The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has selected LBL to create and host one of two Molecular Design Institutes, an initiative spearheaded by Mark Alper and colleagues in the Materials Sciences Division. The Laboratory has been awarded an initial grant of $735,000 and is scheduled to receive an additional $6 million later this year. Georgia Tech was selected as the other host, for which it will receive $490,000 and $4 million, respectively.
The purpose of the Molecular Design Institute (MDI) is to combine the efforts of chemists, biochemists, and physicists for the atomic-scale design, synthesis, processing, and characterization of new molecules and materials. Potential areas of application include electronics, photonics, sensors, catalysts, and a wide variety of novel materials and coatings.
LBL will establish its MDI in collaboration with five universities and four private companies, which, with the Laboratory, formed a consortium and put together an MDI proposal for the ONR grant. The other members of the consortium include UC Berkeley, UCLA, Cal-Tech, Penn State, Rice University, IBM Almaden, AT&T Bell Labs, Motorola, and Intel.
In a released statement announcing the grants, ONR said, "The intention of these awards (to LBL and Georgia Tech) is to exploit recent advances in the atomic and molecular level of understanding materials synthesis and processing in order to develop superior approaches to new material structures."
Paul Alivisatos, a chemist with LBL's Materials Science Division and professor in UCB's Chemistry Department, has been named scientific director of the new institute.