Argonne National Laboratory

Welcome to the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM). Our nanoscience and nanotechnology research program provides researchers with access to a broad range of capabilities for design, synthesis, characterization and theory and modeling in order to significantly advance the understanding of nanoscale phenomena and develop functional nanoscale systems.

The CNM User Program is designed to give you FREE access to state-of-the-art equipment and expertise if you intend to publish your results. You can also access CNM facilities on a cost-recovery basis for proprietary research that is not intended for the public domain.

Staff scientists at the CNM pursue an ambitious research program in nanomaterials and nanoscale phenomena while working closely with users from around the world to pioneer groundbreaking nanomaterials discoveries. We award CNM research projects to users in a competitive peer-reviewed proposal process that encompasses both General User access and Partner User access modes. Approved projects are granted access to CNM facilities for a maximum of one year.

Call for User Proposals

We issue three calls for user proposals each year. Proposals are due in early Spring, Summer, and late Fall.

Calls for 2024 user proposals open: 2024 proposals due:
February 2, 2024 March 1, 2024
June 7, 2024 July 5, 2024
October 4, 2024 November 1, 2024

Types of User Access

*All types of users submit the same CNM proposal.

General User

General users are individuals or groups who need access to the CNM’s current equipment, instruments, capabilities, and expertise in order to carry out their research. General users apply for access by submission of a proposal. Both independent and collaborative proposals with CNM staff are encouraged.

Partner User

Partner users are individuals or groups who not only carry out research at the CNM, but also enhance the capabilities or contribute to the operation of the center. Typically, they develop or enhance instrumentation in some way, bringing outside financial and/or intellectual capital into the evolution of the CNM, or contribute to the operation of equipment and facilities. These contributions must be made available to the general user community; therefore, benefit to them as well as to CNM must be evident. In recognition of their investment of either resources or intellectual capital, and in order to facilitate and encourage their involvement, partners may be allocated limited access to one or more capabilities over a period of one year, with the possibility of renewal for a second year. The probability of partner access being granted on oversubscribed instruments is lower than for underutilized tools. Partner scientific programs are subject to the same peer review process as general users. A supplementary management plan is required in addition to submitting a general user proposal. Please contact the CNM User Office for more information.

Rapid Access User

Occasionally, a timely research opportunity may justify access to CNM between announced user proposal cycles. Rapid access user proposals are submitted via the same general proposal system but can be submitted at any time. There is no special form or selection for rapid access; the proposal itself should state the request (e.g., in the abstract). The request is evaluated by internal CNM staff. The proposal should clearly demonstrate a need for immediate access to conduct well-focused, short-term work (generally five days of equipment or capability access) with extremely high-impact potential. Only one rapid access request per two years is allowed.

Proprietary Research

For research not intended for the public domain, please see additional information regarding proprietary proposals.

Access Multiple User Facilities at One Location

Users at the CNM can also access Argonne’s four other user facilities, including the Advanced Photon Source and Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, for multimodal and cross-functional projects.

Information Dissemination

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (SC), which is the primary sponsor of the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), requires that a limited set of information relating to your user project/experiment be transmitted to SC at the conclusion of the current fiscal year. A subset of this information, including your name, institutional affiliation(s), and project title(s), will be publicly disseminated as part of an SC user facility user projects/experiments database on the SC website,, after the conclusion of the fiscal year. For proprietary projects, SC requests that the user provide a project title that is suitable for public dissemination.

Data Retention Policy

CNM facility users who generate and store data on CNM-owned equipment have 30 days from the expiration of the relevant User Work Approval to copy or move their data to non-CNM-owned equipment. After that time, CNM may delete the data, including backups, from CNM-owned equipment.