$2.54 Million Award Forms Ohio Sensor and Semiconductor Innovation Platform

IMR and Nanotech West Awarded $2.5 Million to Form Ohio Sensor and Semiconductor Innovation Platform (OSSIP)

The state of Ohio’s Innovation Platform Program awarded the Ohio State University Institute for Materials Research (IMR) funding to establish the Ohio Sensor and Semiconductor Innovation Platform (OSSIP) Program, to be centered at OSU’s Nanotech West Lab.  The OSSIP program builds on current and past successes in enabling technology advancement and capitalizes on existing best practices, one-of-a kind infrastructure in Ohio, and already-trained staff engineers and technicians to enable new partner companies to advance near term product development in the area of infrared sensors and semiconductor-based devices and materials.

The $2.54 million, three-year award will partner OSU with Ohio industry to create high-tech jobs in the state.  The initial industrial partners in the program are L-3 / Cincinnati Electronics of Mason, Ohio, and SRICO of Columbus, Ohio.  The partnership with L-3/CE will develop new high-definition infrared (IR) focal plane arrays, while the work with SRICO will develop new sensors based on electro-optic modulators (EOM) and EO materials.  A specific goal of the program is that new products be commercially marketed within the 3 years of the program.

OSSIP leadership includes Principal Investigator Dr. Robert J. Davis, IMR Associate Director and Director of Nanotech West Lab, and co-investigators Dr. Steven A. Ringel, IMR Director and Neal Smith Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Dr. John Carlin, Associate Director of Nanotech West Lab.

Nanotech West Lab is a state-of-the-art and largest micro- and nanofabrication user facility in the state of Ohio.  Nanotech West is home to multiple centers of excellence and focused research groups, numerous industry-university partnerships, collaborations and consortia, and has a substantial track record of supporting and enabling research, development and commercialization of sensors, photovoltaics, electronics and advanced polymers within and outside of OSU.  For more information about OSU’s Nanotech West Lab, visit: http://nanotech.osu.edu/

 This award was funded by the Ohio Third Frontier’s Innovation Platform Program (IPP), which supports operating and capital equipment needs to benefit an entrepreneurial and commercial purpose.  IPP collaborations are formed to further the near-term commercialization of specific or platform technologies with significant, defined market opportunities.  A major goal of the Ohio Third Frontier is to build strong commercialization and innovation capabilities and capacities in defined technology areas within the state’s colleges and universities and nonprofit research organizations that support the needs of Ohio industry.

NSF Updates Grant Proposal Guide – Implications for Your Proposals

Effective January 14, 2013, the National Science Foundation has updated its Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG), (NSF 13-1), which includes the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) and the Award & Administration Guide (AAG).  Changes include revisions to the merit review criteria based on recommendations of the National Science Board’s report, “National Science Foundation’s Merit Review Criteria: Review and Revisions.”  

NSF’s changes will impact the preparation of your NSF proposals.  Faculty submitting letters of intent, pre-proposals and/or proposals to NSF are encouraged to take some time to familiarize themselves with the changes when developing their submissions, and should speak with their research administrators well in advance of submission to make sure NSF’s changes are incorporated properly in their materials. 

Resources For Researchers and Administrators

NSF’s Dear Colleague Letter – Issuance of a new NSF Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (NSF 13-004)  

NSF’s GPG Summary of Changes

NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, January 2013

Summary of Changes

The OSU Office of Research website has compiled some notable changes to NSF’s GPG:

