Center for Dynamics and Control of Materials: an NSF MRSEC

The Center for Dynamics and Control of Materials seeks to extend the traditional paradigm of materials research beyond the study of behavior in or near equilibrium to encompass the understanding and control of materials over extended temporal and spatial scales. The Center supports research on nanocomposite materials that combine inorganic and organic components, with applications in energy storage and filtration membranes, and on approaches for exploiting light to achieve dynamic, quantum control of materials. Through the concept of a Materials Community of Practice, the Center integrates interdisciplinary materials research with initiatives in education, outreach, and the promotion of diversity. The Center involves elementary school teachers in materials research to improve teacher efficacy and student engagement with science at a formative age. Outreach to the public via hands-on demonstrations and collaborations between artists and materials researchers brings materials science and technology to new audiences who might not otherwise be engaged. And partnerships with industry and the entrepreneurial community provide participants with experiences and connections to prepare them for success in a broad range of careers. The Center supports two IRGs:

IRG 1, Reconfigurable Porous Nanoparticle Networks, addresses multifunctional, reconfigurable networks of nanoparticles, polymers, and organic molecules that respond to a range of external stimuli. Fundamental principles are elucidated for understanding and controlling the assembly and reconfiguration of nanoparticles connected by molecular linkers, with theoretical and experimental efforts combining to create unique optical, chemical, or biological materials functionality. Research advances in this IRG are expected to enable responsive, reconfigurable materials based on integration of nanoparticles and macromolecules for applications in electronics, energy storage, photonics, and biology.  Learn more

IRG 2, Materials Driven by Light, addresses light-matter interactions that lead to material properties not accessible in equilibrium. Phases and ordered states accessed via light-induced perturbations to energy landscapes, topological material behavior enabled by optical excitation, and formation of exotic quantum phases are explored to provide new understanding of and control over optically responsive materials. Research advances in this IRG are expected to lead to new understanding of material behavior accessible and controllable using temporally structured light, with potential applications in a broad range of technologies for communications and information processing. Learn more


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