The Northwestern University Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (NU-MRSEC) integrates materials research, education, and outreach through two interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs) and with external partners in academia, industry, national laboratories, and museums, both domestically and abroad:

IRG-1, Reconfigurable Responses in Mixed-Dimensional Heterojunctions, explores how heterojunctions consisting of nanoelectronic materials of differing dimensionality are influenced by dielectric screening, electronic band/level offsets, and interfacial regions. By utilizing low-dimensional materials synthesis, surface chemical functionalization, spatially and spectrally resolved characterization, and advanced computation, IRG-1 develops quantitative descriptions of the nonlinear responses in mixed-dimensional heterojunctions. Elucidation of the mechanisms governing structural changes, and the corresponding changes in optoelectronic properties, allows controllable reconfiguration in response to stimuli including electric fields, photons, heating, and reactive species with implications for neuromorphic computing. Learn more.

IRG-2, Functional Heteroanionic Materials via the Science of Synthesis, develops new heteroanionic materials with tunable electronic, ionic, thermal, and optical properties, which are otherwise inaccessible from simpler homoanionic structures and chemistries. Discovery of heteroanionic materials are facilitated by synthetic and characterization methods that provide a panoramic view of crystallization and diffusion processes in which emerging phases of interest are revealed and growth mechanisms are delineated. By emphasizing synthesis as the central science, the tools, protocols, and databases formulated in IRG-2 enable synthesis-on-demand of complex materials suggested by computational discovery. Learn more.

In addition to the IRGs, seed groups are supported by the MRSEC. Seed groups focus their research on new and emerging areas of interest, allowing the center to respond promptly to the latest scientific developments.