[Image above] Credit: National Science Foundation
Thanks to a multi-million-dollar infusion of funding from the National Science Foundation, materials and materials research centers are having one of their best months ever.
NSF recently announced that it will present a dozen Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSECs) with awards of $1.6 million to $3.3 million for multi- and inter-disciplinary materials research and education. The 12 MSRECs will receive a total of $56 million in NSF funding in fiscal year 2014.
“These awards are representative of the exquisitely balanced and highly multidisciplinary research portfolio spanning all of the division-supported research areas,” says NSF Division of Materials Research director Mary Galvin in an NSF press release. “These multidisciplinary awards, in particular, will promote areas such as next-generation quantum computing, electronics and photonics and bio- and soft-materials.”
The MRSEC at Columbia University is the newest of the NSF-funded research centers and, according to the release, will have two interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs). “One of the research groups will study how 2-D materials interact to create new physical phenomena to potentially be integrated into electronic devices, and the other research group may establish a new type of periodic table by using molecular clusters to assemble materials, which could generate new electronic and magnetic materials of technological importance.”
The other 11 centers “represent melting pots of cutting-edge materials science and engineering.” Many already have well-established IRGs and will add second, third, and fourth groups devoted to the study of materials in a host of applications—including artificial muscles and self-healing materials, superconductors and energy storage, solid state electronics and low-power switches, opto-electronics and spintronic devices, and materials with bioinspired function.
They also will have a more defined focused on education, particularly at the Columbia MRSEC, where the university and its partners will work to develop outreach activities for K-12 schools in the area.