The Center of Excellence in Materials Research and Innovation* (CEMRI) at the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) will explore fundamental challenges in interdisciplinary materials research that will enable technological progress of a scope and complexity that requires the sustained contribution of researchers from multiple disciplines. In doing so, the Center will develop the experimental and theoretical tools and techniques necessary for further advances.
Research in the Center will be pursued through three Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs) as well as a number of smaller Seed research projects. The theme of IRG-1 is to understand and control complex electronic materials that have spectacular electronic and magnetic properties, including high temperature superconductivity, huge electric field effects, and many forms of nanoscale electron self-organization. Starting from materials that are reasonably well described by existing theory, the group will systematically perturb the targeted materials through experimentally-accessible parameters such as electron overlap and carrier density, using observed changes in materials properties to drive new advances in understanding. The goal of IRG-2 is to understand and apply new mechanisms to manipulate electron spins in both ferromagnetic and non-ferromagnetic materials. This research will potentially enable nonvolatile magnetic memory technologies that are much smaller, more energy efficient, more reliable, faster, and less expensive than competing strategies, possibly leading to the replacement of silicon-based memories in many applications. IRG-3 will explore atomic membranes an exciting new class of two-dimensional, free-standing materials only one atom thick yet mechanically robust, chemically stable, and virtually impermeable. Applications for these membranes loom in almost every technological sector from electronics to chemical passivation to high-resolution imaging, but major materials challenges must first be addressed. The timely exploration of novel ideas, higher-risk and potentially transformative projects will be enabled by a Seed research program that will pursue limited-term, exploratory research projects. This program will nucleate new interdisciplinary, materials-focused research projects, integrate new faculty into the Center, and refresh the Center's portfolio of research. National and international collaborations will augment and enable the Center's research by providing access to one-of-a-kind facilities, specialized instrumentation, new techniques, and world-leading expertise.
The research program will educate a diverse cadre of undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars in areas of national need and importance. To further improve the national supply of science and engineering students, Center researchers will partner with K-12 teachers to improve student interest and achievement in science, technology, and mathematics. These activities will be complemented by a summer research program that will provide undergraduate students with an introduction to materials research. The Center will enhance the local and national materials research infrastructure by offering both routine and state-of-the-art Shared Facilities, offering fabrication, analysis, and characterization and consultation to all users (on a fee-per-use basis). Knowledge transfer to industry and other sectors will be stimulated by extensive collaborations with international, industrial, academic, and national lab researchers, as well as by a multifaceted industrial partnerships program.
* An NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC)