NNI R&D User Facilities

Several Federal agencies operate nanotechnology research facilities that are available to outside users. The resources described on this page are generally available both to U.S.-based researchers and to international visitors. Access rules, costs, and provisions for proprietary research are determined by the individual facilities and their funding agencies.

Many other NNI projects and programs welcome new collaborators. Interested parties should contact the researchers directly or the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office for assistance. Below is an overview of what the participating agencies offer at their respective user facilities.

Center for Functional Nanomaterials at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Image credit: Department of Energy

Department of Energy (DOE)

The U.S. Department of Energy operates five Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRCs). These are open to the research community on a peer-reviewed basis. Each NSRC is located at a DOE National Laboratory, providing users with access to many other facilities and additional opportunities for collaboration. A uniform set of general policies and procedures for user access governs the use of the DOE centers. Prospective users should submit a proposal to the center of their choice. The NSRC page provides an overview on working with these center. DOE also has a dedicated NSRC Portal with in-depth information on the current NSRC user facilities, which include:

The Department of Energy also has three Electron-Beam Microcharacterization Centers, which operate as user facilities:

National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services (NCI/NIH/HHS)

The National Cancer Institute's Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL) provides knowledge and services to help researchers transition nanomaterials-based cancer treatments from the laboratory into FDA-approved clinical trials. NCI, a component of the National Institutes of Health, established the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory to perform pre-clinical efficacy and toxicity testing of nanoparticles intended for cancer therapeutics or diagnostics. Information on participating in the NCL program is available on the NCI Website.

National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Commerce (NIST/DOC)

The National Institute of Standards and Technology operates the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST), the Department of Commerce’s nanotechnology user facility. The CNST supports the U.S. nanotechnology enterprise from discovery to production by providing industry, academia, NIST, and other government agencies with access to world-class nanoscale measurement and fabrication methods and technology. The CNST's shared-use NanoFab gives researchers economical access to and training on a commercial state-of-the-art tool set required for cutting-edge nanotechnology development. The simple application process is designed to get projects started in a few weeks.  Looking beyond the current commercial state of the art, the CNST's NanoLab offers opportunities for researchers to collaborate on creating and using the next generation of nanoscale measurement instruments and methods.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

The National Science Foundation supports two networks of user facilities, the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) and the Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN). Each is operated by a consortium of universities.

To advance research in nanoscale science, engineering and technology, NSF launched the NNCI in 2015, providing a total of $81 million over five years to support 16 sites and a coordinating office. 

The NNCI includes the following major nanotechnology user facilities:

The NCN provides simulation services and educational material through nanoHUB.org, which hosts a rapidly growing collection of Simulation Programs for nanoscale phenomena that run in the cloud and are accessed through your web browser. NCN's nanoHUB is now supporting more than 170,000 users from around the world. Prospective users should submit a proposal to the center of their choice.