The goal of the Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS) at Harvard University is to provide outstanding facilities and expertise to make, image, and understand nanoscale structures and systems. CNS provides a collaborative, multi-disciplinary research environment that allows researchers from academia and industry to study and develop new structures, devices, systems, and technologies in fields ranging from biomedicine to nanoscale electronics and photonics. CNS offers tools for nanofabrication, electron microscopy, and characterization of nanoscale systems, with technical expertise and assistance provided by its staff. CNS is one of the most active nanofabrication and imaging facilities in the world with more than 1500 users, and it is an important part of the high-technology boom in the Northeast. With its diverse user base, well-established infrastructure, and outstanding facilities, CNS is well placed to continue as a technology leader. In addition, CNS plays a key role training the nation's next generation of scientists and engineers. It has an established Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, as well as an annual summer nanotechnology seminar series. A new CNS Scholars Program will bring in underrepresented researchers, and an internship program will train U.S. veterans in nanotechnology. As part of the NNCI, CNS will help make the transition from research on nanoscale devices to complex nanosystems engineering.
Since its creation in 2001, CNS has become a key nanotechnology resource for the nation. As part of the previous NNIN, CNS developed diverse and versatile facilities including multi-length-scale optical and electron-beam lithography, focused ion beam (FIB) and reactive ion etch (RIE) systems to shape structures, and soft lithography expertise to enable fabrication of a wide variety of microfluidic systems. These tools allow users to push the frontiers of nanoscale electronics and photonics using nontraditional materials, and they enable the development of sensor systems for biomedicine. CNS researchers pursue advanced topics including plasmonics, diamond photonics, nanoscale sensors, and atomic-layer devices. CNS has an outstanding suite of imaging and characterization tools including an aberration-corrected STEM, a high resolution TEM, a CryoTEM, and an Atom Probe for 3D tomography, as well as scanned probe microscopes, and linear and non-linear optical microscopes. Its characterization tools permit detailed analysis and assessment of materials, components, and systems, providing researchers with a comprehensive platform for nanotechnology research. CNS focuses on the core missions of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI): advancing world-class nanotechnology research, fostering the transfer of new technologies into products for commercial and public benefit, developing and sustaining educational resources to develop a skilled nanotechnology workforce, and supporting the evolving infrastructure and advanced tools needed to support excellence in nanotechnology research and development.