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Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology

James Tour and coworkers at Rice University synthesized a molecular car with four carbon-based wheels that roll on axles made from linked carbon atoms. The nano-car's molecular wheels are 5,000 times smaller than a human cell. A powerful technique that allows viewing objects at the atomic level called scanning tunneling microscopy reveals the wheels roll perpendicular to the axles, rather than sliding about like a car on ice as the car moves back and forth on a surface.
Credit: Y. Shirai/Rice University

The Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Rice University is a university-funded organization devoted to enhancing the present initiatives and facilitating the future successes of science and technology at the nanometer scale. The Institute actively supports Rice University’s nanoscale science and technology interests by providing experienced and knowledgeable leadership, a solid administrative framework, world-class infrastructure, superior educational initiatives, and productive community, industry, and government relations. In order to effectively execute our objectives in a variety of scientific and societal arenas, the Smalley Institute is comprised of several centers and components and is affiliated with various organizations with unique objectives.


   Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology


To actively support and promote researchers using nanotechnology to tackle civilization’s grand challenges – energy, water, environment, disease, education – by providing experienced and knowledgeable leadership, a solid administrative framework, world-class scientific infrastructure, and productive community, industry, and government relations. 

Centers and Components:

Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN)

CBEN promotes the discovery and development nanomaterials that enable new medical and environmental technologies. Additionally, CBEN educates teachers, students, and citizens about nanotechnology’s impact on medicine and the environment through a variety of initiatives.

HiPco Laboratory

HiPco, invented by the Smalley research group in the 1990s, produces about a gram per hour of the world’s finest SWNT material –enough for all Rice researchers and their funded collaborators.

International Council on Nanotechnology(ICON)

ICON, a division of CBEN, engages industry, academics, government officials, and representatives of environmental organizations in a collective effort to assess, communicate, and reduce any environmental and health risks associated with nanotechnology.

Nano Carbon Center (nC2)

nC2, formerly Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory (CNL), provides a nucleus of ideas, talent, and expertise that feeds many of Rice University’s top carbon nanotechnology research groups. Additionally, nC2 aims to enhance the global visibility of carbon nanotechnology research and to foster the growing carbon nanotechnology community at Rice University.

Shared Equipment Authority (SEA)

The SEA provides campus-wide oversight of shared equipment planning and administration, raises federal and private funds for shared equipment acquisition and maintenance, and revises institutional policy on cost centers to more efficient management shared research equipment.

Affiliated Organizations

Advanced Energy Consortium (AEC)

AEC facilitates pre-competitive research in micro-and nanotechnology materials and sensors that have the potential to create a positive and disruptive change in the recovery of petroleum and gas from new and existing reservoirs.

Alliance for NanoHealth (ANH)

ANH bridges the disciplines of medicine, biology, materials science, computer technology, and public policy to develop nanotechnology-based solutions to unresolved problems in medicine.

COnsortium for NanomaTerials for Aerospace Commerce and Technology (CONTACT)

CONTACT endeavors to make the US and Texas unequalled in producing competitive products emerging from nanoscience in aerospace and commerce by fostering nanotechnology-based education and research and through partnerships with the US Air Force Research Laboratory, the University of Houston, and institutions within the University of Texas system. The Strategic Partnership for Research in Nanotechnology (SPRING) was the precursor to CONTACT.

Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC)

HARC strives to improve human and ecosystem well-being through the application of sustainable science and principles of sustainable science. HARC is a conduit from basic research to action that fosters the implementation of policies and technologies based on rigorous principles of social science, natural science, and engineering.

LAboratory for NanoPhotonics (LANP)

LANP advances the field of Nanophotonics by researching breakthroughs and advances in nanophotonics, providing collaborative opportunities, training graduates students utilizing the first nanophotonics graduate degree program in the US, and offering unique undergraduate research experiences.

Lockheed Martin Advanced Nanotechnology Center of Excellence at Rice University (LANCER)

LANCER offers a unique nanotechnology research program to explore new technologies for materials, electronics, energy, security, and defense combining Rice University’s expertise in carbon nanotechnology, photonics, plasmonics and other nanoscience disciplines to address a broad range of potential nanotechnology applications.

Nanomaterials Application Center at Texas State University in San Marcos (NAC)

NAS coordinates, facilitates, and participates in nanoscience and nanoengineering applications and expedites commercialization of inventions.

Texas Alliance for Nanotechnology (TxAN)

TxAN aims to make Texas a leading world center of nanotechnology research, business development, and employment.
In addition to these centers, components, and affiliates, the Smalley Institute collaborates with several institutes, centers, and initiatives at Rice University, in Houston, around Texas, and across the US. 

(Content source: Rice University website and press releases.)