New Research Groups (2020-2026)

The NSF has provided the Center with a new award of $18M over the next six years (2020-2026) to accelerate exploration of quantum technologies and biology-inspired materials. The development of topological quantum materials is crucial for catalyzing next-generation quantum technologies for sensing, computing, and communicating. The application of such technologies will have wide-ranging implications for national security, industrial competitiveness, and workforce development for decades to come. The Center’s research will also lay the foundations of the field of living material science by bridging materials science and biology or soft matter. Establishing this new field will lead to advances in biotechnology, as well as many other industries reliant on nanotechnology using polymers, gels, colloids, biofilms, and other soft materials.

IRG-A: Topological Quantum Matter

Investigators: N. Phuan Ong, co-leader (Physics), Robert Cava, co-leader (Chem), Leslie Schoop, co-leader (Chem), B. Andrei Bernevig (Physics), F. Duncan Haldane (Physics), Nicolas Regnault (École Normale Supérieure), Donna N. Sheng (Cal. State Univ. Northridge), Sanfeng Wu (Physics), Ali Yazdani (Physics)
The IRG-A team focuses on uncovering novel electronic effects in a wide range of new quantum materials, from spin liquid systems, to novel 2-D systems and their twisted stacks, and various superconducting and non-symmorphic materials. The team searches for and synthesizes new topological materials guided by the application of machine learning techniques combined with topological quantum chemistry -- taking on the NSF's Big Idea "The Quantum Leap." 

IRG-B: Harnessing Disordered Macromolecular Structures for Living and Soft Matter

Investigators: Howard Stone, co-leader (MAE), Rodney Priestley, co-leader (CBE), Bonnie Bassler (Mol-Bio), Clifford Brangwynne (CBE), Sujit Datta (CBE), Mikko Haataja (MAE), Andrej Košmrlj (MAE), Celeste Nelson (CBE), Athanassios Panagiotopoulos (CBE), Richard Register (CBE)
The IRG-B team is uncovering new insights into how cells use macromolecules to function, while also using these insights toward the design of new responsive materials systems with highly tunable properties. Their research is helping to lay the foundation for a new field of "living" materials science at the interface of biology, chemistry, engineering, and physics -- addressing the NSF's Big Idea "The Rules of Life."

Seed Program

The PCCM seed program provides flexibility in responding to emerging research directions and for pursuing high-risk/high-impact, transformative research. Intellectual merit is the overriding factor, but special consideration is given to pre-tenure faculty and newly hired faculty at all ranks. In the past decade, junior faculty have led more than two-thirds of the selected seeds.The PCCM seed program provides flexibility in responding to emerging research directions and for pursuing high-risk/high-impact, transformative research. Intellectual merit is the overriding factor, but special consideration is given to pre-tenure faculty and newly hired faculty at all ranks. In the past decade, junior faculty have led more than two-thirds of the selected seeds.

List of New Seeds

Education and Outreach

Training the next generation of world-class materials scientists, and sharing the excitement of their research with the broader community are fundamental pillars of the Center’s mission. The inclusion of underrepresented minorities, women, and persons with disabilities is a key priority embedded in all its research, education and outreach activities. Moreover, the Princeton MRSEC leverages its substantial institutional resources and facilities to encourage collaborations with the broader research community, including industrial partners who not only provide stakeholder insights, but also opportunities for workforce development beyond academia. Outreach activities are popular and meaningful opportunities to engage the general public, school teachers, and students of all ages, and spark their enthusiasm and appreciation for materials science in the world around them.

NSF Award #2011750 (2020-2026) details