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Materials Research Laboratory: An NSF MRSEC

The Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara will carry out research within three Interdisciplinary Research Groups or IRGs. The three IRGs address fundamental problems in materials research that could not be advanced without contributions from a team of interdisciplinary and collaborative domain experts. The research in every IRG integrates synthesis, theory/computation, and characterization/property measurement to advance fundamental understanding and develop promising materials classes for a range of applications. The scientific challenge for IRG-1 is to understand and develop unprecedented control over the couplings between strain, magnetization, and temperature in single- and multiphase intermetallic compounds to advance technologies including actuation and solid-state refrigeration. For IRG-2, the challenge is to develop novel polymeric ionic liquid chemistries, understand self-assembly and ion transport in these materials, and develop applications that incorporate the emergent properties of multi-valent ion conductivity, light-driven adaptive mechanics, switchable redox activity, and magnetic response. Inspired by natural marine materials, IRG-3 aims to discover how material assembly and innovative processing can help establish the foundational design rules for creating versatile, graded, multiphase soft materials for eventual use applications such as advanced fabrics, packaging, additive manufacturing, and tissue replacements, and as self-shaping, self-healing, and reconfigurable materials platforms. Seed Projects will be competitively awarded for two-year periods, and will bring in collaborative investigators who will take the MRSEC in promising new directions. Alongside the research UCSB MRSEC scientists and education staff are dedicated to improving access to science and to building a dynamic and inclusive workforce of scientists and engineers. The portfolio of education programs has a core focus on undergraduate research opportunities. Outreach activities will also involve K-12 students, support of teachers to create relevant curricula, and the broader lay public, to share current excitement in materials research. Initiatives to develop a diverse workforce emphasize graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.


(805) 893-6129
Education Director:
(805) 893-5314
Facilities Director:
(805) 893-7161
Associate Director:
Award DMR year started: