The University of Wisconsin (UW) - Madison CEMRI is founded on a network of national and international collaborations that will simultaneously tackle global challenges in materials research and engineering, bring new international perspectives to the materials educational environment, benefit regional Midwest and national institutions, and form regional alliances that will transcend individual research areas and vastly advance the climate for materials research and education throughout the Upper Midwest. The CEMRI unites a wide array of researchers all focused on the central theme of "Structured Interfaces."

The proposed CEMRI is organized into three interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs) and an interdisciplinary education group (IEG). Their activities are summarized as follows:

IRG 1: New Semiconductors from an Unstable World explores the creation of new multi-element compounds and semiconductor materials by gaining a fundamental understanding of the effects of strain, dimension, and flexibility on their phase behavior, stability, defect nucleation and properties.

IRG 2: Molecular and Electronic Dynamics at Organic-Inorganic Interfaces develops and applies a fundamental understanding of charge transport near and across interfaces between organic and inorganic materials. It does so through state-of-the-art probes of electronic transport and structural dynamics, theory, device fabrication and the development of new interfaces.

IRG 3: Functional Liquid Crystalline Assemblies, Materials and Interfaces designs, synthesizes and processes new classes of functional liquid crystalline materials (LCs), composites and interfaces. It does so through strategies that fuse the design of multifunctional polymers and mesogens with studies of confinement and dynamic ordering of molecular assemblies at interfaces of soft anisotropic materials.

The CEMRI has been conceived in a manner that enables each IRG and the IEG to function in a self-sufficient manner. With a combination of UW and several non-UW participants, each IRG represents a small network embedded in the regional and international hub defined by the CEMRI. However, a common interest in the fundamental physics and chemistry of interfaces and their application in devices, including their preparation, characterization and theoretical description, provides a natural connection between the IRGs.

The UW CEMRI also includes an Interdisciplinary Education Group (IEG) that plays an integral role in the center's mission. Amongst a variety of products, the IEG produces instructional aids that bring the excitement of cutting-edge research to diverse audiences. Kits produced by the UW CEMRI are based on the center's research, and serve to illustrate the importance of materials science and engineering and its role in solving grand challenges facing society in the 21st century. The CEMRI also distributes content on its IEG website, which it makes available to the public at no cost. The CEMRI's Research Experiences for Undergraduates and Research Experiences for Teachers programs help ensure that diverse groups of technically able students are attracted to careers in materials science and engineering.

The CEMRI also supports and operates state-of-the-art materials characterization facilities that serve as a focal point for materials research throughout the Upper Midwest region. The center is a participant in the Materials Facilities Research Network (MFRN), whose goal is to expand access to world-class instrumentation to users throughout the nation.

* a NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC)

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Materials Research (DMR)
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Linda S. Sapochak
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University of Wisconsin Madison
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