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Program Highlights

Self-assembly of nanocrystals into strongly electronically coupled all-inorganic supercrystals

At the University of Chicago MRSEC, we have demonstrated the self-assembly of charged nanocrystals into strongly electronically coupled supercrystals, a feature previously not possible with traditional insulating organic surface ligands.

Trainable shear memory in dense suspensions

A collaboration between the University of Chicago MRSEC groups of Jaeger, Patel, and Rowan showed that the complex modulus of a dense suspension of microparticles can be increased exponentially over several orders of magnitude by applying interval training during oscillatory shear, leading to a structural memory.

IRG2: Equitable COVID-19 Vaccines Through Materials Science

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for platform technologies enabling rapid development of vaccines for emerging viral diseases. The current vaccines target the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein and thus far have shown tremendous efficacy. However, the need for cold-chain distribution, a prime-boost administration schedule, and the emergence of variants of concern (VOCs) call for diligence in novel SARS-CoV-2 vaccine approaches.

EHRD: Research Immersion in Materials Science & Engineering (RIMSE) Summer Schools

The UCSD MRSEC RIMSE Summer Schools prepare trainees to engage in research, in MRSEC labs and within UCSD at large. The program streamlines high school students, undergraduate students (with a particular focus on transfer students), REU students, and incoming graduate students into research programs in the domains covered by the two IRGs.

Leaders in Innovation: New Startups Addressing Societal Problems

The Harvard MRSEC provides a vibrant culture of entrepreneurship and several recent Ph.D. students supported by Center IRGs and seed projects have co-founded new companies. 

Self-Regulated Non-Reciprocal Motions in Liquid Crystal Elastomer Pillars

A team at the Harvard MRSEC led by Bertoldi and Aizenberg has developed an approach to achieve a diverse trajectories from a single-material system via self-regulation: when a photoresponsive liquid crystal elastomeric pillar with mesogen alignment is exposed to light, it ‘dances’ dynamically as light initiates a traveling order-to-disorder transition front that twists and bends via opto-chemo-mechanical feedback.

MRSEC collaborations celebrate diversity and professional growth in materials research

UD CHARM and Princeton’s PCCM coordinated with the Chicago MRSEC to host three virtual events (Soft Matter for All, Rising Stars, and a Professional Development Workshop) to highlight early career, high-impact research and ignite discussion for graduate students and postdocs pursuing academic and non-academic career paths.

Spin-to-charge conversion in ferromagnet/ topological insulator bilayers at GHz and THz frequencies

Experimental studies combined with theoretical calculations of spin dynamics across a wide frequency range from ~10 GHz to several THz in a novel amorphous ferromagnet (FM)/3D topological insulator (TI) (FeGaB/BiSb) system that is scalable and provides a promising platform for spin-electronic devices.

Deformation and Orientational Order of Chiral membranes with Free Edges

Producing self-assembled structures of prescribed limited size and shape is a major challenge in nanoscience. A major achievement of the MRSEC was to elucidate a new chirality-based mechanism that leads to self-limiting assembly of colloidal rafts.

Confinement Controls the Bend Instability of Three-Dimensional Active Liquid Crystals

Here, three IRG2 PP developed a combination of experiments with 3D active fluids confined in microfluidic channels and a minimal hydrodynamic model to show that size of the channel determines the emergent lengthscale of the growing deformations. These findings will advance our understanding of active nemato-hydrodynamics and the pathways to 3D active turbulence at low Reynolds number.