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 initially brought 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.

In 2018 King's College London joined the LCN collaboration.

LCN Milestones:

  • 10/02 LCN business model approved: Following submission of a detailed inventory of competencies and potential deliverables, the establishment of the LCN was green-lighted in October 2002. Over the next 8 months a build phase management structure and strategic plans were also drawn up and approved.
  • 02/03 Construction started on Bloomsbury Site: Construction of the new eight story LCN building was due to last for 70 weeks and incorporated housing for approximately 30 Principal Investigators and 70 research, technical and admin staff on a 20x21m floor plate. It included the installation of a state-of-the-art design, fabrication and characterisation tools centred around a 200m2 clean room facility.
  • 11/06 Formal opening of Bloomsbury New Building:The opening of the new LCN facility in Bloomsbury paved the way to the issuing of the LCN’s first new academic contracts in 2007
  • 10/08 South Kensington Offices/Labs completed
  • 05/09 New strategic plan and formal external review
  • 11/11 Fifth anniversary celebration
  • 10/14 New doctoral training programmes launched: 
  • 09/16 Tenth anniversary celebration: International Advisory Board endorses the enlargement of the LCN to include King's College London
  • 09/17 Bloomsbury estates work begins.  Work starts to upgrade cleanroom and laboratory facilities in the LCN building for new quantum technologies fabrication and testbed equipment
  • 09/18 Launch event for King's participation in the LCN