The Center for Nanoscale Science is a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) supported by the National Science Foundation under grant DMR-1420620. The Center supports collaborative, interdisciplinary research efforts in the area of nanoscale materials. The research themes are focused broadly on nanomaterial synthesis and fabrication, complex oxide thin films, nano- and micro-motors, low-dimensional electronic nanostructures, and integrated optical metamaterials. These research themes are integrated with major efforts in educational and industrial outreach. The activities of the Center involve over forty-five students and postdoctoral fellows, forty-one faculty from ten academic departments at Penn State University, and a number of external academic and industrial partners.
The principal research activities of the Center are organized into four interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs). The IRGs investigate emergent behavior of nanoscale systems with common themes of new materials synthesis and nanofabrication, theory-led design, and length scale-dependent physical phenomena. The scientific programs of the IRGs are complemented by a highly competitive Seed program. The Seed program has played a major role in the evolution of the Center, supporting new faculty and high risk projects. Seed grants typically support 1 to 3 graduate students over ~18 months. The Seed program leverages co-funding from the Penn State Materials Research Institute (MRI), the Huck Institutes for the Life Sciences, and the Penn State Institutes for Energy and the Environment (PSIEE).