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Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter

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MRSEC: Materials Research Science and Engineering Center  (University of Pennsylvania)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM) is a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) 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 LRSM was created specifically to foster collaborative, interdisciplinary research at the University of Pennsylvania. The MRSEC provides core support for selected interdisciplinary research groups and seed projects to pursue a range of fundamental materials problems, involving collaborations with industry and national laboratories. In addition, the LRSM is developing new shared experimental facilities (SEFs) both in-house and at national laboratories. The LRSM is also helping to sustain SEFs that are vital tools for the local materials research community.

LRSM researchers are organized into five interdisciplinary research groups that research filamentous networks and structured gels; functional cylindrical assemblies; designed programmable membranes; DeNovo synthetic protein modules for light-capture and catalysis; and oxide-based hierarchical interfacial materials. Smaller groups of faculty are funded through 'seed' programs in which promising new areas of research are explored.

Education & Outreach

The LSRM sustains an array of education and human resources development programs, the impacts of which range from K-12 students and teachers to undergraduates and faculty at minority serving institutions. These efforts include Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and Research Experience for Teachers (RET) programs that bring participants to LSRM in order conduct their own summer research to enhance science education and bolster sciencen curricula. LRSM has also hosted workshops for teachers, summer courses for high school students, and the Partnership for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) with the University of Puerto Rico.

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