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Transparency discovered in crystals with ultrahigh piezoelectricity

A Wearable Gas Sensor for Health and Environmental Monitoring

Lithium whisker growth and stress generation in an in situ atomic force microscope–environmental transmission electron microscope set-up

A Fast and Inexpensive Device to Capture and Identify Viruses

Researchers optimize additive manufacturing on a molecular level

Research News

Dec 23 2019

A device to quickly capture and identify various strains of virus has been developed, according to researchers at Penn State and New York University.

Dec 19 2019

A paper published in the Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics Journal details how researchers examined additive manufacturing methods and materials using atomistic-scale simulations to optimize their performance for ultimately stronger and more useful 3D-printed components. 

“We went down to the most fundamental level, looking at the physical chemistry and the strengths of these molecular interactions,” van Duin said.

Nov 19 2019

Every day, more than 141 billion liters of water are used solely to flush toilets. With millions of global citizens experiencing water scarcity, what if that amount could be reduced by 50%? 

The possibility may exist through research conducted at Penn State, released today (Nov. 18) in Nature Sustainability. 

360 Virtual Tour of Our Labs

From anywhere, from any device, visit some of our labs virtually. Walk through the Nanofab Lab, the MCL X-ray Diffraction Lab, and the NanoSEM Lab.

History of Materials at Penn State

Millennium Café

“SMaL, but Functional! From “hairy” nanocellulose to Protein Microgels for Applications in Healthcare and the Environment”

Can we chemically break down cellulose fibers into functional nanomaterials which could provide new strategies for treating water, for filtering blood? Can we convert proteins into particle gels for accelerated wound healing, disease modeling, and tissue engineering? These are just a few questions motivating work in the Soft Materials Laboratory (SMaL).

“Wearable Sensors”

Current gas sensors are mostly rigid, bulky, and require significant energy to operate. In this talk, I will introduce the use of laser-induced porous carbon materials to construct wearable gas sensors to detect toxic gas molecules such as nitrogen dioxide. These wearable gas sensors are flexible, stretchable, and highly sensitive to various target gas species. 

Focus on Materials Magazine

Quantum at Penn State - An overview of quantum information science, quantum materials, and quantum sensing.

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The Materials Research Institute

A Culture of Interdisciplinary Research

Penn State’s investment in its interdisciplinary research institutes, including the Materials Research Institute (MRI), has created a culture of strong collaborations across disciplines. At Penn State, many researchers have the support of both their academic departments and the university-wide institutes, such as MRI. By encouraging crosscutting research, MRI and its sister institutes open up traditional silos of knowledge to the stimulus of other viewpoints and new ideas. This mingling of disciplines, often called “convergence,” brings together the physical and life sciences with engineering and computation to solve the most complex problems facing society today and in the future.

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Four Lab Solution: Theory, Synthesis, Fabrication, Characterization

NSF MIP Materials Innovation Platform
2D Crystal Consortium (2DCC)

The 2DCC-MIP is focused on advancing the synthesis of 2D materials within the context of a national user facility.

The Materials Characterization Lab
Materials Characterization Lab

The Materials Characterization Lab (MCL) is a fully-staffed, open access, analytical research facility charged with enabling research and educating the next generation of highly qualified researchers.

The Materials Computation Center
Materials Computation Center

Our primary goal is to support internal and external users working in computer-based simulations of materials across the various length and time scales.

The Nanofabrication Lab
Nanofabrication Lab

Our staff scientists and engineers will enable users to transition fundamental research in nanomaterials to innovation-driven multicomponent integrated devices and systems.

New Capabilities & Emerging Materials Research

A SLIPS coating on a glass substrate
Bio-inspired Engineering

The bio-inspired invention, called slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces, or SLIPS

Materials-Related Institutes, Facilities, & Centers





Energy Institute




Institute for Computational and Data Sciences


Industry and University Collaboration

Every organization has different priorities and resources. Directors of the MRI facilities recognize this and help your company leverage our labs in various ways.
Find out more...