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New, slippery toilet coating provides cleaner flushing, saves water

3D printed microswimmers with multi-responsive behaviors

Fabrication of New Photonic Liquid Crystals Could Lead to Next Generation Displays and Advanced Photonic Applications

Biological material boosts solar cell performance

Big Improvements in Thin-film Solar Cell Efficiency Now Possible

Research News

Oct 21 2019

Next-generation solar cells that mimic photosynthesis with biological material may give new meaning to the term "green technology." Adding the protein bacteriorhodopsin (bR) to perovskite solar cells boosted the efficiency of the devices in a series of laboratory tests, according to an international team of researchers.

Oct 18 2019

Researchers at Penn State and Delaware have developed a theoretical method to improve the efficiency of thin-film solar cells by up to 33 percent. Flexible thin-film solar cells are needed to supply electrical power to fabrics, clothing, back packs and anywhere that a local autonomous power supply is required.

Oct 15 2019

A better understanding of the mechanisms behind the cold sintering process (CSP) will lead to faster adoption and the cold sintering of many new materials, according to a team of Penn State researchers.

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

“Serious and Sincere: Two Movements from Beethoven’s Opus 95”

Beethoven published a total of sixteen string quartets in his life, but this one stands out from them all. Opus 95 in F minor has been given the epithet “serious,” and for good reason. The first movement is unrelenting in its straining rhythm and ruthless articulation. Joseph Kerman says of this movement “this piece stands aloof, preoccupied with its radical private war on every fibre of rhetoric and feeling that Beethoven knew or could invent.”  Thankfully, the second movement gives way to a more lyrical motion, and although there are still hints of gloom, it ends peacefully. 

“Living Materials: Biomolecular Memory Elements that Compute Like the Brain”

I will highlight several examples of living materials that range from stimuli-responsive systems to those that achieve synapse-like functionality. I will also demonstrate the ability of such materials to sense, learn, and process signals.

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

Humanitarian Materials
Humanitarian Materials Engineering

Socially responsible engineering in the developing regions of the world

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 recognizes this and help your company leverage our labs in various ways.
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