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Program Highlights

Voltage Control of Optical Properties by Ionic Gating

Using a simple device structure, it has been shown that electrical control of optical properties can be achieved through electrochemical hydrogen gating, sourced from moisture in the air.

Building Enduring Pathways in STEM: Incorporating Traditional Ways of Knowing in Materials Research

This unique partnership between Navajo Technical University and the Harvard MRSEC builds enduring pathways for undergraduate Native American students into STEM by including traditional Navajo  perspectives and methods of scientific inquiry in materials science research and education.

Shape-Shifting Lattices via Multimaterial 4D Printing

A team at the Harvard MRSEC led by Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan and Jennifer A. Lewis has created shape-shifting lattices by combining predictive design and multimaterial 4D printing.

Focused Ion Beam / Scanning Electron Microscope: TESCAN S8000X

In the Fall of 2019, the LRSM installed a uniquely equipped focused ion beam / scanning electron microscope from the TESCAN corporation. The instrument has a high flux xenon source, allowing rapid sample removal. It is equipped with two novel accessories, a cryogenic transfer system and a time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometer (ToF-SIMS).

Experimenta con PREM

“Experimenta con PREM” is a summer high school program organized by PREM-UPR (Univ. of Puerto Rico [PR]) faculty. Led by Wallace and Licurse, Penn participates annually by creating workshops and staffing those workshops with LRSM post-docs and grad students.

Membraneless Organelles Built from Engineered Assemblies of Intrinsically Disordered Proteins

The SuperSeed labs of Hammer and Good designed a disordered protein material called ‘SPLIT’ capable of self-assembly into micron size protein condensates when illuminated with brief pulses of 405 nm laser light [1].

Paramagnetic Organocobalt Capsule Reveals Xe Host-Guest Chemistry

This collaboration between Dmochowski (Seed) and Kikkawa (IRG-3) addresses a  major challenge for molecular imaging with conventional MRI: the probes typically have low sensitivity and lack of responsiveness to local environment.

Molecular Heterogeneity Drives Reconfigurable Nematic Liquid Crystal Drops

With few exceptions, polydispersity or molecular heterogeneity in matter tends to impede assembly Shape transformations of liquid droplets, for example, are readily understood on the basis of homogeneous material responses. Here, Yodh and Yang in IRG-3 studied drops filled with polydisperse nematic liquid crystal oligomers (NLCOs).

Emergence of Tissue-like Mechanics from Fibrous Networks Confined by Close-packed Cells

The Janmey and Shenoy groups in IRG-2 studied multiaxial response of soft tissues (top left image). Measurements (Janmey) and a theoretical model (Shenoy) show that the tissue rheology emerges from an interplay between strain-stiffening polymer networks and the volume-conserving cells within them.

Thermal Degradation of Polymers under Extreme Nanoconfinement

A collaboration between members of IRG-1 (Fakhraai, Lee, Turner) explored the properties of disordered packings in different environments. Specifically, they investigated the effects of extreme confinement on the thermal properties of polymer-infiltrated nanoparticle films.