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Penn State partners with two universities for diversity in materials research

Grant to investigate stronger, greener carbon fiber-reinforced plastics

Ferroelectrics everywhere?  New family of ferroelectric materials raises possibilities for improved information and energy storage

Podcast discusses creating inexpensive catalysts for renewable energy

Intentional cracks and wrinkles provide low-cost option for medical screening

Research News

Aug 26 2021

The latest episode of the Growing Impact podcast features Mauricio Terrones, Verne M. Willaman Professor of physics and professor of materials science, and Lauren Zarzar, assistant professor of chemistry.

Focus on Materials Magazine

MEET THE NEW GUARD: New perspectives from new minds are often necessary for innovation, so MRI has recently brought on board a variety of new faculty members. These faculty members hold joint appointments from a variety of departments at Penn State.
At Penn State, sensor research is in a kind of renaissance. In fact, this is the first Focus on Materials to have a theme issue on sensors in 15 years.

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Pioneers of Materials

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.

Materials Day 2021

October 12 - 13, 2021

The 2021 version of Materials Day will be a virtual conference. The event will feature poster sessions and keynote addresses on October 12. On October 13, we will feature a variety of breakout sessions by industry leaders, government experts and Penn State faculty.
Website & Registration

(NOTE: This conference is planned to be a virtual conference. Given any future University COVID-19 protocols, plans are subject to change without notice.)

Millennium Café

The Future of the Business of Sustainability Depends on Science

Sustainability research at the Smeal College has reached new levels of activity. Our work responds to a substantial upsurge in interest in the business community; firms that previously treated sustainability as window-dressing now consider it essential to their operations and investors increasingly demand an “ESG” focus. However, the business community’s understanding of sustainability must be better informed by science and engineering disciplines to satisfy its stakeholders. This discussion highlights areas for collaboration and invites future conversations on making business more sustainable with science.

Enabling Interdisciplinary Research: 21/22 IEE Seed Grants

IEE focuses on enabling interdisciplinary research in climate and ecosystem change; urban systems; integrated energy systems; water and biogeochemical change, and health and the environment. I will discuss IEE's currently open seed grant call and share thoughts about how to engage more broadly on these topics. Seed grant proposals are due by 5pm on 11/19/21.

The Millennium Café, a weekly interdisciplinary research dialogue started in May of 2012, has been THE venue for researchers to exchange ideas and challenges while building community across campus. The Café historically drew >75 researchers each Tuesday in the MSC Café Commons, COVID has complicated our ability to run the Café in its traditional format, and “in the garden” is the latest attempt to create ways for people to connect - particularly newer-to-PSU faculty and students.

MRI Labs Open

Penn State is cautiously reopening its research labs and MRI is inviting industry and other universities who may not have reopened to make use of our Nanofabrication Facility, our Materials Characterization Laboratory, and the Materials Computation Center.

Please visit our website for information regarding these laboratories' capabilities and for contact information for the appropriate expert staff. For further information on MRI's and Penn State's response to the COVID-19 crisis.  Read full details here →


Per the Department of the State, the arrival of all visitors, visiting scholars, and post-docs who were expected to arrive prior to August 1, 2020 will be asked to reschedule their visits until further notice.

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

Humanitarian Materials
Humanitarian Materials Engineering

Socially responsible engineering in the developing regions of the world

Materials-Related Institutes, Facilities, & Centers








AREC-USA at Penn State



BEST Center



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...