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Center for Nanoscale Materials

CNM Strategic Plan

The Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM) at Argonne National Laboratory is a premier user facility providing expertise, instrumentation, and infrastructure for interdisciplinary nanoscience and nanotechnology research.

As a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funded research center, the CNM is at the forefront of discovery science that addresses national grand challenges encompassing the topics of energy, information, materials and the environment. The center is also a vibrant member of  Argonne National Laboratory’s scientific community, fully invested in the laboratory’s key initiatives for advanced materials and chemistry, and research partnerships with other DOE user facilities at Argonne such as the Advanced Photon Source (APS) and the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF).

The scientific strategy of the Center for Nanoscale Materials is consolidated under the following three crosscutting and interdependent scientific themes, noted below.  Collectively, they aim at the discovery and hierarchical integration of materials across different length scales, at the extremes of temporal, spatial, and energy resolutions:

Research Area

Theme I – Quantum materials and sensing

The goal of this theme is to combine CNM’s expertise in synthesis, fabrication, characterization and theory on nanometer length scales to discover fundamental mechanisms and materials for quantum information and sensing.
Research Area

Theme III - Nanoscale dynamics

The goal of this theme is to study excitation driven energy flow and structural transitions in nanoscale materials on femtosecond to millisecond timescales over ångström to macroscopic length scales.

Embedded within these three themes, and supporting them are the vector capabilities of X-ray microscopy, electron microscopy and computational materials science. Theme (I) through (III) include requiring detailed atomic understanding of temporal and spatial structural response to applied stimuli, a central theme in the Electron and X-ray Microscopy effort. Computational materials science activity is assuming a leadership position in combing first principles physics and machine learning for new materials discovery related to themes I thru III.

The CNM provides unique capabilities, expertise and tools to its users that include optical spectroscopy from the ultraviolet to the THz at the extremes of spatial and time resolution, the Synchrotron X-ray Scanning Tunneling Microscope (SX-STM), the Hard X-ray Nanoprobe (HXN), a full suite of variable temperature STM capabilities, cleanroom-based, comprehensive nanofabrication capabilities, and the Carbon supercomputing cluster. To this, the CNM is revamping efforts in electron microscopy that will be aimed at combining data science and electron microscopy. The CNM currently employs 39 research and support scientists who contribute to the scientific and user programs. During FY 2017, the CNM hosted 600 users from academia, national laboratories and industry. CNM users, staff and postdocs are engaged in high-quality science, as evidenced by the publication of a total of 295 journal articles with 33% of the papers in the top 20 highest impact nanoscience journals as defined by DOE.