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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


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Nanotechnology and the Federal Government

The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) program was established in 2001 to coordinate Federal research and development (R&D) in nanotechnology. Under the guidance of the National Science and Technology Council, the NNI provides a framework for a comprehensive Federal nanotechnology R&D program by establishing shared goals, priorities, and strategies across agencies. It also provides avenues for each individual agency to leverage the resources of all participating groups.

fpl Subsequently, the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act was created in 2003, calling for development of a strategic plan for Federal nanotechnology R&D programs. This multi-agency R&D initiative is critical for the economical and sustainable production of innovative forest-based materials. These materials will help meet societal needs while improving forest health and contributing to the expansion of biomass-based economies.

As a partner in the NNI, FPL leadership is actively determining the highest priority research areas based on FPL's mission, the needs of the Forest Service, and our capabilities and resources.

Partnering with industry, other Federal agencies, and academic resources, FPL's role in nanocellulose research will continually evolve to bring the potential of basic research into the action of practical use. Obtain nanocellose samples from the University of Maine's Process Development Center, Nanocellulose Facility

fpl By harnessing the potential of trees, nanotechnology can provide benefits for sustainable energy production, storage, and utilization as well as new approaches for producing engineered wood- and fiber-based materials. A wide range of new or enhanced wood-based nanomaterials and products could also offer cost-effective, sustainable substitutes for non-renewable materials used in the manufacture of metallic, plastic, or ceramic products.

Potential uses for nanotechnology in the wood products industry hint at a multitude of benefits:

  • "Intelligent" products with nanosensors for measuring forces, loads, moisture levels, and temperatures
  • Building blocks for macro-scale products with substantially enhanced properties
  • Coatings for improving surface qualities to make existing products more durable
  • A basis for making lighter-weight products using less material and less energy