By 1970, the Laboratory of Solid State Physics was established by Prof.  M.Sc. Neville Clark as part of the Physics Department at the University of Costa Rica. The first high vacuum system was purchased by that time. The initial trend of scientific research employing this equipment was the growth of metallic monocrystals. By the middle of the 70s, the research interest refocused on metallic thin films production with thicknesses of 1 mm or less. By 1980, the first thin films with thicknesses below 100 nm were produced, inserting the laboratory in what was defined ten years later as nanoscience and nanotechnology.

The research activity on thin films grew during the 80s with the incorporation of new Ph.D. in solid state physics. By the end of that decade, Dr. José A. Araya, Dr. Luis F. Fonseca and Dr. Daniel E. Azofeifa began the process of founding a new research center dealing not only with solid state physics but incorporating new fields of the materials science.

As a result, CICIMA was created as a research center on October 10, 1990 in the session No. 3684 of the University Council. Its internal regulation act document was approved on November 3, 1993. Since then, the laboratory space has shown a growing tendency as well as the equipment resources and published papers in international referred journals, putting the center at a very high regional standard.