The LCN building was opened in 2006 after 4 years planning and construction. Located in the London neighbourhoods Bloomsbury and South Kensington, the LCN was designed as a new UK-based multidisciplinary research centre, purpose-built to enable work at the forefront of science and technology. The Centre brings together two of the world's leading institutions, namely University College London (UCL) and Imperial College London, with strong capabilities in the underlying disciplines - engineering, physical sciences and biomedicine - which are bridged by nanotechnology. The aim of the LCN remains to provide the nanoscience and nanotechnology needed to solve major problems in information processing, healthcare, and energy and environment.
It was formed as a result of several key academic and scientific considerations in the early part of the millennium. These considerations included the emergence of nanotechnology as a scientific theme, the recapitalisation of universities through the Scientific Research Infrastructure Fund (SRIF) and ongoing discussions to merge UCL and Imperial. At UCL in particular it was felt critical mass could only be achieved by consolidating the efforts and resources of disparate facilities and departments. Although the discussed merger never materialised, the LCN succeeded in gathering most of the expertise into a single institution, jointly owned by UCL and Imperial.