The structure, composition and properties of materials at the nanometer scale affect their macroscopic behavior. Remarkably, when the dimensions of materials are reduced to a few nanometers, surprising new properties and functions emerge. CEMS researchers are designing and synthesizing a diverse range of materials – polymers, inorganic nanocrystals, thin films - at the nanometer scale and studying their structure and properties using state-of-the-art characterization methods, including electron microscopy with unprecedented time and spatial resolution. The ultimate goal is to understand how nature works at the nanometer scale. Often, this fundamental understanding leads to technological advances in diverse areas such as catalysis, solar cells, health sciences, magnetic recording, and electronic and photonic devices.