The field of nano-biotechnology is advancing rapidly, with many important discoveries and potential applications being identified. Much of this work is taking place in academia and advanced research labs around the globe. Once an application is identified, however, the road is still long to making it available to the markets in need. One of the final steps on that road is understanding how to manufacture in high volume and the lowest cost. Often this is the defining decision on whether the product even gets to that market.
With new nano-bio technology solutions, the challenges to produce in volume at low-cost are entirely new to many in the field. New materials, new substrates, new equipment, and unknown properties are just a few of the hurdles that no one organization has been able to overcome.
To address these challenges, FlexTech, in collaboration with a nationwide group of partners, has formed a Nano-Bio Manufacturing Consortium (NBMC) for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The mission of this partnership is to bring together leading scientists, engineers, and business development professionals from industry and universities in order to work collaboratively in a consortium, and to mature an integrated suite of nano-bio manufacturing technologies to transition to industrial manufacturing.
Initial activities focus on AFRL/ DoD priorities, e.g., physiological readiness and human performance monitoring. Specifically, NBMC matures nano-bio manufacturing technologies to create an integrated suite of reconfigurable and digitized fabrication methods that are compatible with biological and nanoparticle materials and to transition thin film, mechanically compliant device concepts through a foundry-like manufacturing flow.
The long-term vision is that NBMC operates at the confluence of four core emerging disciplines: nanotechnology, biotechnology, advanced (additive) manufacturing, and flexible electronics. The convergence of these disparate fields enables advanced sensor architectures for real-time, remote physiological and health/medical monitoring.