National Institute of Standards and Technology,
Keywords: user facility, NIST, nSoft Consortium, mRNA
Summary:The evolution of mRNA based biotherapeutics, plastics for circular economy, eco-friendly formulations, and high performance plastics will demand a highly accelerated development and validation cycle in order to meet emerging demands of society, governments, and competitive advantage for US companies. As an agency in the US Department of Commerce, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) develops advanced measurement capabilities that support this accelerated cycle of R&D. I will describe one such effort, the nSoft consortium. nSoft consists of a broad range of soft materials manufacturers using neutron beams to facilitate this acceleration. Neutrons are complimentary to X-ray techniques with more sensitivity to light elements such as hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. As such, neutrons can be extremely helpful in disentangling the complexity of structure and performance of organic materials and complex fluids found in protein based therapeutics, plastics, agriculture, and foods. nSoft works with industry to build techniques that address key roadblocks, with long term training and access models for its members. I will highlight some of the recent impacts of the consortium, while providing the vision for the future of the growth and application of this successful venture.