What is CNS?  

CNS is the Center for Nanoscale Systems, which is a part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) at Harvard University. Until April of 2005, the Center existed under a different name, the Center for Imaging and Mesoscale Structures (CIMS).

CNS was created by FAS in 1999 to assist and support the research community of Harvard University researchers and collaborators. The inclusion of CNS in the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) in 2004 has expanded that function to include any and all other members of the larger research community both local and national, academic and non-academic who conduct research in any aspect of the large and growing field of nanoscale science.

CNS accomplishes this mission by purchasing, operating and maintaining large, centralized scientific facilities for use by users. CNS also provides training, and assistance to users to ensure that the next generation of scientists has the knowledge to answer the questions being raised by the research of today. Development of new advanced facilities for the imaging and fabrication of nanoscale structures is also a high priority for CNS.

While operating user facilities is a large component of CNS’ operation, it is not the only contribution of the Center to the scientific community of Harvard and beyond. For example, CNS hosts seminars and provides seminar support to Harvard faculty members; hosts NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) students; and has CNS technical staff members who teach and guest lecture in Harvard classes.

Who is CNS?

At the core of CNS is the 20+ member technical staff who have expertise in many diverse areas of nanoscience. We have skilled technical staff who are specialists in microscopy, nanofabrication, ion beams, X-ray systems, sample preparation, lithography and computational simulation. They are the life-blood of CNS as they maintain, operate and train users on our many scientific facilities.

However, the real answer to the question of who is CNS is the many hundreds of principal investigators and users from both Harvard and elsewhere that are doing the research that requires a central user facility to conduct the cutting-edge research being conducted in the area of nanoscale science today. It is the diverse user community made of scientists from many varied disciplines coming together to study phenomena at the nanoscale that makes CNS more than just a collection of tools and people to run them. CNS is a community of scientists that are interacting and collectively doing some of the most innovative research in the world. If you are a scientist interested in using the latest technology and facilities to assist in your project, please see the Users section of the website in order to find out how to become a member of the growing CNS community.

Where is CNS?  

The Center for Nanoscale Systems is located at 11 Oxford Street just north of Harvard Yard in the Laboratory for Integrate Science and Engineering (LISE) building. CNS started moving into newly completed LISE building in July of 2007. LISE is the home to all CNS facilities.