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Graduate students in materials chemistry participate in interdisciplinary research on the fundamental properties and structure, rational synthesis, and applications of materials. A major focus is on understanding the fundamental links between structure, microstructure, composition, properties, reactivity, and function. Many of our groups involved in Materials Chemistry research at the University of Minnesota collaborate with other research groups, both in chemistry and in departments like Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Water Resources Sciences, Geology, and more.
Materials Chemistry at the University of Minnesota
is an interdisciplinary specialty area that focuses on potential applications and fundamental properties of materials. Research in this specialty area includes a broad range of topics, such as novel organic and inorganic materials synthesis, properties and reactivity of natural and synthetic nanoparticles, hierarchically structured materials, state-of-the-art materials characterization, nanoscience and nanotechnology, and contemporary computational chemistry.
World-class Characterization Facilities
The Characterization Facility provides several state-of-the-art techniques, including scanning probe microscopy, transmission and scanning electron microscopies, small-angle X-ray scattering, powder X-ray diffraction, ellipsometry, ion beam analysis, rheology, and thermal analysis. The facility is operated as a user facility, which means students learn the theory and operation of instrumentation and are able to apply it to their own research. In fact, many materials chemistry students quickly become expert in a variety of characterization techniques through hands-on training and use throughout the course of their graduate student career.
The Nanofabrication facility is an interdisciplinary facility for both academic an industrial research. Its mission is to support education, research, and industrial collaboration in microelectronics and nanofabrication.
The Surface Analysis Center is a multi-user facility that houses instrumentation that can quantify accessible surface area and pore volumes in inorganic and organic materials.
Programs enable students to participate in collaborative programs between faculty members in our department or other departments, such as Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Biochemistry, and Physics. Two major programs funded by the National Science Foundation foster these collaborations and many other research opportunities: a Materials Research in Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and an Integrated Graduate Education and Research Trainee Program (IGERT) for Nanoparticle Science. In addition, many Materials Chemistry faculty and students interact with industrial partners through participation in the Industrial Partnership for Research in Interfacial and Materials Engineering (IPRIME).