This award from the Major Research Instrumentation program and the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive research (EPSCoR) supports Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University to acquire a state-of-the-art high-performance X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer (XPS) to advance multidisciplinary research and discovery in emerging and future technologies, while promoting diversity by broadening the participation of underrepresented minority men and women. The instrument has excellent capabilities in characterizing surfaces, nanomaterials, thin films, and functional interface materials. It will support faculty and student research activities in quantum mechanics, nanotechnology, biosensors, and energy harvesting and storage. It will also aid undergraduate and graduate students in characterization techniques, and in developing excellent analytical and interpretational skills. In addition, the XPS will have significant impacts on education and training through the many outreach and summer research programs at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University. These programs benefit K-12 education, high school bridge programs, and transfer of 2-year community college students to 4-year STEM degree programs. Thus, this instrument will also enhance recruitment, retention and graduation rates into the STEM workforce.<br/><br/>With this award from the Major Research Instrumentation program and the EPSCoR program Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University will acquire a state-of-the-art high-performance X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer (XPS) to advance multidisciplinary research and discovery in emerging and future technologies, while promoting diversity by broadening the participation of underrepresented minority men and women. The project is to advance multidisciplinary research and education, promote diversity by broadening the participation of underrepresented minority groups, and enhance the analytical and interpretational skills of students graduating into the STEM workforce. The high-performance X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer will enhance research activities in: 1) study and manipulation of quantum dots for advancing energy harvesting and storage; 2) investigation and engineering of reduced bandgap nanocomposite polymers for next-generation bio-sensing technologies; 3) development of nanostructured metal plasmonic electrodes as enhanced solar cell transparent conductors for high-efficiency conversion of light to electricity; 4) synthesis and characterization of organic and organometallic nonlinear materials for interface applications with the human body; 5) nanoscale patterning of polymer thin films grating transducers for sensing dynamic strain in solids and microarray biosensors; and 6) nanoscale studies of charge-carrier transport and collection in contact-semiconductor interfaces of materials for X-ray and gamma-ray detection applications. In addition to these primary research programs, the XPS will support other research projects, and education and training activities in North Alabama and nearby regions.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.