic enrollments have not changed in recent years and only represented 1 to 2 percent of new physics doctorates in 1997. National demographic trends dictate that continued leadership in physics will require participation by these underrepresented groups. Research universities serve a variety of customers, including students, industry, research sponsors, and the general public. Continued success over the next decade will require increased attention to the special needs of these customers, from outreach programs to engage students and the public, to exchange programs with industry to promote better understanding of market drivers. Within condensed-matter and materials physics, particular attention must be given to designing a curriculum that communicates the excitement and impact of physics to beginning undergraduates and that is more responsive to the needs of industry in graduate programs. Role of Government Laboratories Government laboratories, particularly the large multiprogram laboratories, represent a national R&D asset of enormous capability. These laboratories have the infrastructure and human capital to address large-scale problems of national importance that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries and require access to special facilities. Within condensed-matter and materials physics, government laboratories conduct multidisciplinary research related to national missions in energy, defense, commerce, and space. These laboratories also develop and operate the nation's most powerful research tools for materials research, including synchrotrons, neutron sources, and microcharacterization facilities. Such facilities are an essential part of the R&D fabric of the nation, serving thousands of scientists from universities and industry. A particular strength of the laboratories is the performance of long-term, large-scale, multidisciplinary research in an applications context. Such research
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Page 298 requires a critical mass of resources to integrate across disciplines and apply a variety of tools to address a problem. In the past, this approach led to the development in large industrial laboratories of the transistor, synthetic polymers, and the solid-state laser. Today, with industry focusing on global competitiveness and nearer-term development, government laboratories represent the principal national resource for research on this scale. Realizing the full potential of this resource requires a continuing commitment to long-term, multidisciplinary research and development at the laboratories and effective research integration with universities and industry. Facilitating this integration and the related research and development partnerships is an important role of the government laboratories. In addition, the connection of program offices to research should be strengthened through exchanges at all levels between the agencies and the research community. The government laboratories also represent a powerful resource for research infrastructure and integration. The success of the major materials-research facilities at these laboratories suggests that broader use of the entire infrastructure by universities and industry should be encouraged. This is already happening; the number of guest scientists performing research on site has more than doubled at many laboratories over the past decade. The government laboratories can also assist by providing access to state-of-the-art infrastructure for thesis research and by facilitating the formation of teams involving shared resources and effort with universities and industry to address appropriate research topics. Better utilization of the government laboratories can significantly reduce the infrastructure problems currently being encountered in other sectors of the R&D establishment. Interactions with Industry Condensed-matter and materials physics occupies a special position in science: fundamental research at the technological frontier. It is one of those rare fields for which the distance between basic research and technological development is small and the concept of "strategic intent" is applicable to research. As a result, condensed-matter and materials physics finds itself closer to industry than any other subfield of physics, and industry has a tradition of involvement in condensed-matter and materials physics as a practitioner, partner in research, and employer of condensed-matter and materials physicists. Interactions with industry are vital to the development of the field and its impact on the economy. A primary interaction is between industry and universities. Here, industry is looking for talent to promote growth and innovationtalent that is the product of graduate schools. Curricula in physics (including condensed-matter and materials physics) have evolved little over the past decade. At the same time, industry has undergone extensive change, and the pace of the worldwide technology enterprise has accelerated greatly. Industrial input is needed to help physics educa-
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Page 299 tion adapt and become more flexible so that it can better serve the future needs of industry and the nation. R&D interactions with industry involve both universities and government laboratories. For large companies with in-house R&D capabilities, access to unique skills or facilities at universities or government laboratories drives the interaction. These interactions often involve a financial commitment by the company to the partner organization. For smaller companies, many that have no R&D capabilities of their own, interactions with universities and government laboratories may be the only way to assemble the necessary R&D resources to address a technical barrier. The success of cooperative research interactions depends critically on pursuing projects that contribute to the core missions of all involved organizations. An urgent need is the development of workable intellectual property arrangements, particularly between industry and universities (see Box 8.3). Industry interactions with universities and government laboratories help provide a strategic context for condensed-matter and materials physics research. This is extremely important in a field that has such a direct impact on the economy and for which there are insufficient resources to explore every opportunity. Choices have to made, and interactions with industry provide useful input as to what may be important. As a first step, physics departments should become more involved in the industrial liaison programs at their universities, and government laboratories should engage in cost-shared research in their competency areas with industry to provide a window on technology. These interactions should not drive condensed-matter and materials physics research at universities and government laboratories, but they can provide a context for appreciating the broader implications of the research. The Importance of Partnerships Condensed-matter and materials physics is an ecosystem that involves a wide variety of performers, institutions, and research styles. The vitality of this ecosystem depends on establishing productive relationships among the participants. Partnerships are important in all branches of science, as noted in the 1996 report Endless Frontier, Limited Resources by the Council on Competitiveness. The central finding of that report was that "R&D partnerships hold the key to meeting the [R&D] challenge that our nation now faces." This point is especially important in condensed-matter and materials physics, where a range of performers and approaches is often required in order to span the expertise and capabilities required to make progress. Within condensed-matter and materials physics, there is a tradition of partnerships among universities, government laboratories, and industry. These partnerships include informal collaborations, the use of unique facilities, personnel exchanges, consulting, and subcontracts and other formal relationships including
