Materials Research Institute

the pennsylvania state university

Welcome to Materials Research Institute

Penn State's MRI is a catalyst for multidisciplinary education and innovations in materials.

Explore our Research Capabilities

Upcoming Events

The Millennium Café Weekly Collaboration

Please Join Us!
Every Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Exchanging ideas and challenges

March 24, 2015

Spectrin, A Ghost in the Cellular Machine

Graham Thomas | Biology, Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology

Monolithic Integration of Nitride LEDs and Schottky Barrier Diodes for Bidirectional Optical Communication

Jian Xu | Engineering Science & Mechanics

Details & Past Cafés

Materials Research News & Press Releases

overall, psu ranks 17 nationally in researchLatest NSF rankings: Penn State scores high in broad range of research fields

March 18, 2015 - The fields and sub-fields in which Penn State ranked in the top ten are materials (1st), psychology (2nd), mechanical engineering (3rd), sociology (3rd), electrical engineering (4th), total engineering (5th), aerospace engineering (8th), computer science (8th), agricultural sciences (8th), civil engineering (9th), atmospheric sciences (9th), and earth sciences (9th).

graphic of photon transferGraphene membrane could lead to better fuel cells, water filters

March 17, 2015 - An atomically thin membrane with microscopically small holes may prove to be the basis for future hydrogen fuel cells, water filtering and desalination membranes, according to a group of 15 theorists and experimentalists, including three theoretical researchers from Penn State. "Our simulations and experiments showed that you need to have at least four carbon vacancies and some sort of channel to overcome the energy barrier that would normally prevent the protons from crossing to the other side."

Customer Quotes

  • "The level of technical resources provided by the PSU Nanofab can help enable and extend the continued growth and global reach of our Pennsylvania-based company. We enthusiastically support the PSU Nanofab and will actively seek ways to strengthen our relationship with this valuable resources."

  • "As a small business resources are often limited, Nanofab worked with our engineers to produce micro featured gears for one of our medical devices. The bench top gear data was leveraged to support a successfully awarded Phase II NSF grant."

  • "Nanovus is successful at the Penn State Nanofab because the world class facility is well maintain by a professional dedicated staff. There are baseline recipes for all of the equipment and the staff actively provides technical support on the equipment and process flow. The Nanofab is complemented by the professionally staffed, full characterization suite in the same building. I have not found the the breadth or depth of abilities anywhere else."

  • "We have been using the fabrication facilities at Penn State to build and characterize our development devices for five years. The equipment is well maintained by a knowledgeable, capable, and helpful staff so its ready when we are. We've saved millions in capital and operational expenditures; more importantly, we saved precious time. Great job, keep it up!"

  • The Nanofab at Penn State was instrumental in getting a customer program started for us. The technical staff quickly developed a material that met our design criteria which has enabled us to launch a prototype run for a novel MEMS device. Moving forward with the project, I have been impressed with the level of customer service and how quickly I was able to get trained in the Nanofab as a commercial lab user. The engagement here was differentiating for us and the staff support has allowed us to maintain our milestone timeline. The Penn State Nanofab has been a great technology partner. We look forward to completing this project successfully and expect to work on new projects together in the future.

Meet the New Director

Director Clive Randall

Randall to lead Materials Research Institute

Vice President for Research Neil Sharkey has named Penn State electroceramics scientist Clive Randall as the new director of the Penn State Materials Research Institute.

After serving as interim director since September, Randall, who is a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, becomes only the second MRI director in the institute’s 16-year history.

Focus on Materials

Focus on Materials Fall/Winter Edition

Fall 2014 Issue:

Focus on Materials is the research bulletin of the Materials Research Institute and the faculty, students, and industrial partners engaged in materials research at Penn State. In this publication, you will find the field of smart or active materials includes a wide range of materials that react to some kind of outside stimulus and respond in a useful way.

View Current & Past Issues


View Current & Past Newsletters