Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers faster and more efficiently than ever. The photonic switch is built with more than 50,000 microscopic "light switches" etched into a silicon wafer. Each light switch (small raised squares) directs one of 240 tiny beams of light to either make a right turn when the switch is on, or to pass straight through when the switch is off.

Learn About NSF Science and Technology Centers

The U.S. National Science Foundation’s Science and Technology Centers: Integrative Partnerships program supports innovative, complex and potentially transformative research and education projects that require large-scale, long-term awards.

NSF's Science and Technology Centers:

  • Conduct world-class research through partnerships among academic institutions, national laboratories, industrial organizations and other entities, both domestically and internationally.

  • Undertake significant investigations at the interfaces of disciplines and/or using fresh approaches within disciplines.

  • Can involve any areas of science and engineering that NSF supports.

Established in 1987, the Science and Technology Centers program has grown from a new idea into a vital, interdisciplinary network. It has catalyzed breakthroughs, built bridges of exchange with industry, spun off new technologies and businesses, and trained young scientists and engineers.

Active centers

Class of 2021

  • Center for Chemical Currencies of a Microbial Planet (C-CoMP)
  • Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability Center (STEPS)
  • Center for Learning the Earth with Artificial Intelligence and Physics (LEAP)
  • Center for OLDest Ice EXploration (COLDEX)
  • Center for Research On Programmable Plant Systems (CROPPS)
  • Center for Integration of Modern Optoelectronic Materials on Demand (IMOD)

Class of 2016

  • Center for Bright Beams (CBB)
  • Center for Cellular Construction (CCC)
  • Center for Engineering MechanoBiology (CEMB)
  • Science and Technology Center on Real-Time Functional Imaging (STROBE)

Class of 2013

  • Biology with X-Ray Free Electron Lasers (BioXFel)
  • Center for Brains, Minds and Machines: the Science and Technology of Intelligence (CBMM)
  • Center for Integrated Quantum Materials (CIQM)