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Page 300 BOX 8.3 The Intellectual Property Bottleneck A major impediment to collaboration between scientists from different institutions arises from policies and expectations concerning intellectual property (IP). When investigators from different institutions wish to work together, they must typically enter into a formal written agreement that addresses, among other things, inventions, patents, copyrights, and trade secrets. Such agreements are often prepared by attorneys representing their respective institutions. Negotiating these agreements has always been problematic. With intensified scrutiny of the economic rewards of research, these negotiations have become increasingly time consuming and frustrating. No two institutions view IP in the same way, and views seem to evolve over time. The patent concerns of very large companies center on freedom of action. As both sources and users of IP, large companies are frequently cross-licensed with major competitors in common fields of endeavor. This helps to prevent a large company from being denied access to important patents. The strength of a large company's patent portfolio plays a major role in establishing the terms and conditions of these cross-licensing agreements and also can provide additional income through direct licensing to other companies. Extensive cross-licensing of patents implies a lack of exclusivity, although know-how and trade secrets may still be handled in an exclusive fashion. Small companies typically view things very differently. One or two key patents can be the basis for the company's existence. Exclusivity can mean the difference between success and failure. Universities are sources of IP but are generally not users in the commercial sense. Sale or licensing of IP, exclusively or nonexclusively, can provide income to the institution, income to the inventors, and evidence of the institution's value to society. Government laboratories are similar to universities, although legislation authorizing cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) for jointly sponsored research between government laboratories and industries has helped to facilitate IP negotiations. In today's environment of intense economic pressure, it is not surprising that agreement on terms and conditions for joint work with IP-generating potential is often difficult to achieve, particularly when the agreements are being negotiated by individuals other than those who want to work together. With sufficient perseverance IP agreements can usually be put in place, although often with considerable delay and expense. Too often the enthusiasm for the interaction or the timeliness of the work expires before an agreement is struck. In addition, existing agreements tend not to be precedent-setting, and negotiations between the same institutions frequently begin anew, often with different sets of attomeys, when a new project is proposed. A particular irony is that the likelihood that valuable patents will be generated decreases as the proposed work becomes more fundamental in nature, yet the fervor of the negotiations seems to endure undiminished. Although difficult to quantify, it is clear that the present system is time consuming, inefficient, expensive, and a major obstacle to the investment of industry in university research. Industry has established its IP practices over decades, and these practices appear to work smoothly in the industrial sector. Universities and government laboratories, on the other hand, have IP practices that reflect different priorities and are still evolving. CRADAs are an important first step, but improved industry-government-university cooperation in research depends critically on achieving mutual understanding and convergence on IP issues among the sectors.
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Page 301 cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs). CRADA partnerships, although not without controversy, have been enormously successful in bringing together government laboratories and industry. Box 8.4 summarizes the important characteristics of successful R&D partnerships. Partnerships within and among funding agencies are also becoming increasingly common as traditional barriers yield to the advantages of leverage and working together. The states are also playing an important role, providing key support to facilitate partnerships that have an impact on regional economies. Recreating the fertile research environment of the major industrial laboratories of the past 50 years is a high priority for condensed-matter and materials physics. That environment, which has significantly diminished in U.S. industry, was extremely productive in both science and technology. In effect, these laboratories functioned as national laboratories, before divestiture and global economic forces required them to adopt a nearer-term, more focused approach to R&D. The extraordinary success of these laboratories resulted from their ability to integrate long-term fundamental research, cross-disciplinary teams that included experimentalists and theorists, materials synthesis and processing, and a strategic intent. The elements of this fertile ground still exist in condensed-matter and materials physics in the form of potential partnerships among universities, government laboratories, and industry. Federal R&D agencies should encourage partnerships that recreate BOX 8.4 Recommendations for R&D Partnerships The committee encourages R&D partnerships among universities, government laboratories, industry, and government agencies in order to • Optimize the use of infrastructure and facilities, • Enable cross-disciplinary research, • Improve university and government laboratory appreciation of industry priorities and needs, • Share the risks and returns of long-term research, and • Assemble teams that can emulate the fertile research environment of the large industrial research laboratories of the past half century. These partnerships should be fostered by • Making resources available through special programs that encourage partnerships, • Developing effective protocols for intellectual property issues in cooperative research, • Encouraging university and government laboratory internships and sabbaticals in industry, and • Requiring partners to have a stake in the partnership (e.g., for universities and government laboratories, the partnership should add value to core missions).
