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Program Highlights

Virtual Musical Magnetism Engages Middle School Students in Materials Science

The Illinois MRSEC implemented its middle school outreach program “Musical Magnetism” for the third year starting in Feb. 2021, in a six-week, virtual format. The program engages middle school students in materials science demos as they practice creative expression with a science theme. The program reached 50 7th and 8th graders at Franklin STEAM Academy, a school with majority URM students.

Designing Highly Deformable 2D Materials and Heterostructures

The Illinois MRSEC team has demonstrated a new ability to create ultra-soft 2D heterostructures by design. With combined electron microscopy studies and atomistic simulations, they show that systematically incorporating low-friction interfacial layers into 2D stacks tunes the bending stiffness up to several hundred percent.

Assembly of Linked Nanocrystal Colloids by Reversible Covalent Bonds

This highlight demonstrates the combination of colloidal nanocrystals with uniquely developed ligands for the use of gelation assembly. Through this combined experimental, computational and theoretical work provided a platform for controlling and designing the properties of reversible colloidal assemblies.

Collective Excitations in Twisted Bilayers

Moire superlattices consist of two monolayers of atomically thin materials, in this case the transition metal dichalcogenide MoS2, stacked on top of each other with a slight rotational misalignment (twist) that creates a moire interference pattern between the atomic lattices of the two monolayers.

Seed: Selecting for Phase-Separating Nucleic Acid Coacervates

Top: Designed DNA structures of varying charge density and flexibility. Bottom left: Coacervate droplets formed from 1 DNA structure. Bottom middle/right: Binary droplets formed from a model system with 2 DNA structures.

IRG-3: Accelerating Block Copolymer Research

A single parent diblock copolymer can be purified by automated chromatography to give libraries of well-defined, low dispersity block copolymers on multi-gram scale.

IRG-1: Magnetoplastic Coupling in Heusler Intermetallics

Experiments (top) showing near zero-net magnetization of MnAu2Al following plastic deformation and simulations (bottom) of low energy displacive pathways enabled by local spin orderings.

UC Santa Barbara MRSEC Continues REU Program Through COVID-19 Lockdown

The UC Santa Barbara ran a fully remote REU program in Summer 2020, with 18 students working on primarily computational projects.

Tiny Robots with Giant Potential (TED Talk)

Take a trip down the microworld as roboticists Paul McEuen and Marc Miskin explain how they design and mass-produce microrobots the size of a single cell, powered by atomically thin legs -- and show how these machines could one day be "piloted" to battle crop diseases or study your brain at the level of individual neurons.

NYU-MRSEC & BioBus Collaboration

NYU-MRSEC investigators have worked alongside BioBus scientists to develop new K-12 materials science-related curricula since 2009. This collaboration brought exciting and educational engineering projects to over 1,000 NYC students in 2019-2020.