Working With the Nano Center

Becoming a New Lab User

The following steps will get you on your way to becoming a new user at the Minnesota Nano Center. New User Orientation sessions are offered on the first Wednesday (1:00-2:00pm) and third Thursday (10:00-11:00 AM) of each month in room 140 of the Physics and Nanotechnology Building. If you have questions, please contact us at or 612-624-8005.

  1. Review the lab safety plan.
  2. Watch the safety training video (22 minutes) online.
  3. Take the safety test online.
  4. Sign up for an account on Badger, the MNC's lab use software.
  5. Print and fill out the NNCI facility user profile. Make sure to bring this form to your new user orientation.
  6. If you only wish to have access to the Keller cleanroom, skip to the next step.  If you also wish to have access to the PAN cleanroom, please review the PAN cleanroom training presentation and also take the on-line quiz.
  7. UMN users: bring a signed copy of the Account Change form with you to New User Orientation. This form indicates how your time will be charged. Have this signed by your advisor or supervisor.
  8. Non-UMN users: a purchase order, UMN Lab Use Agreement, and Certificate of Liability Insurance are required. Please contact Nano Center Staff at 612 624-8005 or at for instructions on how to iniitate a lab use agreement, or to answer any questions.
  9. If you plan to work in one of our cleanrooms, attend a new user orientation session. Sessions are offered on the first Wednesday (1:00-2:00pm) and third Thursday (10:00-11:00 AM) of each month in Room 140 of the Physics and Nanotechnology Building. Before attending, please email to register for your session. Include with your email: first name, last name, UMN department or company name, and if you are a UMN student, the name of your advisor. You will have your photo taken for your ID badge, get a tour of the MNC gowning area, and learn more about how to use the lab use software.
  10. If you plan to use the Nanomaterials or Bio-Nano labs only, and will not be using the cleanrooms, contact Jim Marti at to set up your lab orientation. You will not need to attend the regular new user orientation.

How to work with us

There are a number of ways to build your project at the MNC:

  • the assisted project, in which our staff does the work in consultation with you. After your device is designed, MNC staff will fabricate the prototype devices for testing in our "nanomachine shop."  
  • the do-it-yourself option, where your staff can receive equipment training and carry out your R&D activities independently and on your own schedule.
  • the sponsored research approach. If your project involves more basic research and could benefit by the involvement of University faculty, we can help assemble a project team that includes University faculty and staff.

To discuss your potential project, contact us at 612 624-8005 or at

Why use the MNC?

The Minnesota Nano Center is a resource for companies and researchers that want to pursue work in nanoscience and microtechnology, but do not have the required fabrication tools or expertise. Some of our clients are small or startup technology firms that are working to develop prototypes for new designs. Lacking capital to invest in expensive tools, they use the MNC’s specialized tool set to achieve critical early development goals. Other clients are large companies that have their own installed fabrication tools but may have restrictions on the use of the company's clean room, for example because of capacity problems or issues with incompatible materials or processes. In these cases, the MNC can offer an outsourced development lab with a diverse equipment set, expertise in nanostructure fabrication, and experience in device prototyping for many clients. For all our clients, the MNC offers easy fee-for-service usage, removing the obstacles of capital equipment acquisition, maintenance costs, and long-term commitments.

Protection of Intellectual Property

At the Nano Center, we take seriously the security of company IP. Our service agreement includes provisions to ensure that confidential information is treated appropriately, and explicitly states that clients’ IP stays with the client and is not granted to the University.

What will it cost?

Please see our access and equipment rates for commercial and for academic customers.