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Department Research Areas

While materials research is typically driven by the challenges of understanding and controlling the materials themselves, the necessity to determine and understand the relationship between structure, processing, and properties of materials stimulates several perspectives from which to view the directions of materials research:

  • materials or classes of materials themselves
  • synthesis of materials (including deposition, modification, fabrication, manufacturing)
  • characterization of materials, surfaces, interfaces, and thin films
  • theory, modeling and simulation, and research methodology

Materials research also demands a synergy between experiment and theory. Research in the department often combines these within an individual research group. Experimental research often lies on the cutting edge, because much of the work in the department exploits state-of-art equipment and instrumentation for synthesis and analysis of materials at the nanoscale. Accompanying theoretical work is based on modeling and simulation from the atomic scale up to the macro scale, enabling more intelligent design and inference from the experiments, and solidifying and expanding our scientific and predictive knowledge base.


Nanoscale Materials and Structures

MSE is deeply invested in nanotechnology research and initiatives, facilities, and education both on and off campus.

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Electronic and Photonic Materials

MSE faculty are engaged in electronic and photonic projects with semiconductors.

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Organic Materials and Biomaterials

MSE faculty members and students are engaged in a variety of high-profile biomaterials-based projects, such as a battery made of wood.

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Structural Materials

Researchers working in this area are focused on ceramics, composite materials and metal alloys.

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Functional and Smart Materials

Faculty working in this discipline are examining ferroelectrics and magnetic oxides as well as 'smart materials,' such as sensors and actuators.

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Materials Synthesis

Researchers working in materials synthesis are currently focused on plasma processing, combinatorial materials processing, nanotubes/nanomaterials synthesis, and electrochemical deposition.

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Materials Characterization

Materials characterization researchers examine several distinc topics, such as surface, interface, and thin film analysis; scanning probe micrsoscopy and novelprobe techniques; dynamic properties characterization at the nanoscale, and nanomaterials spectroscopy.

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Theory and Modeling

Research in this area includes thermodynamic approaches,  combinatorial approaches and materials informatics, process and equipment simulation, and computational design.

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