MSE Faculty are organized into three Topical Working Groups (TWGs) representing the major research thrust areas and focusing on different approaches, applications, and challenges.

Functional Materials

Functional Materials play a critical role in the design and development of next generation energy harvesting and storage devices such as fuel cells, batteries, super-capacitors, solar cells, gas generators and nuclear reactors, and power distribution grids, as well as in electronics and communications devices, heat exchangers, and sensors. Research in this area focuses on new materials for electrodes used for energy storage and conversion, characterizing and modeling interactions across various interfaces, and generating the fundamental understanding of the effects of structure and defects on transport and electrical properties. Organic and inorganic materials for various types of electronic, telecommunications, and diagnostic devices; sensors, self-powered portable devices, ferro/piezo-electric devices, and micro-mechanical systems; permanent magnets; and filters and catalysts, are being actively investigated by MSE faculty. Nanostructured materials and nano-scale devices are being investigated for applications in imaging/diagnosing/treating disease and bio-barrier coatings on implants; energy harvesting and storage applications; and electronic, optoelectronic, and photonic devices based on organic/inorganic metamaterials, quantum dots, and liquid crystals.

Faculty include: Fasial Alamgir, Nazanin Bassiri-Gharb, Wenshan Cai, Bara Cola, Juan-Pablo Correa-Baena, Russ Dupuis, Michael Filler, Rosario Gerhardt, Sam Graham, Seung Soon Jang, Asif Khan, Meilin Liu, Mark Losego, Matt McDowell, Dong Qin, Rampi Ramprasad, Jud Ready, Madhavan Swaminathan, Eric Vogel (LEAD), ZL Wang, Angus Wilkinson, CP Wong, and Gleb Yushin

Soft- and Bio-Materials

Soft- and Bio-Materials topical working groups represents one of the largest research efforts in polymers in the U.S., with strengths in topologically-complex, functional, nanostructured, and bio-polymers, conjugated oligomers, supra-molecular and block-copolymers, negative Poisson’s ratio polymers, nematic liquid crystals, fibers, and textiles. Research in these materials focuses on all aspects of synthesis, processing, recycling, characterizing, testing, modeling and computing, for advancing the understanding of process/structure/property relations. Biomolecular-solids and biomaterials such as lipids, proteins, nucleic and fatty acids, DNA, hydrogels, folic acid, beta-carotene, etc., are being actively researched with the goal of controlling, creating, and manipulating their form and function for solutions to issues related to the environment, agriculture, energy, food production, biotechnology and medicine. Cutting-edge research is also being pursued on carbon-nanotube (CNT) based composite fibers as reinforcements in structural materials with extremely high specific strength and modulus, and due to their enhanced multi-functionality for use in paper, textiles, and other platforms. From textiles employing antimicrobial technologies for use in medical applications and sweat-resistant weave architecture for athletic apparel, to intelligently designed wearable smart shirt, carpets, and sports turf, research in this area also continues to be actively pursued by MSE faculty.  

Faculty include: Blair Brettmann, Karl Jacob, Sundaresan Jayaraman, Kyriaki Kalaitzidou, Satish Kumar, Zhiqun Lin, Seth Marder, Valeria Milam, Mary Lynn Realff, Elas Reichmanis, John Reynolds, Paul Russo (LEAD), Carlos Silva, Meisha Shofner, Mohan Srinivasarao, Natalie Stingelin, Johnna Temenoff, Vladimir Tsukruk, Youjiang Wang, and Donggang Yao.

Structural Materials

Structural Materials including metals, ceramics, and composites are being actively researched with the of developing alloys with designer nano/micro/single/poly-crystalline or amorphous structures for properties needed in applications relevant to various load-bearing structures. Understanding of the mechanical behavior under extreme monotonic, cyclic, and dynamic loading for applications in automotive, defense, and infrastructure, and their use in corrosive (paper/petrochemical) and other environments represents key research in structural materials. Corrosion of infrastructure materials, design of novel construction materials and methodologies, understanding of aging and life cycle prediction from various mechanisms of their failure, and development of coatings, sensors, and monitoring systems to prevent catastrophic failure, are some of the other active research areas. Structural materials play a major role in the transportation industry as well as in augmenting concerns about security. From light-weight Al- and Mg-based alloys and advanced high-strength steels, high-strength fibers and composites, and blast resistant alloys, to X-ray machines, metal detectors, safety glasses, and advanced composites for soft and hard personnel and vehicle armor, to structural barricades for buildings, MSE faculty are constantly researching and developing new materials. Research in this area involves advancing the understanding of materials response under extreme conditions of high stress, strain, and strain rate through time-resolved experimentation, in-operando microstructure characterization, and computational modeling approaches.

Faculty include: Suman Das, Chaitanya Deo, Hamid Garmestani, Arun Gokhale, Josh Kacher, Surya Kalidindi, Kim Kurtis, Mo Li, David McDowell, Chris Muhlstein, Jason Nadler, Rick Neu, Preet Singh, Robert Speyer, Naresh Thadhani, Ben Wang, Min Zhou, and Ting Zhu.