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Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences

The Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences(CNMS) was the first to open of the five Nanoscale Science Research Centers the United States Department of Energy sponsors. The Center's location is in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The CNMS is a collaborative nanoscience user research facility for the synthesis, characterization, theory/ modeling/ simulation, and design of nanoscale materials and is co-located with Spallation Neutron Source.


Science at the CNMS

The Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a U.S.Department of Energy / Office of Science Nanoscale Science Research Center (NSRC) operating as a highly collaborative and multidisciplinary user research facility. The CNMS is one of five DOE NSRCs that form an integrated national user network. Each NSRC is associated with other major national research facilities at one of DOE’s National Laboratories, enabling their application to nanoscale science and technology. The central organizing concept of CNMS is to provide unique opportunities to understand nanoscale materials, assemblies, and phenomena, by creating a set of scientific synergies that will accelerate the process of discovery.

To accomplish this, the CNMS integrates nanoscale science with three highly synergistic national needs:

  • Neutron Science, using the Spallation Neutron Source, SNS, and the recently upgraded High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR).
  • Synthesis Science, also called “science-driven synthesis,” facilitated by extensive and novel synthesis capabilities in the CNMS' first five Scientific Themes (described below) and by a new Nanofabrication Research Laboratory.
  • Theory, Modeling and Simulation, through establishing a new Nanomaterials Theory Institute, with close connections to the staff expertise and computational capabilities of ORNL's Center for Computational Sciences and the new national Leadership Scientific Computing Facility.

Within its research focus areas, the CNMS provides a broad community of scientists, engineers, and students from throughout the nation, but particularly the southeastern United States, with ready access to the full range of tools and collaborative capabilities needed for nanoscale research, in a single location.

Scientific Themes

Research in the CNMS is organized under seven related scientific themes and a Nanofabrication Research Laboratory, (NRL; clean room), that have been selected to address grand challenges to scientific understanding as well as nanotechnology opportunities and needs. For each theme, the CNMS goal is to establish a world-leading in-house research program that will provide the support needed for a highly interdisciplinary and world-class user research program, in collaboration with the national user community.

  • Macromolecular Complex Systems
  • Functional Nanomaterials
  • Catalysis and Nano-Building Blocks
  • NanoPhysics: Magnetism, Transport, and Scanning Probes
  • Bio-Inspired Nanomaterials
  • Nanomaterials Theory Institute (NTI): Theory, Modeling, and Simulation
  • Nanoscale Structure and Dynamics: Neutrons, Electrons, and X-rays
  • Nanofabrication Research Laboratory (NRL)

Facility and Capabilities

The CNMS is housed in a new 80,000-ft2 building on Chestnut Ridge adjacent to the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS). Construction of the CNMS facility began in August 2003 and was completed in April 2005, with the nanoscience user research program beginning operation in October 2005. The four-level main building comprises wet and dry laboratories, office space, and common areas to promote interaction among staff, long-term research guests, and users. It is equipped with a wide range of specialized tools for synthesis, characterization, and integration of hard and soft materials. The 10,000-ft2 Nanofabrication Research Laboratory, housed in a one-level wing of the building, includes clean rooms and an area designed to meet the requirements of electron beam imaging and writing instruments (low electromagnetic field, low vibration, low acoustic noise). The Nanomaterials Theory Institute provides collaborative workspaces, visualization equipment, and high-speed connections to the terascale computing facilities of ORNL’s National Center for Computational Sciences and the national Leadership Scientific Computing Facility. The intense neutron beams of the SNS (which is scheduled to begin limited operation during FY2007) and of the recently upgraded High Flux Isotope Reactor afford unique opportunities for fundamental studies of the structure and dynamics of nanoscale materials. The CNMS will provide a gateway to these and other ORNL user facilities, including electron microscopy, for users whose research can benefit from access to multiple facilities.

User research program

The CNMS user program provides access to state-of-the-art equipment for nanoscale research and engineering. Users join a vibrant research community that brings together ORNL research staff, technical support staff, students, postdoctoral scholars, and guest scientists. This highly collaborative program accommodates both short-term and long-term research partners. Access is through brief user research proposals that are peer-reviewed by an external Proposal Review Committee. Nanoscience user activities were initiated during 2003, prior to completion of the CNMS building, with the first CNMS "Jump Start" Call for Proposals (July-August 2003).

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Center_for_Nanophase_Materials_Sciences". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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