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Program Highlights

CDCM Industrial Mentorship Program Prepares Students for the Workforce of Tomorrow

The Industrial Mentorship Program connects undergraduate students, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows to a PhD level mentor in industry. This program is designed to (i) expose participants to fundamental research as it relates to societal and economic development; (ii) enable them to broaden their networks; and (iii) facilitate a successful transition into the workforce. The Industrial Mentor program entered its sixth program cycle during 2023-2024 and since its inception, 147 students have participated as mentees in the program, with 30 of those from the CIMA PREM at Texas State University.

K-5 Research Experience for Teachers (RET)

CDCM’s Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program engages elementary school teachers in materials research at UT Austin during the summer and has created lasting impact over the past six years. The program aims to increase teacher efficacy in research practices and guide teachers in integrating what they learn into their instructional practice. The end goals are to enhance students’ engagement in science and increase students’ awareness of and interest in STEM fields.  

Nonlinear Rheological Behavior of Dynamic Covalent Gels

Hydrogels with dynamic linkers have garnered intense interest for applications that require flow, including injectable delivery vehicles and 3D bioprinting inks. However, to fully enable these applications, there remains a need to understand how linking chemistry affects gelation and nonlinear rheological properties. To probe this relationship, UT Austin MRSEC researchers developed synthetic multi-arm polyethylene glycol (PEG) gels linked with dynamic covalent bonds.

Interplay between phonon chirality and electronic topology

UT Austin researchers used polarization-dependent terahertz magnetospectroscopy to observe Zeeman splittings and diamagnetic shifts in a series of Pb1-xSnxTe films, which transition from a topologically trivial insulator to a topological crystalline insulator (TCI) phase as the Sn concentration increases beyond 0.32. This study demonstrates a substantial phonon magnetic moment films in the TCI phase exhibited phonon magnetic moment values significantly larger—by two orders of magnitude—than those in the topologically trivial sample.

Spin–orbit exciton–induced phonon chirality in a quantum magnet

The interplay of charge, spin, lattice, and orbital degrees of freedom in correlated materials often leads to rich and exotic properties. Recent studies have brought new perspectives to bosonic collective excitations in correlated materials. MRSEC researchers with UT Austin report phonon properties resulting from a combination of strong spin–orbit coupling, large crystal field splitting, and trigonal distortion in CTO.

Crowding Alters Secondary Structure in F-actin Bundles

The cytoskeletal component actin plays a crucial role in various cellular functions, including cell shape regulation and intracellular transport, by forming filaments and networks. Despite the current understanding of actin's morphological versatility, the impact of crowded environments—specifically how actin filaments organize into bundles and how this organization changes the protein secondary structure—remains under-explored. Here, we used two-dimensional infrared (2D IR) spectroscopy and structure based spectral calculations to map out structural changes of actin filaments under two degrees of crowding and bundling.

Internal Advisory Council: Promoting the Student Perspective

The CEM Student Internal Advisory Council advises CEM in the interests of students and postdocs and organizes technical and team-building events. 

Ultrafast Spin Polarized Electron Dynamics of Magnetic Insulator Yttrium Iron Garnet

Understanding the ultrafast dynamics of charge/spin transitions in magnetic insulators (MI) is crucial for developing new materials interfaces for spin-electronics and quantum information science applications. Supported by CEM, the groups of Yang and Baker reported a femtosecond extreme UV (XUV) spectroscopy of yttrium iron garnet (Y3Fe5O12, YIG), one of the important MI garnets for the NM/MI interfaces in this IRG.

Regional Abacus Bee Math Competition

Princeton co-hosted an inaugural NJ Regional Abacus Bee Math Competition in October 2023 that encourages blind and low vision students to practice their math skills.

Control of Solution Phase Behavior through Block−Random Copolymer Sequence

Princeton researchers alter a sequence of random copolymers and provide the first experimental observations of thermoreversible crew-cut micelles, and thermotropic micro- and macrophase separation in a nonaqueous polymer solution.