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Program Highlights

Harnessing the Rules of Life to Enable Bio-Inspired Soft Materials

The Princeton MRSEC iSuperSeed focuses on the topics of polymeric materials driving structure and biological function at (i) the intracellular length scale, where recent observations of phase-separated liquid phases (left top image)  are relevant to understanding responses inside cells, and (ii) extra-cellular length scales where porous material change shape or regulate run-and-tumble dynamics

Majorana zero modes for topological quantum computation

Majorana zero modes (MZMs) can serve as building blocks for topologically protected quantum computers, promising scalable and fault-tolerant quantum computation platforms in the future. Princeton MRSEC investigators Ali Yazdani and B. Andrei Bernevig have realized a novel material platform based on the topological hinge state of bismuth.

Solid-phase epitaxy produce magnetic oxides with novel magnetic properties

The Wisconsin MRSEC has created thin films of a fascinating magnetic material, Pr2Ir2O7, in which the magnetic moments are frustrated: No matter how they are arranged, some of the moments are always fighting to change their direction, like two bar magnets with their north poles shoved together. Frustration creates a rich landscape for discovery and manipulation of new magnetic effects and of electronic phenomena linked to magnetism.

Wisconsin MRSEC Excellence in Open Science Prize

This year the Wisconsin MRSEC launched the first Wisconsin MRSEC Excellence in Open Science Prize. The winner was graduate student Bradley Dallin for his work on molecules interacting with water, with potential applications from understanding human blood to protein folding diseases like Alzheimer’s. Bradley shared his results in papers, but also shared all his simulations and tools in an open accessible format for the community, increasing the impact of his work.

Disassembling 2D van der Waals crystals into macroscopic monolayers

The Zhu group developed a facile method to disassemble vdW single crystals layer by layer into monolayers with near-unity yield and with dimensions limited only by bulk crystal sizes (scheme shown on top). The macroscopic monolayers are comparable in quality to microscopic monolayers from conventional Scotch tape exfoliation.

Bio-materials for Fashion Introduced to Broad Audience at NY Times Sustainability Summit

Professor Theanne Schiros spoke to a full house of over 700 as part of a Sustainability Summit focused on the environmental impact of the fashion industry and positive solutions. She is in engaged in sustainable development for economic empowerment of women and artisans in Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire, providing trainings on natural dyes and biofabrication.

Interfacing with Topological Crystalline Insulators

We demonstrate a route to high quality interfaces between IV-VI PbSnSe and conventional III-V semiconductors, offering means to host and manipulate electronic states that arise at this interface. We can now clarify the extent to which topological protection from backscattering persist in systems at relevant length scales for logic and interconnects using these novel materials.

Point Defects in hexagonal BN for Quantum Information Science

Hexagonal boron nitride is a suitable host for single-photon emitters and single-spin centers.  Strong single-photon emission has been observed, but the source was not identified.  Based on advanced first-principles simulations, the origins have now been pinpointed: the 2 eV emission has been attributed to boron dangling bonds, and 4 eV emission to carbon-carbon dimers.

Microstructure modeling in nonsolvent induced phase separation (NIPS) 

NIPS is a non-equilibrium liquid-liquid phase separation phenomenon used to make polymer membranes through solvent-nonsolvent exchange. Newly developed phase-field simulations allow investigation of coupled mass transfer, flow and thermodynamic instability during processing and the corresponding microstructures that result from variations in film composition and thickness.

Controlling skyrmion size in the alloy FePd1−xPtxMo3N

After discovering a new magnetic host of skyrmion states, UC Santa Barbara IRG-1 researchers were able to show that chemically alloying the compound FePd1−xPtxMo3N allows for the size of the skyrmion defects to be controlled while still preserving their stability.