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New Traffic Rules in Graphene City

A 3D Imaging Technique Unlocks Properties of Perovskite Crystals

Penn State researchers developing new technology to advance neuromodulation

Citrate-based Biomaterial Fuels Bone Healing with Less Rejection

TED, Penn State and a makerspace in Ghana

Research News

Oct 5 2018

The inability to alter intrinsic piezoelectric behavior in organic polymers hampers their application in flexible, wearable and biocompatible devices, according to researchers at Penn State and North Carolina State University, but now a molecular approach can improve those piezoelectric properties.

Oct 1 2018

New insight into how a certain class of photovoltaic materials allows efficient conversion of sunlight into electricity could position these materials to replace traditional silicon solar cells. A study by researchers at Penn State reveals the unique properties of these inexpensive and quick-to-produce halide perovskites, information that will guide the development of next generation solar cells. The study appears September 27 in the journal Chem.

Sep 28 2018

There is a scrapyard in Accra, Ghana, known as "Agbogbloshie," where e-waste goes to die — at least, that is the way it has been misrepresented and misunderstood by those on the outside. Penn State faculty members DK Osseo-Asare and Yasmine Abbas have spent years working with urban miners — scrap dealers and grassroots makers in and around Agbogbloshie — to tell a more complete story and co-develop strategies for interweaving design innovation into the circular economy of West Africa.

Upcoming 2018 Events

10 a.m. MSC 3rd Floor Commons
The Millennium Cafe

History of Materials at Penn State

Millennium Cafe

“Survey Says…”

Due primarily to a fantastically diverse audience, (thank YOU) the Millennium Café has become a weekly interdisciplinary cup-o-goodness.  Over the past 6+ years Café participants have been treated to >600 different talks spanning science, engineering, art, agriculture, ethics, live music, etc…  In the spirit of keeping the Café fresh, engaging, and relevant we’ll take a few minutes to get your real time feedback on three questions – bring your device.

“How to Participate in the MRSEC Renewal Competition”

The Center for Nanoscale Science, Penn State’s NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, will compete for renewal in 2018, with the preproposal due at NSF in June.  NSF expects – and we intend to deliver – substantial change in the focus and composition of the Interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs) that will comprise the renewal proposal. 

This talk will describe (1) the internal down select competition to become one of the IRGs in the renewal proposal, (2) the events, people, and resources that will be available throughout the winter and early spring to help teams in generating compelling IRG white papers, and (3) the key measures of a successful IRG proposal.

Alignment to the NSF Big Ideas is important: these include (among others) Rules of Life, Harnessing the Data Revolution, Quantum Leap, Convergence, and Multiumessenger Astrophysics. Sustainability is another important theme. In the last cycle, 54 external reviews were secured on 9 internal IRG white papers, to identify 5 for inclusion in the renewal.

If you are interested but unable to attend the Cafe, an additional similar event will be held in early January (time/place TBA), and the MRSEC Director ( is available anytime for discussion.

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

High-res Image from the TEM
In Situ Characterization

Flurry of innovations in new components that can be placed inside the TEM

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.

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

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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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