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Page 302 this environment in appropriate subfields of condensed-matter and materials physics. This will require the development of management systems and intellectual property practices appropriate for such multisector initiatives. Integrating Research and Education Support for fundamental research in an education-rich environment characterizes the U.S. research university and distinguishes it from universities in many countries. The U.S. research university has indeed been, over the past 50 years, the envy of the world. During the Cold War, much of the research activity in these institutions was concentrated in physical sciences and engineering. As a branch of physics with intimate links to engineering, condensed-matter and materials physics played a key role during this period in contributing to the research strength, national defense, and economic health of the country. Its strong quantum mechanical foundations, coupled with intimate links to the world of technology, have been key features. Soon after the end of World War II, many of the U.S.'s leading universities created applied physics departments and programs that emphasized this link between physics and technology. Today, with strong currents of change in the external environment, discussed elsewhere in this report, we must reexamine the role in society of physics in general and condensed-matter and materials physics in particular. To succeed in coming decades, we must continue to pioneer new, often interdisciplinary, research directions that address societal needs. In parallel, we are challenged to do a better job of educating our students in a time of diminishing resources. To do both well, we need to be more effective in integrating the teaching and research components of academe's mission, as is increasingly recognized nationally. The National Science Foundation (NSF) highlighted, in its 1995 document NSF in a Changing World, the importance of integrating education and research. Along with the development of intellectual capital, physical infrastructure, and promotion of partnerships, the integration of research and education forms one of the four core strategies of NSF. A decade ago, NSF pioneered the creation of Science and Technology Centers (STCs) and Engineering Research Centers (ERCs), which focus both on interdisciplinary research and on the integration of research and education. Many other excellent examples of undergraduate participation in research exist both in independent study, such as the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program, and in classroom-based activities. In addition, there is a national call to better integrate research and education in graduate programs. To encourage this integration, NSF is supporting a number of summer workshops for beginning science and engineering faculty and graduate students planning faculty careers. The experience gained from these efforts, as well as the intrinsic nature of condensed-matter and materials physics research, should allow physics, applied physics, and materials-oriented faculty to make key contributions to campus-wide
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Page 303 efforts to integrate research and education. To make this possible, we must work proactively on many fronts. Universities and departments must be at the forefront of this effort and can greatly increase the attraction of physics in basic ways. 1. Bring the excitement of research and discovery into education at an earlier stage. The intimate relationship between technology and daily life provides us with many opportunities to show this relationship to our students: quantum mechanics in the real world, "seeing atoms" with tunneling microscopes, superconductivity, magnetism, and so on. 2. Take a more holistic approach to education, combining depth with breadth. The importance of interdisciplinary education and research are particular strengths of condensed-matter and materials physics. New linkages need to be forged with other sciences, applied sciences, and engineering. Team-teaching that both high-lights the fundamentals and illustrates concepts from different fields can broaden horizons for both students and faculty. 3. Departments should consider new professional degree programs that link undergraduate physics education with, for example, engineering-oriented disciplines. Professional master's programs in engineering physics areas such as instrumentation science, materials synthesis, and biotechnology, for example, would be of particular importance to the condensed-matter and materials physics community. Such programs would enhance the value of these degrees and be particularly suited to training of the industrial physicist. 4. Joint academic appointments across departments, to break down disciplinary barriers, need to be encouraged. Campuses should experiment with the creation of "virtual departments," which would aid intellectual restructuring to better achieve their research and education missions in changing times. 5. Most Ph.D. dissertations in condensed-matter and materials physics are experimental. Many of today's graduate students are very strong in computer skills but have little hands-on experimental experience. This critical imbalance in experimental skills can be corrected by requiring undergraduates to have research experiences in faculty laboratories or summer internships in industry or at national laboratories. 6. Applied physics departments and programs can serve as a critical link to industrial liaison programs, which generally are strong in colleges of engineering. The inclusion of an appropriate subset of physics and condensed-matter and materials physics faculty and students would help to provide a critical link with our technological future. A Research Strategy for Condensed-Matter and Materials Physics Managing scientific research is a delicate mater. If one invested only in winning projects in the right fields, the impact would presumably be enormous.
