Harvard’s Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS) has been awarded a $5 million nanotechnology research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

One of 16 university-based centers to be granted funding through the new National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) program, CNS will receive $1 million per year over five years. The competitive awards were presented to cutting-edge nanoscale research centers that promote collaboration among investigators from academia, government, and industry.

CNS, a shared-use Harvard core facility that is housed at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), provides a multi-disciplinary research environment that facilitates the creation and evolution of leading nanoscience within the University and throughout New England. The field of nanoscience involves the study of very tiny structures—sometimes only a few atoms in width—and how those structures can be incorporated into complex systems.

The center, which enables researchers to use equipment such as transmission electron microscopes, a soft materials clean room, and a nanofabrication facility, will host an open house and poster session on Oct. 29.

“CNS strives to be at the leading edge of nanoscience and nanofabrication by providing world-class tools. NNCI support opens our facilities to a larger fraction of our nation’s investigators and supports educational activities to draw students into science and engineering,” said CNS Director Robert M. Westervelt, Mallinckrodt Professor of Applied Physics and of Physics.

The Harvard center will join the 15 other NSF award recipients in forming the new NNCI, which will comprise a nationwide network of nanotechnology research tools, instrumentation, and expertise. The NNCI replaces the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network, of which CNS was also a member, and which recently came to an end after almost 12 years.

"NSF's long-standing investments in nanotechnology infrastructure have helped the research community to make great progress by making research facilities available," said Pramod Khargonekar, assistant director for engineering for the NSF. "NNCI will serve as a nationwide backbone for nanoscale research, which will lead to continuing innovations and economic and societal benefits."