Materials Research Institute | Our integrated research laboratories turn concepts into prototypes Skip to main content

New class of materials shows strange electron properties

Zoubeida Ounaies named director of Penn State Center for Living Material Systems

$2.8M grant to fund bioprinting for reconstruction of face, mouth, skull tissues

Penn State Receives Five-year $3.7 Million Grant to Study Virus Evolution

New Method to Detect Defects in 2D Materials for Future Electronics, Sensors

Research News

Jan 20 2020

Use of an AC rather than a DC electric field can improve the piezoelectric response of a crystal. Now, an international team of researchers say that cycles of AC fields also make the internal crystal domains in some materials bigger and the crystal transparent.

Jan 16 2020

By Walt Mills

A highly sensitive wearable gas sensor for environmental and human health monitoring may soon become commercially available, according to researchers at Penn State and Northeastern University.

Jan 8 2020

By Walt Mills

Lithium ion batteries often grow needle-like structures between electrodes that can short out the batteries and sometimes cause fires.  Now, an international team of researchers has found a way to grow and observe these structures to understand ways to stop or prevent their appearance.

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

“Taking a Bite Out of Foodborne Illness”

What do breath strips have to do with preventing foodborne illness? Pullulan, the polysaccharide used to make these strips shows promise as an edible delivery system for antimicrobials on food surfaces. I will discuss how a novel composite antimicrobial film, made from pullulan, antimicrobials, and polyethylene can inhibit pathogens associated with muscle foods.

“Heavy Metal as the Sound of Global Risk”

What does a global threat sound like? The Pentagon, the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists all diagnose risks to global society including pandemics, weapons of mass destruction, failed states, and the failure to address anthropogenic climate change. In the this talk/performance I will show how heavy metal musicians have brought attention to these global threats through their music and art. Future Café talks this semester will highlight other approaches for communicating important messages beyond the standard approaches employed by researchers.

The Millennium Café is held every Tuesday @ 10:00 in the 3rd floor Café Commons of the Millennium Science Complex. Stop by for freshly brewed science & coffee.

Focus on Materials Magazine

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

To receive a FREE printed issue, subscribe to "Printed Materials" and add/update your mailing address.

Sign Up for Print Focus Magazine


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.

Request a Tour of the MSC

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

Next generation solid-state refrigeration
Thermally Functional Materials

Electrocaloric effect (ECE) based cooling technology

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...