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Page 304 In reality, science proceeds on a broad front, with many advances dependent on progress in other branches of science and technology, and breakthroughs coming at unexpected times with unanticipated benefits. One need only consider the discovery of high-temperature superconductivity to appreciate this unpredictability. Nevertheless, there are important choices to be made. The desired output of federal investments in science and technology is the creation of new knowledge and discoveries; the desired outcome is improved economic growth, national security, and quality of life. Although specific scientific breakthroughs cannot be planned, the environment in which science is performed can be optimized to encourage successful outputs and outcomes. Discovery Encouraging discovery is critical to the strategic success of condensed-matter and materials physics. Incremental progress is not sufficient to maintain leadership in science or technology. Although discovery cannot be predicted, it often occurs when researchers explore the boundaries between fields and when advances in instrumentation make possible new measurements. Both can be encouraged within the federal R&D system. Funding must be made available for research at the interfaces between disciplines. For example, the new field of molecular mechanics falls between structural biology and macromolecular physics. New mechanisms must be developed to encourage and evaluate interdisciplinary proposals, which are often lost in a peer-review process organized according to traditional disciplines. A multiplicity of funding sources is also essential to ensure that bold, new ideas are given an opportunity to succeed. Increased flexibility for agency program managers to take risks in funding decisions should also be encouraged. New facilities and instrumentation create new opportunities in condensed-matter and materials physics, and continued support for facilities and for broad access to them must be emphasized. Finally, the strategic context of the research should be understood, particularly in condensed-matter and materials physics, where the coupling to technology is so strong. The strategic context of a research area encompasses the related technological issues and opportunities. A broad appreciation of strategic context is important both in planning research and in recognizing significant potential research developments. This appreciation is most effectively acquired through interactions with industry through research partnerships, personnel exchanges, and consulting arrangements. Scientific Themes Chapters 1 through 6 of this report identify the key scientific questions that are expected to drive the subfields of condensed-matter and materials physics for the next decade. Specific areas of emphasis for future condensed-matter and materials physics research are suggested. In this section, the committee addresses
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Page 305 a broader question: Where is the field headed? In particular, what strategic themes are expected to unite the field and catalyze scientific and technical progress (see Box 8.5). Maintaining scientific excellence, a long-term perspective, and a world-class environment for research are essential. The research environment has been the subject of much of this chapter, and recommendations have been given for investing in facilities and infrastructure, encouraging partnerships across disciplines and institutions, integrating research and education, and encouraging discovery. We turn now to strategic scientific themes for condensed-matter and materials physics. The committee identified 10 scientific themes that span and underpin the subfield-specific scientific priorities of condensed-matter and materials physics as described in the body of this report. These themes, which are listed in Box 8.5, represent high-level strategic priorities for condensed-matter and materials physics research over the next decade. • The quantum mechanics of large, interacting systems focuses on the emergent phenomena that result when large collections of atoms are brought together to form a material. Important examples include Bose-Einstein condensation, high-temperature superconductivity, and colossal magnetoresistance. These emergent phenomena are bringing quantum mechanics into the world of our experience. • The realm of reduced dimensionality includes thin films, surfaces and interfaces, artificially structured materials, polymer chains, and nanoclusters. An improved understanding of thin-film growth, self-assembly, and materials properties at reduced dimensions is essential to technological advances ranging from BOX 8.5 Strategic Scientific Themes in Condensed-Matter and Materials Physics • The quantum mechanics of large, interacting systems • The structure and properties of materials at reduced dimensionality • Materials with increasing complexity in composition, structure, and function • Nonequilibrium processes and the relationship between molecular and mesoscopic properties • Soft condensed matter and the physics of large molecules, including biological structures • Controlling electrons and photons in solids on the atomic scale • Understanding magnetism and superconductivity • Properties of materials under extreme conditions • Materials synthesis, processing, and nanofabrication • Moving from empiricism toward predictability in the simulation of materials properties and processes
