Materials research at Georgia Tech is comprehensive, addressing the major technologies that can improve our lives in the next century and beyond. It ranges from advances in polymers and macromolecules, to nanostructures and materials for engineered devices, to materials and interfaces for catalysis and separations, to functional electrodes for batteries and fuel cells, to functional photonic and electronic materials, to advanced structural materials, to name a few.
Remote and Real-time Measurements
Faisal Alamgir is leading a team effort to transform campus materials characterization facilities on two fronts: turning passive experiments into in-situ/operando ones by designing alternate sample environments that change samples in real-time and transforming the type of characterization methods available at GT by leading efforts to bring in fundamentally new types of measurement capabilities to campus.
Materials for Energy Storage
Investment in battery research and technology is rapidly growing, and Georgia Tech’s strong energy storage research community is well positioned to make an impact in the development of next-generation energy storage devices. Initiative lead Matthew McDowell foresees that IMat and the Strategic Energy Institute (SEI) could both play important roles in enabling the formation of an energy storage initiative that will bring the community together and provide improved external advertisement of Georgia Tech’s capabilities for energy storage research.
Materials for Future Electronics
Asif Khan and his team are working to leverage the unique strengths of Georgia Tech in the broad area of electronic materials to create strategic initiatives in terms of team building and connecting to other players and government agencies. These efforts will prepare Georgia Tech to take a leadership role in the large funding opportunities available in electronic materials as part of the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America and Foundries Act (or CHIPS for America Act) to strengthen the country’s semiconductor capacity.
Polymer Electronics and Photonics
Natalie Stingelin is working with MSE’s SoftBio Topical Working Group, Georgia Tech’s Polymer Network, the Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics, and the Renewable Bioproducts Institute to create a unique materials research environment that is capable to work across traditional material classes and raise the recognition of the materials innovations at Georgia Tech to the international stage. Organic electronics and photonics technology platforms can be expected to have a great societal impact because they promise to open new pathways and opportunities, which include reshaping product development and manufacturing, including flexible, rollable electronics targeted, e.g., for health-care applications, large-area energy harvesting, heat management structures for the building environment towards increased climate resilience.
Circularity of Biopolymers
Kyriaki Kalaitzidou is leading a team that focuses on materials upcycling. She believes that the circularity of materials is an area where Georgia Tech faculty from across units can have a tremendous impact both in terms of fundamentals, such as the design of new polymers for recyclability, and applied research, such as scalable processes for sorting and re(up)cycling of end-of-life plastics, composites, and other materials. Additionally, this strategic theme allows great opportunities for technological innovations that provide positive societal, economic, and environmental impacts.
Circularity in Civil Infrastructure Materials and Systems
Russell Gentry is working to expand IMat’s focus by including the rather mature material systems of civil infrastructure within IMat’s scope and to expand its scope from the material scale to the system scale. The focus will be on material life cycles with a specific emphasis on re-use and re-cycling of materials and ultimately on circularity in civil infrastructure material systems. This domain complements and builds on the existing initiative led by Kyriaki Kalaitzidou on the circularity of biopolymers and on work ongoing in the Renewable Bioproduct Institute.
Materials and Interfaces for Catalysis and Separations
To mitigate issues related to climate change, there is a societal push to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Thermal separations and catalysis are the primary sources of carbon emissions in industry today. Thus, there is a growing research focus on developing next-generation materials for net-zero catalysis and separation processes. Marta Hatzell is working to bring faculty together who are working on materials-related issues aimed at decarbonizing industrial separations and catalysis, identifying the bottlenecks for new materials, and assessing their long-term impacts.
Materials for Quantum Science and Technology
Chandra Raman envisions the development of “World-Ready” quantum systems, including room temperature quantum information processing and hybrid platforms combining quantum systems with MEMS and integrated photonics. Raman will seek to connect the vast photonics and MEMS expertise at Georgia Tech with other researchers in the materials domain, both at Georgia Tech and GTRI, to explore novel science and engineering approaches to address the challenges of growing quantum information systems to industrial scale.
Quantum Responses of Topological and Magnetic Matter
The goals of this initiative are two-fold. First, anchor, develop and promote the community of researchers working on the fundamental magnetic properties of quantum materials. Second, connect these researchers to application-centric initiatives led by other science or engineering colleagues across Georgia Tech. Zhigang Jiang is leading a team to focus on fundamental research progress in topological and magnetic matter and to communicate their importance, relevance, and significance to Georgia Tech’s research audience. In addition, this initiative aims to leverage fundamental discoveries in quantum materials and explore how these can be translated in their own right into quantum systems with new functionalities for spintronics, qubits, and electronic devices.
Materials in Extreme Environments
Richard W. Neu will engage and build an interdisciplinary research community to address the complex issues associated with new materials in extreme environments. These environments include high temperature, high pressure, corrosive, wear/erosion, cyclic loading, high-rate impacts, and radiation. The materials are continuously evolving and deforming in these harsh environments, which presents a roadblock in advancing engineering systems due to the uncertainty in the performance of new materials or new process methods such as additive manufacturing. Managing this risk by predicting the uncertainties, both internal to the material (its structure feature) and external environment, is an important consideration that materials engineering must address.
Materials for Biomedical Systems
W. Hong Yeo plans to foster collaborations between faculty, researchers, and clinicians to advance research in biomaterials and biomedical systems. He believes collaborative research environments between materials science/engineering and medicine will result in fundamental breakthroughs in bioinspired materials, human-centered designs, and integrated biomedical systems, which will significantly advance human healthcare. He also hopes to enhance human health via multidisciplinary materials research to tackle the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge to engineer better medicines in collaboration with both academic and industry partners.