The Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) integrates nanoscale science with neutron science; synthesis science; and theory, modeling, and simulation. Operating as a national user facility, the CNMS supports a multidisciplinary environment for research to understand nanoscale materials and phenomena.


  • 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.

  • 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 Synthesis

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

  • Electron and Atom Probe Microscopy

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

  • 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.