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Chemical Measurement and Imaging


Monday, November 02, 2015


Note:  For proposals with significant emphasis on sustainable chemistry, consider making proposal submissions to this program with the Proposal Title as:  ‘SusChEM: Name of Your Proposal'.  For more information, see the DCL on SusChEM (, a new NSF Emphasis Area."   

The Chemical Measurement and Imaging Program supports research focusing on chemically-relevant measurement science and imaging, targeting both improved understanding of new and existing methods and development of innovative approaches and instruments.  Research areas include but are not limited to sampling and separation science; electrochemistry; spectrometry; frequency- and time-domain spectroscopy; sensors and bioassays; and microscopy.  Chemical (as opposed to morphological) imaging and measurement tools probing chemical properties and processes across a wide range of spatial scales - from macroscopic structures down to single molecules - are supported, as are innovations enabling the monitoring and imaging of rapid chemical and electronic processes and new approaches to data analysis and interpretation, including chemometrics.  Proposals addressing established techniques must seek improved understanding and/or innovative approaches to substantially broaden applicability.  Sensor-related proposals should address new science and/or entirely new approaches with prospects for broad utility and significant enhancement of current capabilities.  Assembly of array-type devices using known sensing mechanisms is better suited to programs elsewhere, as is tailoring of known sensing mechanisms to specific new applications.  Similarly, engineering aspects of microfluidics and "lab-on-a-chip" device design, technology, and application, are better directed elsewhere.  Development of imaging contrast agents is not supported, although proposals addressing entirely new mechanisms of chemical imaging can be.

Included among proposals considered by the Program are those (formerly submitted to the CRIF:ID program) for which the primary focus is on development of new instrumentation enabling chemical measurements likely to be of wide interest and utility to the chemistry research community.  Such proposals should include the words "Instrument Development" at the beginning of the title, and include in the Project Description consideration of a development timeline, potential utility, and prospects for promulgation of the idea, should it prove viable; these tend to be of interest to reviewers of instrument development proposals.  Proposals with large equipment requests (over $150,000) may be better suited to the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program; investigators are urged to discuss such proposals with a program officer before submission.  Proposals with anticipated utility primarily in other communities (e.g., biology) should be directed to programs in other Directorates or to MRI.  Industrial partnerships (e.g., via "GOALI" - Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry) are encouraged as means of enhancing promulgation, but concepts nearing commercialization are better fits to SBIR or STTR Programs.

Proposals for optimizing and/or utilizing established methods for specific applications should be directed to programs focused on the application.  There are closely-related programs in other Divisions; where to submit depends on the primary focus of the proposed research.

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