The substantial and sustained investment in the sciences at NYU, the founding of NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, and the inaugural MRSEC award in Y2008 have created a dynamic environment for interdisciplinary materials research that is on a steep upward trajectory. The second generation of the Center unites investigators from Chemistry, Physics, Chemical and Civil Engineering, the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, and the NYU College of Dentistry in a program encompassing two Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs), a technology-focused Seed component that capitalizes on New York’s thriving entrepreneurial culture, and a comprehensive education program that captures learners at all levels. The goals of the NYU MRSEC are straightforward – perform world-class research that cannot be performed by individual investigators alone, instill an interdisciplinary culture in graduate students and postdocs for thriving careers, and cultivate excitement in STEM among young scientists and engineers.
The research mission of the NYU MRSEC revolves around two IRGs and Seed projects:
IRG 1: Random Organization of Disordered Materials combines researchers from Chemistry, Civil and Chemical Engineering, Mathematics and Physics to investigate new principles for organizing and controlling the microstructure of multiscale materials. The IRG builds on the remarkable discovery of the Random Organization Principle, pioneered by NYU MRSEC investigators, by which systems driven out of equilibrium evolve towards absorbing states in which dynamic rearrangement ceases. IRG 1 explores the structures and correlations that arise in granular, multicomponent and active materials under external and internal driving, particularly those of the absorbing states, seeking to optimize material properties such as yield strength and photonic band structure, and to develop active materials such as optically reconfigurable colloids and active extensile viscoelastic liquids.
IRG 2: Molecular Crystal Growth Mechanisms assembles a team from Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics to investigate the fundamental science of molecular crystal growth, an area of vital interest for pharmaceuticals, organic electronics, and other technologies. While crystal growth of metals, semiconductors, and binary oxides is highly developed, understanding of basic elements of molecular crystal growth is lacking. The IRG advances the understanding of essential aspects of crystal growth science and engineering, investigating nucleation, dislocation generation and structure, multi-step assembly at the unit cell level, and origins of non-classical morphologies in molecular crystals. IRG 2 combines theoretical modeling, computer simulation, and experiment to develop predictive models of crystal structure and free energy and to investigate the dynamic aspects of crystal growth.
Seeds: During Year 1, the Center made four Seed awards aimed at investments in junior faculty and at emerging proto-IRGs, including (i) Multi-Scale Biomaterials, (ii) One-Dimensional Nickel and Cobalt Wires: Synthesis and Characterization, (iii) Hyperbranched nanoparticles from Reverse Micelles, (iv) Spectroscopic measurement of site- and depth-resolved electronic structure inside battery electrodes during charge cycling.