By Cameron Chai
The Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) is receiving NSF funding for more than six years to expand its mission.
It will now act as a network of national, international and regional alliances that will handle major challenges in the field of materials research and engineering.
The grants will be used by three new research groups within MRSEC. The first team will work to develop new semiconductors and will also analyze new multi-element compounds by measuring deformability, dimensions and strain. The research on semiconductors will enable the team to develop innovative materials for sensors, solar cells and other technologies.
The second research group will focus on molecular and electronic dynamics of the area where carbon-based materials join with inorganic compounds. The major objectives of the team are to investigate the transfer of energy and molecular movement of one electron at a time to better understand the dynamics and to achieve exceptional control over such material interfaces as well as their preparation.
A study on combining mechanical, interfacial and structural interactions in liquid crystals will be carried out by the third group. Liquid crystals possess features of both solid crystals and conventional liquids. The team will produce new types of liquid crystalline materials using techniques such as nanoscale patterning, confinement, and through addition of multifunctional polymers. These materials will have potential applications in medicine, biology and engineering.
MRSEC will comprise an industrial association, which helps member companies to implement the centre’s technology and will also reinforce collaborations between UW-Madison and industry. In addition, the centre will enhance its excellence in education and outreach K-12 students and teachers to communicate the revolutionary science.