Materials Science Engineering Research Areas & Labs

The faculty members of the Materials Science Engineering program are committed to world-class research in diversified materials science fields such as advanced mechanical surface treatments on metal corrosion, ceramic composite materials for extreme environments, polymer processing and structure characterization by small-angle scattering, nanomaterials for medical diagnosis and therapeutics, thin film deposition for electronic devices and energy applications, and computer simulation for new material structures.

Structure and Property of Metals and Alloys

The research on metallurgical science and engineering deals with a wide range of materials issues in terms of structures, properties, processing methods, and additive manufacturing based on classical and modern theories of solids (thermodynamics and kinetics) and the state-of-the-art characterization techniques (XRD, TEM, SEM) for studying structures, defects, surface behaviors. Physical metallurgy involves systematic investigation of the behaviors of metals and alloys in terms of phase equilibrium, nucleation and growth, diffusion phenomena, and kinetics. While mechanical metallurgy focuses on the relationship between the defect structures and mechanical properties including fracture, toughness, fatigue, and behaviors in extreme environment, such as high temperature and corrosion.

Energy Materials and Nano Devices

Current energy research has focused on a variety of novel energy devices, energy grid systems, and nanomaterials with new designs, struc¬tures, and unique properties. The frontier energy research has produced such materials as nano composites for super capacitors and advanced electrochemical energy storage devices; novel pulsed power capacitors for reducing the rate and rapid cycling demand on the batteries of hybrid/electric vehicles, and flexible, highly conductive, but low loss thin films for solar energy cells.


Nanotechnology will be one of the key engines that drive our technological society in the twenty-first century. This rapidly growing area focuses on developing biomedical tools for effective diagnosis and therapeutics and new nanomaterials for energy devices. By structure design at nano-scale, unique material properties are created for new development of industrial applications. A new field of Nano Biomedicine has recently emerged that involves close collaborations between the researchers from both physical and medical sciences. Using newly developed nanomaterials and nanotechnologies, the challenging issues are being addressed in many biomedical areas such as early cancer diagnosis and therapeutics, precision medicine, cell targeting, drug/gene delivery, and medical devices.

Polymers and Soft Matter

Polymer science is a subfield of materials science concerned with synthesis, processing, and property characterization of plastic materials. Our faculty uses techniques such light scattering, small-angle x-ray scattering and neutron scattering to measure the structure of polymeric materials with the goal of relating structure to properties. Novel processing of nanomaterials is also used to create new composite materials with improved properties. Soft matter is a more generic category that includes, colloids, surfactants, gels, viscous liquids and biological materials. Our faculty, for example, use powerful new interface-modification methods to create the new bio-materials needed for emerging stem-cell therapies.

Materials Modeling and Computation Lab