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Page 306 displays to catalysis. Reduced dimensionality also provides opportunities to extend understanding of fundamental phenomena including phase transitions, magnetism, morphological development and strain, and novel quantum effects. • Continued progress in condensed-matter and materials physics depends on the ability to understand materials at increasing levels of compositional, structural, and functional complexity. Advances in atomic-scale visualization, synchrotron and neutron sources, and computational capabilities are providing opportunities to extend fundamental understanding beyond model systems to the structure and properties of real materials. Examples include highly correlated systems, multicomponent magnets and superconductors, and polymer blends. • Nonequilibrium processes include phenomena such as friction, fracture, microstructural evolution, and pattern formation. These phenomena occur away from mechanical and thermal equilbrium and, in many cases, are controlled by processes that develop both at the atomic and mesoscopic scales. The ability to bridge length scales and to understand complex patterns in fluids and solidification is essential to continued progress. • There has been a spectacular increase in soft condensed-matter research over the past decade. This field emphasizes the softness and fluidity of materialsthe physics of large molecules. Its importance derives from the pervasive use of polymers, complex fluids, and macromolecular systems in medicine, industry, and consumer products. Research in soft condensed matter has strong connections to biology, especially through fundamental understanding derived from synchrotron and neutron sources and from investigations of molecular mechanics and energy flow. • The fundamental understanding of electrons and photons in solids underpins the Information Age. Driven by the need for faster, cheaper, more compact information-processing and communication technologies, the limits of electronic and photonic phenomena are relentlessly challenged. The future of these technologies depends on the ability to control electrons and photons in solids at the near-atomic level. • Magnetism and superconductivity are interrelated phenomena of enormous fundamental and technological importance. Although much progress has been made, the basic understanding of magnetism is incomplete, and there is no agreement as to why high-temperature superconductivity occurs. Research is needed in many areas including low-dimensional magnetism, nanoscale magnetism, and high-temperature superconducting phenomena. • Research on the structure and properties of materials under extreme conditions of pressure, temperature, and magnetic field continues to provide one of the most powerful means to test theories and explore novel phenomena in condensed-matter and materials physics. • Materials synthesis is an area of extreme importance to condensed-matter and materials physics. In many areas of condensed-matter and materials physics research, the availability of research samples of sufficient quality and size is the
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Page 307 limiting step to continued progress. The United States has lagged in the development of materials-synthesis and processing capabilities despite strong recommendations from the National Research Council report, Materials Science and Engineering for the 1990s: Maintaining Competitiveness in the Age of Materials.1 Access to facilities for nanofabrication and crystal growth is needed, as well as increased emphasis on processing research. • The increasing power of computers foreshadows a shift from empriricism toward increased predictability in materials development. Although in its infancy, this shift presents significant challenges to and opportunities for materials theory and computional physics. The prospects for accelerating progress in condensed-matter and materials physics through simulation of complex systems are truly revolutionary. Excellence with Relevance Condensed-matter and materials physics is science at the technological frontier. The fundamental understanding of materials and materials phenomena is central to continuing advances in almost all areas of modern technology. Enormous societal benefits have been derived from condensed-matter and materials physics research. The continued impact of condensed-matter and materials physics depends on maintaining leadership across the broad spectrum of condensed-matter and materials physics research activities. It requires strategic investments in research, facilities and infrastructure, and human capital. It requires a research system that encourages discovery and partnerships. It requires an integration of contributions from a diversity of research approaches, institutions, and disciplines. The recommendations of this report are intended to encourage continued excellence with relevance in condensed-matter and materials physics. Guidance is provided on strategic priorities for scientific themes and the research environment. Urgent facilities and infrastructure needs are addressed. The importance of partnerships involving universities, government laboratories, and industry and spanning disciplines and agencies is emphasized. These partnerships are essential to leverage resources, enable cross-disciplinary research, and provide a strategic context for condensed-matter and materials physics research. The integration of research and education is also discussed along with recommendations for improving condensed-matter and materials physics education. Condensed-matter and materials physics lies at the heart of revolutionary advances in broad areas of science and technology. The next decade promises exciting new discoveries and powerful technology impacts as new capabilities in synchrotron and neutron research, atomic-scale visualization, nanofabrication, 1 Materials Science and Engineering for the 1990s: Maintaining Competitiveness in the Age of Materials, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. (1989).
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Page 308 computing, and many other areas probe the secrets of materials and materials-related phenomena. This is a new era, as vast new arenas ranging from subtle quantum phenomena, to macromolecular science, to the realm of complex materials become increasingly accessible to fundamental study. It is a time of exceptional opportunity to perform pioneering research at the technological frontiera frontier enabled by advances in condensed-matter and materials physics.
Representative terms from entire chapter: