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NIST AWARDS ZYVEX TEAM $25M CONTRACT FOR NANOTECHNOLOGY.

RICHARDSON, Texas, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Zyvex Corporation and Standard MEMS, Inc. has announced the award of a $25 million, five-year, cost-shared NIST Advanced Technology Program. Under this National Institute of Standards and Technology program, Zyvex, its joint venture partner Standard MEMS, Inc. and university collaborators Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Center for Automation Technologies, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of North Texas will accelerate the production and commercialization of low- cost assemblers for micro- and nanoscale components and subsystems.

The NIST ATP project will develop prototype microscale assemblers using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), extend the capabilities to nanometer geometries, and develop nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) for prototype nanoscale assemblers. The program is structured to develop systems providing highly parallel microassembly and nanoassembly for real-world, high-volume applications. Zyvex proposed the NIST ATP project in order to accelerate the technical, economic, and societal benefits of nanotechnology and to assist the United States in maintaining a leadership position in the emerging nanotechnology era.

"We are extremely proud to receive this award," said James R. Von Ehr, President and CEO of Zyvex. "The contract, along with the unique expertise of our partners, will allow us to shorten our development time and achieve our goal of flexible, automated manufacturing at ever-decreasing sizes. We believe that all businesses dependent on microtechnology, nanotechnology, and miniaturization will benefit from our proposed program and we applaud the NIST ATP for having the foresight to stimulate the growth of this crucial and emerging technology."

Zyvex will design, test, and characterize microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS), create assembled micro- and nanosystems, and develop software for MEMS design, verification, visualization, and simulation. Standard MEMS will develop fabrication processes and provide MEMS foundry services. RPI CAT will develop and provide robotic and automation expertise; UTD, nanoscale fabrication technologies; and UNT, surface science for friction and stiction control.

"We have assembled quite an impressive team to participate in this program," said Von Ehr. "From SMI's revolutionary MEMS fabrication processes to the micro- and nanoscale research being conducted at RPI, UTD, and UNT, each participant is a vital contributor in this innovative program."

The team is developing capabilities for heterogeneous assembly in business sectors including medical (microsurgical tools, drug delivery, in-vitro diagnostics, biological and chemical sensors), optical assemblies, telecommunications (MEMS tunable capacitors, microinductors, and microrelays), consumer electronics, and microfluidics. There are also potential applications for defense and space needs.

The NIST ATP's goal is to bridge the gap between the research lab and the marketplace by stimulating prosperity through innovation. Through partnerships with the private sector, ATP's early stage investment accelerates the development of innovative technologies that promise significant commercial payoffs and widespread benefits for the nation. As part of the highly regarded National Institute of Standards and Technology, the ATP provides a mechanism for industry to extend its technological reach, thereby extending the envelope of what can be attempted.

Nicholas E. Ortyl, Chairman and CEO of Standard MEMS, said, "We are pleased to be in NIST's nanotechnology ATP. During the past year, our development partnership with Zyvex Corporation [see press release dated January 19, 2001], has moved the science of nanotechnology closer to producing three-dimensional assembled microsystems. This assembly approach was impossible to create and demonstrate in prior years."

Interest in nanotechnology is growing exponentially in the form of startup companies, university research centers, increased federal, state and local government spending, and corporate investments in the field. The importance of nanotechnology to the United States' national interest has been recognized at the highest levels of government and has resulted in establishment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative with multi-agency funding of $270M in FY2000, $422M in FY2001, and $519M in FY2002. Zyvex anticipates that about $1B will be invested in developing and applying nanotechnology in the state of Texas alone over the next five years. The total estimated market that this program could impact is approximately $470B in the U.S. and $1,360B worldwide. The cumulative ten-year economic benefit of this NIST ATP program could well exceed $90B for the U.S. and $265B worldwide.
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Publication:EDP Weekly's IT Monitor
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 22, 2001
Words:673
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