The Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) provides a national and international user community access to expertise and equipment for a broad range of nanoscience research, including nanomaterials synthesis, nanofabrication, imaging/microscopy/characterization, and theory/modeling/simulation. CNMS also acts as gateway for the nanoscience community to benefit from ORNL’s neutron sources (SNS and HFIR) and computational resources. All CNMS facilities and capabilities are accessible based on peer-reviewed proposals and are offered at no cost to users who intend to publish their results.


  • Bio-Inspired Nanomaterials

    The CNMS offers bio-inspired nanomaterials capabilities to manipulate and image hydrated biological samples, and to create inorganic nanostructures of biological interest. 

  • Chemical Imaging

    Chemical imaging presents a new means to understand the structure of functional materials, by mapping bonding and chemical configuration in addition to elemental distribution

  • Nanomaterials Theory Institute

    Provides and advances capabilities for theory and high performance simulation to enable fundamental understanding of physical and chemical properties of nanoscale materials

  • Nanomaterials Characterization

    An assortment of capabilities to characterize organic, inorganic, and hybrid functional materials and structures.

  • Electron and Atom Probe Microscopy

    Sub-Ångstrom electron microscopy and spectroscopy, and atom probe and electron tomographies. 

  • Inorganic and Hybrid Nanomaterials Synthesis

    Controlled synthesis of nanostructures and thin films by CVD and PLD using real-time diagnostics, including 2D layered materials, carbon nanostructures, oxide thin films and heterostructures with atomically-engineered interfaces, as well as hybrid organic/inorganic perovskite films.  Wet/dry assembly of these materials into optoelectronic device architectures over multiple length scales.

  • Macromolecular Nanomaterials

    The Macromolecular Nanomaterials laboratories include a wide range of polymer synthesis capabilities with special emphasis on selective deuteration and ionic polymerization

  • Scanning Probe Microscopy

    Scanning tunneling (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) in a range of environments along with a wide variety of related spectroscopies for mapping of physical and electronic structure, electronic and ionic transport, spin, thermovoltage, electromechanics, magnetism, and dissipation

  • Nanofabrication

    The CNMS Nanofabrication Research Laboratory houses 10,000 ft2 of class 100/1000 clean room space for carrying out material modification using advanced lithographic, etching, thin-film deposition, and characterization tools.


Hans M Christen

Director, Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences


Nanoscale Science Research Centers

The Nanoscale Science Research Center (NSRC) Program operates a system of five coordinated Centers located in U.S. Dept. of Energy national laboratories across the United States. Each Center contains laboratories for synthesis and nanofabrication, one-of-a-kind signature instruments, a suite of supporting instrumentation, and theory, modeling, and simulation expertise. 

Prospective users are encouraged to explore the capabilities offered by the NSRC program.