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Area Nanotech Research Centers

Columbia University Nano Initiative (CNI)

Beginning in the Fall Semester of 2014, Columbia University began to develop a new organization which both builds upon and maintains Columbia’s strong and successful experiences with highly multidisciplinary and collaborative research programs in Nanoscale Science and Engineering.  This new research structure stimulates the development of new major research centers and programs and assures the creation and maintenance of the specialized facilities that support and enable these groundbreaking programs. The CNI represents an interdisciplinary community within Columbia University dedicated to the support and development of research efforts in Nanoscale Science and Engineering. 


The CNI maintains a set of  Shared Facilities that are open to student and faculty researchers, as well as those from government, start-ups, and industry. The Clean Room offers a comprehensive set of tools for microfabrication and nanofabrication. The Materials Characterization Laboratory and the Electron Microscopy Laboratory offer state-of-the-art instruments for chemical and structural characterization of materials.

CUNY ASRC Nanoscience Initiative

The CUNY Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC), based in upper Manhattan, is a nucleus for the nanoscience research at CUNY and in the New York City metro area. This diverse research community encompasses faculty, staff, and students from colleges across the five boroughs of New York City. The Nanoscience Initiative operates over two floors in the ASRC building and houses state-of-the-art shared user facilities, including experimental labs for measurement, synthesis and nanofabrication, and a 5,000-square-foot clean room.


The Nanoscience Initiative team, which is led by Dr. Rein Ulijn includes resident scientists, affiliated faculty from across CUNY, and a dynamic population of visiting scientists from the New York area and across the globe. The initiative has a distinct research vision in nanoscience, focusing on the study and application of dynamic nanoscale systems, from fundamental understanding to applications ranging from biomedicine to food science and green energy.

The Center for Soft Matter Research at NYU

Founded in 2004, the Center for Soft Matter Research at New York University is dedicated to scientific inquiry at the interface between physics, chemistry, biology and engineering.

The CSMR is located in the Meyer Physics Building at the corner of Washington Place and Broadway in the heart of Greenwich Village, New York City, and occupies a newly constructed state-of-the-art laboratory complex featuring close integration between chemical and materials synthesis, device fabrication, and physical analysis. 

The Center for Soft Matter Research is part of New York University and is located near Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, a lively neighborhood in lower Manhattan, New York City.

Situated within the Physics Department at NYU, the CSMR has close ties to scientists in Chemistry, Mathematics (Courant Institute), Biology, Biomaterials and Biomimetics (NYU College of Dentistry), and Engineering [see links under Affiliated Programs].

We currently have eight full-time faculty who supervise a dynamic and highly collaborative research program in experimental and theoretical soft condensed matter physics.  We have a regular seminar series of external speakers, as well as an active scientists-in-residence program that hosts extended stays at NYU for some of the most prominent international scientists working in soft condensed matter. New state-of-the-art laboratories have been built for the CSMR.  These include an optics & rheology lab, a biophysics lab, and a colloid synthesis lab.  The space is designed to be flexible in order to facilitate rapid development of new experiments as well as collaborations between scientists at the Center.

MSK Center for Molecular Imaging & Nanotechnology

Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Center for Molecular Imaging and Nanotechnology (CMINT) is a broad-scope, multidisciplinary translational research program that unites two rapidly evolving fields — molecular imaging and nanotechnology — by creating strong teams of researchers working in diverse areas such as cancer biology, medicine, chemistry, developmental biology, physics, radiochemistry, immunology, genomics, pharmacology, and engineering. Our goal is to speed research into the biology of cancers and augment the development of innovative treatments — including molecularly based, image-guided therapies — as well as diagnostic and prognostic tools.

CMINT investigators take a highly pragmatic approach to addressing biologically and clinically relevant problems, with a range of diverse yet interrelated projects. We focus our translational research efforts on innovative ideas and applications that can be tested in preclinical models and eventually phase I clinical trials, and that we believe will ultimately transform routine cancer care.

Center for Precision Assembly of Superstratic and Superatomic Solids (Columbia MRSEC)

The PAS3 led by Columbia University in partnership with City College of New York, studies materials composed of atomically precise low-dimensional building blocks: two-dimensional atomic sheets and zero-dimensional molecular clusters.  The interdisciplinary team comprises faculty from materials science, chemistry, physics, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering.  The research of the center is strengthened by collaborations with academic and industrial researchers, partnership with Brookhaven National Laboratory, and international partners. Support for the center is provided through the NSF Grant DMR-1420634, part of the NSF MRSEC Program. Additional support is provided by Columbia University.


