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About PANS

Faculty that partcipate in the project are creating new materials and devices in the area of photo-active nanoscale systems and will address research challenges associated with photovoltaics and solar energy, directwrite electronics, and the use of nanostructured materials for converting solar energy into chemical fuels. PANS includes efforts to develop a new class of solar cells that is capable of converting light in the near-infrared region to the visible region, thus recovering a portion of the energy that is currently lost. Efforts will also be directed to the development of low cost processes for solar cell production, such as printing or roll-to-roll painting. Nanostructured materials will be developed to mimic photosynthesis as an additional approach to improve device efficiency.

Energy is perhaps the most critical issue facing our country and the world in general. An imbalance in energy supplies and the impact of fossil fuels on our environment makes creative new approaches to energy generation and conversion of enormous importance. The activities proposed in South Dakota's NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1 grant "Partnerships for Competitiveness" connect the participants to expand research opportunities, educate and train STEM students at a broad range of institutions across South Dakota, and communicate the importance of STEM to society through the development of the PANS research infrastructure improvement focus. PANS has emerged from two state-funded research centers as the largest and most successful multidisciplinary research collaborative in SD with a membership of ~30 faculty in science and engineering.

Central to the vision for PANS is the development of a virtual research and education community that develops through collaborative peer-to-peer research and new modes of cyber-enabled educational content delivery based on high-performance computing, visualization and data and information resources. During this project, SD EPSCoR will work to develop the necessary partnerships to support a virtual research community utilizing high-performance computing. PANS will expand its capacity and broaden its impact through the addition of a diverse group of new faculty into new and existing positions, creating core instrumentation faculties, and strengthening graduate programs. Faculty will be added to both senior and junior levels, adding critical mass to the programs and broadening the leadership within PANS to help steer the group toward a long-term sustainable structure. An important component of this commitment to diversity is the investment in the state’s primarily undergraduate institutions to strengthen their baccalaureate STEM programs and help further integrate research and discovery into their curricula. PANS has set a goal to be competitive for a wide portfolio of large-scale research and education initiatives, including the NSF IGERT program and science and engineering research centers.

PANS Research Areas