New NIST combinatorial methods center to accelerate development of advanced materials

November 16, 2001

This coming January, NIST will launch an important resource for those using combinatorial approaches to characterize and develop new materials -- a collaborative research center devoted to advancing state-of-the-art methods that can rapidly accelerate the effort.

The inaugural meeting for the new NIST Combinatorial Methods Center, to be based at NIST's Gaithersburg, Md., campus, will be held on Jan. 23, 2002, in conjunction with the Combi 2002 conference in San Diego.

At the NCMC kick-off meeting, NIST materials scientists will explain the structure, functions and capabilities of the new center. They also will describe opportunities to participate in center efforts to develop research tools, data libraries, and methods for efficient storage, retrieval and use of information--all aimed at speeding materials characterization. The range of topics to be addressed will be broad ranging, from polymers to biomaterials to inorganic materials.

In contrast to traditional, "one-at-a-time" testing of properties, combinatorial methods allow researchers to explore simultaneously or in rapid sequence, the combinations of materials characteristics and formulations on a miniaturized scale.

These still-evolving methods enable researchers to quickly evaluate how variables such as thickness, process temperature and composition influence a material's performance. With combinatorial tools, they can pinpoint optimal processing conditions, screen for novel properties and build comprehensive data sets for constructing predictive models.

The NCMC will concentrate on devising and testing emerging high-throughput approaches to investigate the chemical and physical properties, structural features and processing requirements critical for development of promising new materials.
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Detailed information on the NCMC, including registration for the first meeting in January 2002, may be found at http://www.nist.gov/combi To learn about the Combi 2002 conference, go to http://www.knowledgefoundation.com. For more on NIST's combinatorial methods efforts, send an electronic mail message to Alamgir Karim atcombi@nist.gov.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

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