Center for Materials Science and Engineering

The Center for Materials Science and Engineering (CMSE), one of a nationwide network of Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers funded by the National Science Foundation, fosters collaborative interdisciplinary research and education in the fundamental science of materials and in the engineering of materials for long-range applications.

CMSE supports collaborations among MIT faculty and students from different disciplines, as well as between MIT researchers and researchers of other universities, industry, and government and nonprofit laboratories, and encourages collaborative research through interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs), shared experimental facilities (SEFs), infrastructure enhancement, and outreach programs.

The IRGs are composed of teams of MIT faculty, students, and postdoctoral associates from different disciplines who investigate fundamental scientific questions and engineering problems. More than 25 faculty members, representing nine different departments, are engaged in CMSE research in the following areas:

  • Harnessing in-fiber fluid instabilities for scalable and universal multidimensional nanosphere design, manufacturing, and applications
  • Simple engineered biological motifs for complex hydrogel function
  • Nanoionics at the interface: charge, phonon, and spin transport

CMSE provides state-of-the-art instruments, maintained and supervised by trained staff, in its SEFs. This equipment is available to MIT investigators, including students, and researchers from other universities, industry, and research labs.

Facilities provide instrumentation to carry out electron microscopy; thermal, optical, and surface analysis; X-ray diffraction; neutron powder diffraction; X-ray scattering; and neutron scattering. They also provide technical training in the operation of these instruments to graduate and undergraduate students.

CMSE directly supports approximately 15 Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) students each year to participate in its research. Another 12 undergraduates from other universities spend the summer performing materials research on campus through the Summer Research Internship Program, jointly sponsored by CMSE and the Materials Processing Center.

The center does not offer a degree program or subjects for academic credit. Student registration is handled by academic departments.

Other education and outreach programs sponsored by CMSE include a science and engineering summer day camp for seventh- and eighth-grade students from two Cambridge public schools and a summer research program for a small number of junior high and high school science teachers.

For further information, contact the center's administrative office, Room 13-2106, 617-253-6850, fax 617-258-6478.