$13 Million NSF Grant Establishes Center of Excellence for Materials Research and Innovation at Yale and SCSU
The National Science Foundation has awarded a $13 million grant to Yale University and Southern Connecticut State University to establish a Center of Excellence for Materials Research and Innovation also known as a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC). The award will create a new research entity by doubling the capacity of the existing Center for Research on Interface Structures and Phenomena (CRISP) at Yale.
CRISP, which was established in 2005 with a $7.5 million NSF grant, develops novel atomically engineered materials and processes based on a wide variety of materials and materials combinations that range from amorphous metals to artificially structured crystalline oxide heterostructures. As a whole, the Center’s research will impact technologies spanning computation, communication, energy, and medical applications. The Center’s partnerships with a range of academic, government, industrial, and international research organizations will provide CRISP researchers at Yale and SCSU access to unique capabilities around the globe and provide a pathway to commercialization of new technology. These partners include Argonne, Brookhaven, and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Georgia Tech, IBM, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, and PX Group in Switzerland.
“The award of this very competitive grant recognizes the significant impact that the Yale School of Engineering is making in materials science research,” said Steven Girvin, Deputy Provost for Science & Technology at Yale. “It underscores the power of the interdisciplinary approach that our scientists and engineers are taking to the most challenging materials research problems of our day.”
“The seamless and collaborative nature of Yale University is ideal for materials research,” said Kyle Vanderlick, Dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science (SEAS). “This substantially enhanced investment by NSF in our research and outreach activities will help ensure that the next generation of engineers and scientists will be fully engaged in the development and processing of new materials. The awarding of this grant,” she added, “aligns perfectly with the strategic vision of SEAS in which materials research plays a central role.”
Under the direction of Charles H. Ahn, the William K. Lanman, Jr., Professor of Applied Physics and Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Yale, two interdisciplinary groups will lead the center’s research efforts to address major challenges in the discovery and development of novel engineered materials.
One group, the Atomic Scale Design, Control, and Characterization of Oxide Structures Interdisciplinary Research Group, led by Yale Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering Eric I. Altman, and Associate Professor of Applied Physics and Physics Sohrab Ismail-Beigi, will investigate the novel chemical, electronic, and magnetic properties that emerge at interfaces between oxides. Oxide materials range from the very common, such as sand, to esoteric materials that include high temperature superconductors and materials that change from insulators to metals when placed near magnets. The group’s research will focus on designing new materials with unique physical properties; creating new computing, communication and sensing devices enabled by the novel properties of oxide interfaces; and understanding and manipulating the interactions between electrons that give rise to the novel properties.
A second group, the Multi-Scale Surface Engineering with Metallic Glasses Interdisciplinary Research Group, led by Yale Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Jan Schroers, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Udo D. Schwarz, will build upon unique capabilities developed at Yale that allow metals to be formed through simple methods much like those used for plastics. This development relies on metallic glasses, a new class of materials that have the processability of plastics and the mechanical strength of conventional metals. The unique glassy structure of these materials also eliminates the intrinsic size constraints encountered with conventional crystalline metals. These properties will allow the group to push the limits of patterning technology beyond current constraints and create efficient and versatile processes to functionalize metallic surfaces for applications ranging from medical implants to fuel cells.
In addition to promoting breakthroughs in science and technology, the Center will establish working relationships with state and local government agencies, in particular the New Haven Public School System. The Center’s research will be tightly integrated with educational and outreach programs that aim to increase participation of under-represented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. To further this goal, CRISP will partner with the New Haven Public School System to develop professional development programs tailored specifically for New Haven science teachers and to assess the impact of these efforts on science education and entry of underrepresented groups into careers in science, engineering or /math careers. Leading the Center’s education efforts will be Christine C. Broadbridge, Chair and Professor of Physics, Southern Connecticut State University, the largest educator of teachers in Connecticut.
For more information about Yale’s NSF-funded Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, the Center for Research on Interface Structures and Phenomena, visit the CRISP website: http://www.crisp.yale.edu/index.php/Main_Page
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