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Center for Materials for Information Technology

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Materials Research Science and Engineering Center  (University of Alabama Tuscaloosa)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Center for Materials for Information Technology (MINT Center) is a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) at the University of Alabama funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). MRSECs support interdisciplinary materials research and education of the highest quality while addressing fundamental problems in science and engineering that are important to society.

The MINT Center addresses the physical limits that threaten to slow the rate of increase in storage densities via two interdisciplinary research group projects and one seed project. The Center's research projects focus on nanostructured magnetic materials and materials for information storage media. The seed project, designed to demonstrate the feasibility of a new concept, involves ultra-high density magnetic recording media.

Education & Outreach

The MINT Center sponsors several programs that provide opportunities for students to get a head start on a career in materials science. The Center's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) offers undergraduates the chance to participate in materials research projects for ten weeks during the summer. Students receive a specific research project assignment, and work closely with faculty, post doctorates, and graduate students. The Center also brings middle school teachers to campus to participate in a Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program with the objective to get materials science topics into middle school curricula. Teachers spend approximately eight weeks working MINT Center staff to enhance the science education in their classrooms.

Opportunities are available to less experienced learners as well. High school sophomores and juniors can apply for a summer research internship in nanoscience and engineering at the MINT Center. The students do basic research with the aid of MINT Center staff. For middle school students, the Center has developed computer games, available on the internet, that teach biology, earth sciences and physical sciences. The Center has also developed an inquiry-based learning activity focused on the use of detergents as soft templates for micro and nanostructures. MINT Center experts are even willing to visit Tuscaloosa are schools personally to assist science teachers or lead their own activities.

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  • Image from an NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC).
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