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Materials Research Laboratory

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MRSEC: Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at UCSB  (University of California-Santa Barbara)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Materials Research Laboratory (MRL) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, 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 MRL fills a critical role in promoting the study of materials with chemical and structural complexity. Through cutting edge research in which self-assembly and multiple-length scales play important roles for both inorganic and organic materials, the MRL has developed an international reputation as a center of excellence. The MRL pursues four interdisciplinary research projects that investigate functional soft materials with interesting properties, semiconductors, soft cellular materials, and nanostructured composites. In addition to its main research program, the MRL conducts a seed research program that defines new research directions for the center and funds high-risk projects.

Education & Outreach

MRL scientists and education staff are dedicated to improving access to science for diverse groups and to building a competent work force of scientists and engineers. The Center's education programs provide undergraduate research opportunities, graduate student training, and outreach to K-12 students and teachers and the broader community. Current MRL programs include Science Matters, a quarterly newsletter highlighting MRL work; UCSB ScienceLine, MRL’s “Ask-a-Scientist” project that links UCSB researchers with K-12 schools and the community; Meet a Scientist, where students interview scientists on camera; and the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program that brings secondary school teachers to participate in laboratory research that eventually becomes a curriculum resource.

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