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Application Process - Quick Start Guide

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Getting started – "quick start guide"

1. Speak to the NanoFab Manager

This step provides you with an opportunity to go over the project goals and process flow to ensure that the NanoFab has the capabilities (equipment and processes) to complete the work, or can acquire or develop them in a timely fashion.

2. Submit a project application

We need to collect some information on the work you are planning to do in the NanoFab. We do this both for internal record keeping and to ensure that the operations staff is prepared to meet your needs. Submit a CNST NanoFab Project Application via email to the NanoFab User Office at cnstufc [at] (cnstufc[at]nist[dot]gov). Applicants should only use the most recent version of the application form.

3. Site Access for CNST NanoFab External Users

To obtain a NIST site badge, all CNST NanoFab External Users must complete one of the following forms (depending upon your status in the U.S.) and fax it to 301-975-8761 or send it via secure e-mail.

  • U.S. Citizens - Complete the Domestic Guest Researchers form.  Here is the link to the form - Domestic Guest Researchers. Please note that you do not need to complete the “Education Information, Educational Institution” section of the form. 
  • Green card holders, permanent residents and foreign nationals - Complete the Foreign Guest Researcher form.  Here is the link to the form - Foreign Guest Researchers.  Please note that you do not need to complete the “Education Information, Educational Institution” section of the form. The Certificate of Insurance is also not required for NanoFab Users.

Individuals requesting site badges will be required to show proof of identity including citizenship and visa status, be fingerprinted, and undergo a criminal background check. Processing times for site badges vary based on citizenship and immigration status but most requests can be completed in about four weeks.

4. Fund your project

CNST requires that your initial payment authorization is sufficient to cover the estimated expenses for the first month of your project. However, you will only be billed for the actual expense incurred. We operate on a monthly billing cycle and will provide a report of your project’s NanoFab costs at the close of each billing cycle.

Please submit your credit card payment using

Type NIST in the search field and select NIST Miscellaneous Payment Form.

When completing the Payment Information section of the payment form

  • Enter "NIST NanoFab" for the Receivable/Invoice Number
  • Choose "Other" for the Purpose of Payment, and 
  • Enter the NanoFab project number (Nxx.xxxx) so that we can link the payment to the proper account.

You should get a payment confirmation from Please forward that to cnstacct [at] (cnstacct[at]nist[dot]gov) to expedite recording the payment in the Nanofab system.

Internal users should send an Interdivision Work Order to yeehing.lam [at] (Yeehing Lam), Administrative Officer, Div 680, Mail Stop 6800.

5. Complete the necessary training

The NanoFab offers the new user orientation every week on Monday morning; if NIST is closed on a Monday, then orientation will be offered on Tuesday. The basic class is required for all new users of the facility. Please contact the nanofabuseroffice [at] (NanoFab User Office) to schedule your training.

6. Send us any outputs

User facilities are responsible for demonstrating quantitatively their service to the research community. Hence, they require as a condition of service that users acknowledge the use of the facility and report the output of their work to the facility. Users agree to include the acknowledgement "Research performed in part at the NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology" in all publications and, if acknowledgements are given, in presentations as well. Please send the nanofabuseroffice [at] (NanoFab User Office) the full bibliographic reference for all publications, presentations, patents or patent applications, media citations, honors, and awards associated with your current NanoFab project(s) or past NanoFab projects, along with the relevant project number, with a final update at the end of the project year.

7. Renew your project annually

NanoFab projects are considered active for a period of one year, and are valid only for the research outlined in the initial project application. A NanoFab project cannot be a catchall for continuous, unspecified use. If you need to extend the project beyond its end date or if it becomes necessary to revise the research work plan you will need to complete an additional project application.


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Created March 21, 2013, Updated January 23, 2023