Key Nanotechnology Infrastructure
CNF is a member of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) and thus plays a critical role in commercialization of the nanotechnology revolution. While most CNF users are academic, CNF makes a key contribution to nanotechnology innovation and commercialization by providing both small and large companies with advanced facilities for research and development. Each year, CNF hosts researchers from small and large companies. Sometimes these are for short projects, but often these users engage in long term development projects, using CNF extensively or even exclusively. For many of these companies, CNF played a critical part in their R&D during their formative stages.
The CNF can be thought of as a nanotechnology incubator, most useful in the research and product development stages. Product and process development can be done using CNF equipment (with the assistance of CNF staff as necessary) for relatively minor cost. Usage is charged on a per hour basis so there is little up-front investment; access to CNF facilities can be arranged within a few weeks if necessary, and the large and flexible equipment base is ideal for testing novel designs, concepts, and materials.
As an open user facility, Cornell University makes no intellectual property claim on the work performed by users of the facility. CNF’s IP policy is pretty simple: Don’t tell us what you don’t want us to know.
Most small companies send experienced process engineers to work at CNF. These users need very little support from CNF staff, other than basic equipment instruction. It is neither necessary nor desirable for users to share their intellectual property with CNF Staff. This allows the users to keep their intellectual property pure, without encumbrance by the CNF. Of course it is possible to create mixed ownership if you ask for and are given specific advice by a CNF staff member. It is extremely rare, however, for this to happen. If you take care to protect your intellectual property, it will remain pure at CNF. Operation in this mode allows us to have the maximum flexibility in serving users and allows our users to start projects with a minimum of legal agreements.
CNF has a small set of experienced users who are available as independent contractors on a short or long term basis. These "contractors" do not work for the CNF, but are available for private hire. This can shorten the learning curve and provide additional intellectual property isolation within CNF. Please take a look at our Remote Work website (http://www.cnf.cornell.edu/cnf_remotework.html).
While CNF supports a variety of proprietary research, CNF is not, in general, set up for confidential or export controlled research. CNF is under no obligation to participate under these restrictions.
Hand-off to Pilot Production or Manufacturing
For a variety of reasons, CNF is not suitable for manufacturing. Most companies choose to move to alternative settings for pilot production once prototype products have been developed. In some cases, if the technology set is small, companies may choose to set up their own facilities. In some cases, production may be transferred to the pilot facility, while retaining research and development activities within the CNF. Many CNF users have made the transition from research within CNF to production outside of CNF.
For further information about commercialization of nanotechnology using CNF, please contact Dr. Lynn Rathbun, 607-254-4872, [email].
Other Cornell Opportunities Available to Businesses
Center for Technology Licensing http://www.ctl.cornell.edu/; CTL is Cornell University's technology transfer office. We manage Cornell technologies from Cornell's Ithaca campus, Weill Cornell Medical Colleges, Cornell Tech, and the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva.
The McGovern Center, http://www.mcgoverncenter.cornell.edu/; Cornell's Incubator for Life Science Companies, the McGovern Center is designed to develop young Cornell life science companies. The Center is funded by Cornell’s Research Division, the Institute of Biotechnology, and a generous gift from Kevin M. McGovern '70 and his family.
StartUpNY at Cornell, http://startupny.cornell.edu/; If you are interested in locating your business nearer to CNF, check out StartUpNY, a tax incentive program for businesses that begin, expand, or relocate here. Qualified businesses have access to tax-free zones in New York State.
Announcing the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) and CNF Partnership, April 2018
The Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) in Dresden, Germany and the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF) at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY are pleased to announce a partnership to accelerate nanotechnology commercialization. The two partners have completed a tool map that allows small companies to plan the growth of their R&D prototyping activities into commercial foundries by developing their micro/nanofabrication process in a planned way that minimizes technology disruptions.
The Cornell NanoScale Facility at Cornell University is known for its flexible prototyping facilities and engineering support during product research and development stages. CNF now adds the Fraunhofer Institute to its list of partners that can provide a significant commercial ramp-up and volume manufacturing for clients who wish to grow their silicon-related and MEMS businesses beyond what CNF can provide.
CNF and Fraunhofer Tool List (2018) [PDF]
Press Release • Cornell Chronicle