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Big Improvements in Thin-film Solar Cell Efficiency Now Possible

A New Understanding of the Cold Sintering Process

First 3D View of Life’s Processes in Liquid

Don’t Despair, We Can Solve Climate Change

 Developing sustainable solutions for international supply chains

Research News

Sep 26 2019

By Walt Mills

A few weeks ago the novelist Jonathan Franzen published an article in which he essentially gave up on the prospect of controlling the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, concluding it was time to begin preparing for a future filled with the risk of devasting environmental disaster. It was the culmination of all the bad news we have heard about the changing climate, and I, and many others, was filled with a growing sense of hopelessness.

Sep 24 2019

A new research partnership with Pennsylvania State University and the University of Sheffield aims to promote more sustainable supply chains to meet US policy standards.

Sep 13 2019

While computers have become smaller and more powerful and supercomputers and parallel computing have become the standard, we are about to hit a wall in energy and miniaturization. Now, Penn State researchers have designed a 2D device that can provide more than yes-or-no answers and could be more brainlike than current computing architectures.

Upcoming 2019 Events

Materials Day: Mind the Gap
10 a.m. MSC 3rd Floor Commons
The Millennium Café

History of Materials at Penn State

Millennium Café

“Piezoelectric Batteries”

Lithium ion batteries are energy-storage devices that deliver power on demand. In this talk I will introduce new strategies to use the electrochemical cells within lithium ion batteries to harvest mechanical energies, thereby filling the gap of highly efficient mechanical energy harvesters at the low-frequency paradigm. 

“Tech Transfer: The Differences Between Patent Trends in the Life and Physical Sciences”

I will discuss the role patents play in research, development, technology and the economy—including the differing views specific fields of research and industry have on the value of patents. The role of patenting at academic institutions will also be discussed. We will examine the ways that patents have enhanced innovation, and how they sometimes are thought to impede collaboration and new discoveries.

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.

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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.

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 Cyberscience


Industry and University Collaboration

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