  • Biographical Sketches – The Publications section has been renamed Products. Products may include, but are not limited to, publications, data sets, software, patents and copyrights.
  • Budget – If salary is not being requested for senior personnel, their names must be removed from Section A of the budget.  These senior personnel should still be listed on the cover sheet and their roles on the project described in the Facilities, Equipment and other Resources section of the proposal (see below).
  • Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources – Proposers must now include an aggregated description of the internal and external resources (both physical and personnel) that the organization and its collaborators will provide to the project, should it be funded. The information must be provided in this section, rather than in other parts of the proposal (e.g., budget justification, project description). It should be narrative in nature and must not include any quantifiable financial information. If there are no facilities, equipment or other resources information related to the proposal, a statement should be included in this section.
  • Project Description – Broader impacts must be described in a separate section within the narrative instead of being included as an integral part of the narrative. In addition, Results from Prior NSF Support has been redefined to include current NSF funding, whether or not the support was directly related to the proposal or salary support was provided.
  • Project Summary – The headings for Overview, Intellectual Merit and Broader are no longer required since FastLane has been modified to display three separate text boxes where the information should be provided. Note that proposals not containing all three elements of the Project Summary will be returned without review.
  • References Cited – If there are no references cited, a statement to that effect should be included in this section.
  • Review Criteria – this section has been replaced by an expanded Merit Review Principles and Criteria section.
  • Indirect Costs – NSF has elected to use grantee institutions’ predetermined overhead rates in most instances. NSF program staff is not authorized to suggest or request that PIs seek reduction or waivers of indirect cost.

CEM Renewal – Now Scheduling IRGs

The Center for Emergent Materials, Ohio State’s NSF MRSEC program, is beginning the renewal process and is considering IRGs to be included.  This is a collaborative effort, and mandatory IRG presentations will take place during the Electronic and Magnetic Nanoscale Composite Multifunctional Materials (ENCOMM) meeting times in November and December.

If your research group is considering putting together a potential Interdisciplinary Research Group (IRG), please read about the process below and visit CEM’s website here: http://cem.osu.edu/news/cem-renewal-proposal-identifying-interdisciplinary-research-groups/

The message below was sent out in early October from the Directors of the Center for Emergent Materials (CEM), the Electronic and Magnetic Nanoscale Composite Multifunctional Materials (ENCOMM) and the Institute for Materials Research (IMR) regarding the upcoming renewal process for the CEM, Ohio State’s NSF MRSEC program.


The CEM, currently composed of two IRGs, has just completed four years of its six year term; it is now time to start preparing a proposal for a second six-year cycle of funding. The Ohio State materials community has the breadth to generate a compelling proposal for a Center larger than our current composition; we envision proposing up to four IRGs for the renewed Center.

We anticipate that the white paper for this competition will be due in one year, so now is the time to begin working toward identifying and building the IRGs that we will propose. We find that one of the most challenging aspects of putting together a successful IRG proposal is forming a team that meets the MRSEC programs expectations: researchers collaborating to conduct cutting-edge research of such scale and complexity that it can only be accomplished in a center environment.

CEM’s renewal process, which we emphasize is separate from the proto-IRG or other seed funding competition, will commence in October 2012 with presentations to the materials community by prospective IRGs in which they outline their proposed scientific project. These presentations will take place during the ENCOMM meetings to be held Wednesday afternoons from 4:15-5:15 in PRB 4138. These meetings will run through the end of the calendar year. Proposals to be one of the IRGs that comprise the eventual NSF proposal will be due to the CEM on January 4, 2013. (Proposals will be submitted to Stephanie Arend, arend.24@osu.edu; more details on the proposal process will be available on the CEM website soon.)

The goals of these meetings will be to help teams identify and recruit key team members, provide feedback on the proposed project goals, scientific approach and team composition, and to make them more competitive for the MRSEC program.

We encourage prospective IRGs to start preparing immediately, and to contact Amanda Zuurdeeg at zuurdeeg.3@osu.edu to schedule a date for the presentation. Please don’t hesitate to contact me (hammel@physics.osu.edu) if you have questions.

As we are using multiple listservs to ensure broad dissemination you may receive more than one copy of this email.  We apologize if so.

Best regards,

Chris Hammel, CEM Director

Zeke Johnston-Halperin, ENCOMM Director

Steve Ringel, IMR Director


IMR Receives $400,000 Research Grant from Alcoa Foundation

We are pleased to announce that the Institute for Materials Research is the recipient of a $400,000 grant by The Alcoa Foundation in support of innovative research in lightweight vehicle structures by OSU faculty and students.

