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Smart chip senses, stores, computes and secures data in one low-power platform

New type of semiconductor may advance low-energy electronics

Thermally regenerative battery produces ample energy using low-grade waste heat

Laser writing may enable ‘electronic nose’ for multi-gas sensor

Extra dimension doubles power of standalone antenna system

Real-time, accurate virus detection method could help fight next pandemic

Research News

Jul 26 2022

By Mariah Churpinski

Digital information is everywhere in the era of smart technology, where data is continuously generated by and communicated among cell phones, smart watches, cameras, smart speakers and other devices. Securing digital data on handheld devices requires massive amounts of energy, according to an interdisciplinary group of Penn State researchers, who warn that securing these devices from bad actors is becoming a greater concern than ever before.  

Jul 15 2022

By Jennifer Matthews

Thermally regenerative ammonia batteries can produce electricity on demand from low-grade waste heat. A new process for creating these batteries improves their stability and affordability and may help address the country’s growing grid-scale energy storage problem, according to a team led by Penn State researchers.

Jul 15 2022

By Jamie Oberdick

A research partnership between Penn State and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) could enable an improved method to make a new type of semiconductor that is a few atoms thin and interacts with light in an unusual way. This new semiconductor could lead to new computing and communications technologies that use lower amounts of energy than current electronics. 

Pioneers of Materials

360 Virtual Tour of Our Labs

From anywhere, from any device, visit some of our labs virtually. Walk through the Nanofab Lab, the MCL X-ray Diffraction Lab, and the NanoSEM Lab.

Millennium Café

Millennium Café Returns on (8/23)

The Millennium Café will return on 8/23 and continue to run 10-11am in the 3rd floor Café Commons of the MSC throughout the fall semester. 

Consider attending the Café this fall to meet other researchers from across campus, enjoy a  stellar cup of coffee, and hear two <10 min interdisciplinary talks.

Materials Day 2022

Materials Day is designed to share Penn State’s extensive materials research expertise and highlight the state-of-the-art infrastructure designed to support internal, industrial, and government research partnerships. The Materials Research Institute organizes this annual event to enable you and your organization to experience all that Penn State has to offer in the materials research space. Materials Day is also designed for industry to interact with our graduate students and postdoctoral students as a means of engaging in potential career opportunities. Attending this event will provide you and your organization valuable information and opportunities within the materials research community at Penn State. Registration is open!
Details and Registration

Focus on Materials Magazine

MATERIALS CONNECTIONS: MRI's Role in Building a 'One Penn State'
Materials research at Penn State stretches across campuses, institutes, and just about every corner of the University.

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The Materials Research Institute

A Culture of Interdisciplinary Research

Penn State’s investment in its interdisciplinary research institutes, including the Materials Research Institute (MRI), has created a culture of strong collaborations across disciplines. At Penn State, many researchers have the support of both their academic departments and the university-wide institutes, such as MRI. By encouraging crosscutting research, MRI and its sister institutes open up traditional silos of knowledge to the stimulus of other viewpoints and new ideas. This mingling of disciplines, often called “convergence,” brings together the physical and life sciences with engineering and computation to solve the most complex problems facing society today and in the future.

Request a Tour of the MSC

Four Lab Solution: Theory, Synthesis, Fabrication, Characterization

NSF MIP Materials Innovation Platform
2D Crystal Consortium (2DCC)

The 2DCC-MIP is focused on advancing the synthesis of 2D materials within the context of a national user facility.

The Materials Characterization Lab
Materials Characterization Lab

The Materials Characterization Lab (MCL) is a fully-staffed, open access, analytical research facility charged with enabling research and educating the next generation of highly qualified researchers.

The Materials Computation Center
Materials Computation Center

Our primary goal is to support internal and external users working in computer-based simulations of materials across the various length and time scales.

The Nanofabrication Lab
Nanofabrication Lab

Our staff scientists and engineers will enable users to transition fundamental research in nanomaterials to innovation-driven multicomponent integrated devices and systems.

New Capabilities & Emerging Materials Research

Colorized SEM image of graphene
2D Materials and Coatings

One atom-thick substrate of graphene with pristine interfaces between the two layers

Materials-Related Institutes, Facilities, & Centers








AREC-USA at Penn State



BEST Center




Industry and University Collaboration

Every organization has different priorities and resources. Directors of the MRI facilities recognize this and help your company leverage our labs in various ways.
Find out more...