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IRG-1: Electrostatic Control of Materials

The vision of IRG-1, Electrostatic Control of Materials, is to use a set of new techniques for electrostatic manipulation of charge carrier density at material surfaces as a universal platform to probe and control electronic properties in novel materials.

Recently developed methods based on ionic liquids, ionic gels, and solid electrolyte structures are being used to generate unprecedented charge densities in a variety of materials, up to significant fractions of an electron per unit cell, enabling dramatic property modification. Opportunities include reversible control of magnetic order and properties, fine-tuning of insulator-metal and superconducting transitions, novel electronic and opto-electronic device concepts, discovery of new electronic and magnetic phases, and determination of the limits of transport in new materials. The IRG is exploring three classes of materials of exceptional current interest as test cases: (i) organic conductors; (ii) metal chalcogenides; and (iii) complex oxides.


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The IRG-1 senior investigators and their primary areas of expertise are:

Chris Leighton (CEMS) Coordinator: Electronic and magnetic properties, thin film and crystal growth, neutron and x-ray scattering, transport
Turan Birol (CEMS): First principles electronic structure of correlated electron materials
Rafael Fernandes (PHYS): Modeling of magnetism and transport
C. Daniel Frisbie (CEMS): Organic electronics, electrolyte gating
Allen Goldman (PHYS): Superconductivity, low T transport, ionic liquid gating
Martin Greven (PHYS): Superconductivity, complex oxides, scattering
Bharat Jalan (CEMS): Complex oxide heterostructures, oxide MBE
Steven Koester (ECE): Electronic devices, low dimensional structures

IRG-1 Investigators

MRSEC IRG-1 Investigators

IRG-1 researchers:

Vipul Chaturvedi: Research Assistant — Leighton
Ezra Day-Roberts: Graduate Student — Fernandes
Koustav Ganguly: Graduate Student — Jalan, Leighton
Sajna Hameed: Graduate Student — Greven
Tao He: Postdoctoral Researcher — Frisbie, Leighton
Jong Seok Jeong (+ Seed Faculty): Assistant Professor — Leighton
Sandhaya Koirala: Postdoctoral Researcher — Koester
Arpita Paul: Postdoctoral Researcher — Birol
Xinglong Ren: Graduate Student — Frisbie
Elliot Schmidt: Graduate Student — Frisbie
Laxman Raju Thoutam: Postdoctoral Researcher — Jalan
Jeff Walter: Graduate Student — Frisbie, Leighton
Helin Wang: Graduate Student — Leighton
Boyi Yang: Graduate Student — Goldman
Biqiong Yu: Graduate Student — Greven
Guichuan Yu: Postdoctoral Researcher — Greven
Jin Yue: Graduate Student — Jalan

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IRG-2: Sustainable Nanocrystal Materials

The focus of IRG-2, Sustainable Nanocrystal Materials, is the design, synthesis, processing, and thin film properties of environmentally benign nanocrystal-based electronic and optoelectronic materials.

The field is currently constrained by the use of toxic (e.g., Pb, Cd) and/or scarce (e.g., In, Te) elements, with serious environmental, health, and economic concerns. IRG-2 will overcome these barriers by discovering and developing nanocrystal-based electronic thin films made from nontoxic, abundant and sustainable materials using scalable, low-temperature processes. The IRG's research will pursue three closely linked, vertically integrated thrusts: (i) nanocrystal synthesis and characterization; (ii) quantum dot films and devices; and (iii) microcrystalline films and devices. This research aims to reinvent the scope of active materials for NC-based electronics and optoelectronics, which will ultimately enable energy efficient emissive or photovoltaic devices with sustainable materials choices.


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The IRG-2 senior investigators and their primary areas of expertise are:

Uwe Kortshagen (ME) Coordinator: Nanocrystal synthesis, functionalization and doping
Eray Aydil (CEMS): Synthesis of colloidal dispersions; plasmas; materials characterization; device fabrication
Stephen Campbell (ECE): Device fabrication and characterization; ALD
Lorraine Francis (CEMS): Coating science and technology; mechanical properties
Christy Haynes (CHEM): Nanoparticle environmental and health impact
Chris Hogan (ME): Aerosol technology; flame synthesis of nanocrystals
Andre Mkhoyan (CEMS): Electron microscopy and spectroscopy
Boris Shklovskii (PHYS): Charge transport physics and theory
Xiaojia Wang (ME): Structure-Thermal Property Correlation of Complex Oxide Thin Films and Heterostructures

IRG-2 Investigators

MRSEC IRG-2 Investigators

IRG-2 researchers:

Chad Beaudette: Graduate Student — Kortshagen
Brian Benton: Graduate Student — Campbell
Xiaoshuang Chen: Graduate Student — Hogan
Benjamin Greenberg: Graduate Student — Aydil, Kortshagen
Jacob Held: Graduate Student — Mkhoyan
Katharine Hunter: Graduate Student — Kortshagen
Sunipa Pramanik: Graduate Student — Haynes
Yunxiang Qin: Graduate Student — Kortshagen
Zachary Robinson: Graduate Student — Kortshagen
Michael Sammon: Graduate Student — Shklovskii
Nancy Trejo: Graduate Student — Aydil
Whitney Wenger: Graduate Student — Aydil
Ryan Wu: Graduate Student — Mkhoyan
Yan Wu: Graduate Student — Francis
Bo Zhi: Graduate Student — Haynes

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IRG-3: Hierarchical Multifunctional Macromolecular Materials

The vision of IRG-3, Hierarchical Multifunctional Macromolecular Materials, is to develop a multiple interaction approach to polymer materials design that enables multifunctional applications by decoupling the optimization of two or more desired attributes.

The IRG will explore this paradigm in three integrated thrusts that aim to: (i) control aqueous rheology and gelation with polymers containing cellulose ether blocks; (ii) control the structure and properties of block-polymer-based "amphiplexes", assemblies of polyanions with cationic copolymer micelles; and (iii) design and prepare novel multiblock polymers featuring independent control of ordered-state symmetries and mechanical properties. Intellectual advances by the IRG will impact a wide range of societally important technologies, including batteries, composites, food, fuel cells, lithography, oil and gas recovery, personal care, pharmaceutical formulations, textiles, water purification and treatment.


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The IRG-3 senior investigators and their primary areas of expertise are:

Theresa Reineke (CHEM) Coordinator: Polymer synthesis, assembly, and characterization
Frank Bates (CEMS): Polymer synthesis, structure and properties, scattering
Kevin Dorfman (CEMS): Polymer simulations and nanofluidics
Cari Dutcher (ME): Rheology, colloids, polyelectrolytes
Marc Hillmyer (CHEM): Block polymer synthesis and self-assembly
Timothy Lodge (CEMS/CHEM): Self-assembly of polymer solutions and melts
David Morse (CEMS): Polymer theory and simulation
Ilja Siepmann (CHEM): Molecular simulation, force field development

IRG-3 Investigators

MRSEC IRG-3 Investigators

IRG-3 researchers:

Leonel Barreda: Postdoctoral Researcher — Hillmyer
Qile Chen: Graduate Student — Lodge, Siepmann
McKenzie Coughlin: Graduate Student — Bates, Lodge
Mitra Ganewatta: Postdoctoral Researcher — Reineke
Yaming Jiang: Graduate Student — Lodge, Reineke
Athena Metaxas: Graduate Student — Dutcher
Sveta Morozova: Postdoctoral Researcher — Lodge
Peter Schmidt: Graduate Student — Bates, Lodge
Vaidyanthan Sethuraman: Postdoctoral Researcher — Dorfman
Zhe Tan: Graduate Student — Reineke
Nikolas Wilkinson: Graduate Student — Dutcher
Mridul Yadav: Graduate Student — Bates, Morse

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Seed Projects: Foster Innovation and Promote MRSEC Growth

The Center operates an ambitious Seed program designed to foster innovation and promote Center growth and evolution.

Awards are made to individual faculty members or small clusters in support of high risk projects or research in emerging areas.

The current seed investigators and projects are:

Eray Aydil (CEMS), Laura Gagliardi (CHEM), Russell Holmes (CEMS):
Lead-Free Perovskites for Sustainable, High Efficiency Photovoltaics — description

Jeong-Hyun Cho (ECE):
Realization of Volumetric Light Confinement in 2D Materials — description

Vivian Ferry (CEMS), David Flannigan (CEMS):
Controlling Acousto-Plasmonic Modes in Complex Nanostructures — description

Jong Seok Jeong (CEMS):
Measuring Phonon Transfer Across the Interfaces Between Two Crystals at the Atomic Scale and Estabilishing Such Capacity — description

Sungyon Lee (ME):
Seed of Opportunity: Probing the Intersection of Fluid and Solid with Suspension — description coming soon!

Tony Low (ECE), Sang-Hyun Oh (ECE):
Novel Light Matter Interactions in Black Phosphorus: An Emerging Anisotropic Layered Material for Optoelectronics and Metamaterials — description

Mahesh Mahanthappa (CEMS), Christopher Ellison (CEMS):
Influence of Molecular Architecture on the Transport Properties of New Lithium Single-Ion Conducting Polymers — description

Vlad S. Pribiag (PHYS), Bharat Jalan (CEMS):
Scattering, Superconductivity and Magnetism in MBE-Grown Complex Oxide Thin Films — description

Sarah Swisher (ECE):
Seed of Opportunity: Flexible Electronics — description

Xiaojia Wang (ME), Bharat Jalan (CEMS):
Structure-Thermal Property Correlation of Complex Oxide Thin Films and Heterostructures — description

seed project archive

Seed researchers:

Kriti Agarwal: Graduate Student — Cho
Yilikal Ayino: Graduate Student — Pribiag
Sudipta Biswas: Graduate Student — Low
Chunhui Dai: Graduate Student — Cho
Beth Dewing: Graduate Student — Ellison and Mahanthappa
Ryan Gnabasik: Graduate Student — Flannigan
Dustin Lattery: Graduate Student — Wang
Hung Pham: Graduate Student — Gagliardi
Davide Presti: Postdoctoral Researcher — Gagliardi
Matthew Quan: Graduate Student — Ferry
Debmayla Ray: Graduate Student — Gagliardi
Ian Slauch: Graduate Student — Ferry
Yuhang Sun: Graduate Student — Swisher
Adam Weidling: Graduate Student — Swisher
Daehan Yoo: Postdoctoral Researcher — Oh
Hwanhui Yun: Graduate Student — Jeong
Tao Zhang: Graduate Student — Holmes

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Funded by the National Science Foundation through the University of Minnesota MRSEC under Award Number DMR-1420013

Contact Information


435 Amundson Hall, 421 Washington Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55455

P: 612-626-0713 | F: 612-626-7805