This MRSEC, led by Columbia University in partnership with City College of New York, Harvard University, Barnard College, and the University of the Virgin Islands, encompasses two IRGs around the theme of building higher dimensional materials from lower dimensional structures with unprecedented levels of control. Both IRGs are built around techniques pioneered by the team, and bring together researchers with diverse capabilities, strong accomplishments, and a record of collaboration. The unified center will enable formation of the interdisciplinary teams required to undertake the proposed research, support of shared experimental tools, implementation of a multi-faceted program of education and human resources development, and focused efforts to improve diversity. The MRSEC leverages the proximity of Columbia, CCNY, and Barnard for intercampus cooperation, and nearby K-12 schools for educational activities. Brookhaven National Laboratory, IBM, DuPont, and other partners provide research partnerships and educational opportunities. Synergy among the two IRG teams includes the common emphasis on materials assembly with precise control, and is enhanced by co-advising of MRSEC Fellows and common educational activities.

CREST Center for Interface Design & Engineered Assembly of Low Dimensional Systems

The CREST Center for Interface Design and Engineered Assembly of Low Dimensional Systems (IDEALS) addresses the national need for "accelerating the pace of discovery and deployment of advanced material systems" as stated in the Materials Genome Initiative. A diverse multidisciplinary team of researchers with complementary interests has come together to design and discover materials with new and enhanced functionalities that culminate from the control of the salient unique properties of surfaces, interfaces and defects in self-assembled nanomaterials; and to further technology, energy and health applications. Scientists and engineers from the City College of New York (CCNY) and their partners at Lehman College, the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center, the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, and Virginia Tech employ experimental, analytical and numerical modeling tools to design and discover complex novel materials with new and enhanced functionalities and integrate education and research to enhance these enterprises within IDEALS.


Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) is a National Science Foundation (NSF) program that makes resources available to enhance the research capabilities of minority-serving institutions through the establishment of centers that effectively integrate education and research.

MSK-Cornell Center for Translation of Cancer Nanomedicine

Novel diagnostic and therapeutic nanotechnologies that can enable earlier and more specific detection of cancer, as well as enhance treatment response, are critically needed to improve patient outcomes.  For instance, these tools may allow the operating surgeon to directly visualize tumor margins and/or metastatic disease spread to nearby lymph nodes. At the same time, vital normal tissue structures can be avoided if labeled with suitable agents.

The goal of the MSK-Cornell Center for Translation of Cancer Nanomedicine (MC2TCN) is to advance, translate, and disseminate a suite of ultrasmall (<10 nm), multimodality (PET/optical), core-shell silica nanoparticles. In addition to fluorescent particles being highly versatile and exquisitely bright, their size, brightness, and geometry can be tuned for a variety of cancer-care applications.  Earlier-generation particles, referred to as Cornell dots or C dots, have already received FDA investigational new drug approvals for phase 1 clinical trials in melanoma, breast cancer, uterine/cervical cancer, and brain tumor patients. 

NYU Materials Research Science and Engineering Center

The substantial and sustained investment in the sciences at NYU, the founding of NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, and the inaugural MRSEC award in Y2008 have created a dynamic environment for interdisciplinary materials research that is on a steep upward trajectory. The second generation of the Center unites investigators from Chemistry, Physics, Chemical and Civil Engineering, the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, and the NYU College of Dentistry in a program encompassing two Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs), a technology-focused Seed component that capitalizes on New York’s thriving entrepreneurial culture, and a comprehensive education program that captures learners at all levels. The goals of the NYU MRSEC are straightforward – perform world-class research that cannot be performed by individual investigators alone, instill an interdisciplinary culture in graduate students and postdocs for thriving careers, and cultivate excitement in STEM among young scientists and engineers.  


The NYU MRSEC explores --new principles for organizing granular materials and the fundamentals science of molecular crystal growth combined with STEM initiatives for emerging young scientist and engineers. The substantial investment in the sciences at NYU, the merger of NYU and Polytechnic, and the inaugural MRSEC award in Y2008 have created a dynamic environment for interdisciplinary materials research that is on a steep upward trajectory.

NYU Molecular Design Institute

The Molecular Design Institute operates within the NYU Department of Chemistry at the nexus of key areas in materials science and chemistry, serving as a springboard for interdisciplinary research with other NYU departments. The MDI complements the Center for Soft Matter Research in the Department of Physics.

These two initiatives offer a unique opportunity to examine self-assembly and hierarchical organization of complex materials across length scales ranging from the molecular to the colloidal, that is, from the nanoscale to the microscale. The existence of complementary center in the Physics and Chemistry will provide synergy, strengthening both departments in tandem. The MDI faculty, Professor Michael D. Ward, Professor Marcus Weck, Professor Bart Kahr, and Professor Stefano Sacanna, unite expertise in the design and synthesis of complex molecular and supramolecular architectures and materials. The MDI has procured facilities for cutting edge research. Since its ribbon cutting ceremony in May 2007, the MDI has hosted many guests from the United States and abroad.

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