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Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation funding renewed

Self-heating, fast-charging battery makes electric vehicles climate-immune

Sintering Atomically Thin Materials with Ceramics Now Possible

Camouflaged Nanoparticles Used to Deliver Killer Protein to Cancer

Mechanotargeting of Cancer Cells

Research News

Jul 6 2018

Californians do not purchase electric vehicles because they are cool, they buy EVs because they live in a warm climate. Conventional lithium-ion batteries cannot be rapidly charged at temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but now a team of Penn State engineers has created a battery that can self-heat, allowing rapid charging regardless of the outside chill.

Jun 26 2018

By Walt Mills

For the first time, researchers have created a nanocomposite of ceramics with a two-dimensional material that opens the door to new designs of nanocomposites with a variety of applications, such as solid-state batteries thermoelectrics, varistors, catalysts, chemical sensors and much more.

Upcoming 2018 Events

13 - 24
The Penn State Microscopy School
10 a.m. MSC 3rd Floor Commons
The Millennium Cafe
24 - 25
Materials Day

History of Materials at Penn State

Focus on Materials Magazine

In the latest issue of Focus on Materials, the boundaries between materials science, engineering, and the life sciences are blurring. We offer a glimpse into the fascinating world of “convergence,” where the future of healthcare lies.

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Millennium Cafe

“Juggling with Photons: From Theory to Practical Applications”

Photonics has provided the basic platform to test many fundamental theories of contemporary physics and to build novel technologies utilizing them. In this talk, I will discuss examples of how concepts such as entanglement, entangled networks and Parity-Time-symmetry can be realized in simple optical setups, highlight some of the unanswered questions, and how collaboration among different disciplines (e.g., optics, materials science, physics and engineering, etc) can provide new insights towards scalable and feasible quantum photonic networks as well as high-performance optical devices and systems.

“Attempting to Harvest the Hidden Functions of Biological Materials”

The iSuperSEED team of the Center for Nanoscale Science (Penn State MRSEC) pursues compelling new research opportunities in applying Rules of Life principles to adapt the highly-sophisticated synthesis and assembly machinery of living systems to the production of new symmetry-enabled functional materials that cannot be synthesized or fabricated through conventional engineering methods. The research team will leverage plant biology research of the DOE-funded Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation (CLSF), which seeks a deeper understanding of the plant cell wall, in part by adapting methods of materials research in service of biology to conversely induce biological systems to create new materials.  As an initial step, the team will utilize genotype and extracellular environment to control the structure, composition, and crystalline order of cellulose across length scales in search of new modes of symmetry-enabled materials response such as piezoelectricity, ferroelectricity, and electro-optic effects.

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.

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

Colorized SEM image of graphene
2D Materials and Coatings

One atom-thick substrate of graphene with pristine interfaces between the two layers

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...