Professors Glenn Daehn, Materials Science and Engineering, and Anthony Luscher, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, will lead this project in design and manufacturing technologies to enable the creation of lighter, more environmentally friendly vehicle structures.

The Ohio State University’s College of Engineering has issued a press release with more details about this exciting new collaboration, available here: http://engineering.osu.edu/news/?p=2016

OSU’s partnership with Alcoa in lightweight vehicle structures is the only program in the United States currently supported by Alcoa Foundation’s Advancing Sustainability Research initiative. An entire day of the 2011 OSU Materials Week conference in September will also be devoted to the topic, “New Approaches for Lighter, More Sustainable Multi-Materials Vehicle Structures.” A variety of talks and panel discussions that day will showcase the novel research in lightweight vehicles by OSU researchers and industry collaborators from many different fields and perspectives including welding, corrosion, computational alloy design, and polymers and adhesives.

For more information about Alcoa Foundation’s Advancing Sustainability Research initiative, including a list of its partners worldwide, visit Alcoa’s website.

OSU’s Development office also has an article online about this collaboration: http://giveto.osu.edu/happenings/MarServ.Archive/Alcoa.html

IMR Collaborates on Three New OTF Photovoltaics Programs

The Ohio Third Frontier Commission announced $14 million in new funding of advanced energy sector awards last week, and we are excited to report that The Ohio State University Institute for Materials Research is a central collaborator on three of the five Photovoltaics Program Awards for fiscal year 2011. 

GreenField Solar Corporation in Oberlin, Ohio will use its $1 million award to support its program titled Low Cost Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) Design, with the goal of lowering the cost of its high-concentration PV system and obtaining UL certification. As part of the collaboration, metals deposition capabilities at OSU Nanotech West will be used to examine cost-reduction and manufacturing improvements in the metallizations used in the GreenField Photovolt® vertical multi-junction silicon PV device that resulted from technology developed at the NASA Glenn Research Center. The team also includes the Edison Materials Technology Center (EMTEC) of Dayton. The Principal Investigator of the Ohio State portion of the work is IMR Associate Director Bob Davis.

Energy Focus, Inc. in Solon, Ohio will receive $1 million to support its project, High Efficiency Photovoltaic Enabled Off-Grid System. The goal of this program is to develop and manufacture a standalone outdoor lighting product powered by an integrated low concentration photovoltaic system. Low-cost concentrator fabrication and supporting design structures will be created by team member Replex Plastics (Mt. Vernon OH).  The solar technology is based on an integrated compound semiconductor-on-silicon PV approach to enable low-cost, silicon-based high performance multijunction solar cells developed by Professor Steve Ringel’s group in ECE at OSU, with partial support by the PVIC Wright Center.  The primary OSU effort will transition this PV technology to an industry-compatible materials platform based on the new MOCVD (metalorganic chemical vapor deposition) facility at Nanotech West in collaboration with ECE’s Semiconductor Epitaxy and Analysis Lab (SEAL). The Principal Investigators of the Ohio State effort are IMR Research Scientist John Carlin, and ECE Professor and IMR Director Steve Ringel.

Process Technology of Mentor, Ohio was awarded over $350,000 for its project Commercialization of Inline Heater for Use in Photovoltaic Solar Cell Manufacturing, a collaboration with Cleveland State University and the OSU Nanotech West Lab. The project will design and market an ultrapure, low cost, intrinsically safe, inline chemical/water heater utilizing positive temperature coefficient (PTC) heating elements. As part of the development, Process Technology will install one of the new heater units at Nanotech West and demonstrate its reliability and utility in PV processing. Dr. Bob Davis will be leading the Ohio State demonstration effort.

All three of these new programs were enabled by OSU’s founding role in the Ohio Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization (PVIC), which funded staff and equipment at the Nanotech West Lab and other locations at Ohio State. For more information on the awards recently made by the Ohio Third Frontier program, see the Ohio Department of Development News Release: