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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): project title coming soon
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:

Koustav Ganguly: Graduate Student — Jalan, Leighton
Nazila Haratipour: Graduate Student — Koester
Tao He: Postdoctoral Researcher — Frisbie, Leighton
Jeong Seok Jeong: Assistant Professor — Leighton
Yangmu Li: Graduate Student — Greven
Rui Ma: Graduate Student — Koester
Xinglong Ren: Graduate Student — Frisbie
Matthew Robbins: Graduate Student — Koester
Ezra Day-Roberts: Graduate Student — Fernandes
Elliot Schmidt: Graduate Student — Frisbie
Joseph Sobek: Graduate Student — Goldman
Jeff Walter: Graduate Student — Frisbie, Leighton
Helin Wang: Graduate Student — Frisbie, 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:

Brian Benton: Graduate Student — Campbell
Xiaoshuang Chen: Graduate Student — Hogan
Benjamin Greenberg: Graduate Student — Aydil, Kortshagen
Jacob Held: Graduate Student — Mkhoyan
Katherine Hunter: Graduate Student — Kortshagen
Jasmine Johnson: Graduate Student — Kortshagen
Chenxi Li: Graduate Student — Hogan
Sunipa Pramanik: Graduate Student — Haynes
Konstantin Reich: Postdoctoral Researcher — Shlovskii
Zachary Robinson: Graduate Student — Kortshagen
Nancy Trejo: Graduate Student — Aydil
Whitney Wenger (+ IRG-3): Graduate Student — Aydil (IRG-2), Bates (IRG-3)
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:

William Boyle: Graduate Student — Reineke
Qile Chen: Graduate Student — Lodge, Siepmann
Yaming Jiang: Graduate Student — Lodge, Reineke
Seyoung Jung: Graduate Student — Lodge, Reineke
Michael McGovern: Postdoctoral Researcher — Dorfman, Morse
Athena Metaxas: Graduate Student — Dutcher
Sveta Morozova: Postdoctoral Researcher — Lodge
Leo Oquendo: Postdoctoral Researcher — Hillmyer
Peter Schmidt: Graduate Student — Bates, Lodge
Kimberly Struk: Graduate Student — Siepmann
Whitney Wenger (+IRG-2): Graduate Student — Bates (IRG-3), Aydil (IRG-2)
Nikolas Wilkinson: Graduate Student — Dutcher
Mridul Yadav: Graduate Student — Bates, Morse
Jukuan Zheng: Postdoctoral Researcher — Reineke

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Seed Projects: Foster Innovation and Promote MRSEC Growth

The Center operates an aggressive 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 (iSuperSeed) (CEMS):
Lead-Free Perovskites for Sustainable, High Efficiency Photovoltaics — description

Xiang Cheng (CEMS):
Using confocal microscopy to study the dynamics and rheology of supercooled colloidal liquids under confinement — description

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

Michael McAlpine (ME):
Three-Dimensionally Printed Silicon Nanocrystal Light-Emitting Diodes — description

Vlad S. Pribiag (PHYS), Bharat Jalan (CEMS):
Towards Mesoscopic Transport at Oxide Interfaces — description

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

seed project archive

Seed researchers:

Yilikal Ayino: Graduate Student — Pribiag
Catherine Clark: Graduate Student — Holmes
Daniel Cremons: Graduate Student — Flannigan
Dana Dement: Graduate Student — Ferry
Prabesh Dulal: Graduate Student — Stadler
Thomas Gage: Graduate Student — Stadler
Ryan Gnabasik: Graduate Student — Flannigan
Kaveh Khaliji: Graduate Student — Low
Yi Peng: Postdoctoral Researcher — Cheng
Hung Pham: Graduate Student — Gagliardi
Dayne Plemmons: Graduate Student — Flannigan
Matthew Quan: Graduate Student — Ferry
Debmayla Ray: Graduate Student — Gagliardi
Spencer Reisbick: Graduate Student — Flannigan
Karl Schliep: Graduate Student — Flannigan
Kamal Sharkas: Postdoctoral Researcher — Gagliardi
Ian Slauch: Graduate Student — Ferry
Ruitao Su: Graduate Student — McAlpine
Yuhang Sun: Graduate Student — Swisher
Tianqi Wang: Graduate Student — Jalan
Xuewang Wu: Graduate Student — Wang
Youngdong Yoo: Postdoctoral Researcher — Johns
Tao Zhang: Graduate Student — Holmes

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The University is funded through the National Science Foundation MRSEC Program, Award DMR-1420013

Contact Information


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

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