Industry News

NSF Funds Research for Development of Atomically Thin Coatings

Published on 2015-08-11. Author : SpecialChem

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The study and development of atomically thin coatings will be the focus of a one of a kind National Science Foundation funded university/industry center.

Led by Penn State, in collaboration with Rice University in Houston, the Industry/University Collaborative Research Center (I/UCRC) will design and develop advanced two-dimensional coatings engineered to solve fundamental scientific and technological challenges that include: corrosion, oxidation and abrasion, friction and wear, energy storage and harvesting, and the large-scale synthesis and deposition of novel multifunctional coatings.

Two-dimensional nanoscale coating materials have unique properties that can be exploited in glass and polymer manufacturing, automotive and electronics sectors, civil infrastructure, and marine antifouling and anticorrosion coatings. The Center for Atomically Thin Multifunctional Coatings (ATOMIC) will integrate world-class research faculty at Penn State and Rice with industrial partners and national laboratories.

Penn State
Fig. 1: Penn State

Leading the ATOMIC center for Penn State are Mauricio Terrones, professor of physics, professor of chemistry and professor of materials science and engineering, and Joshua Robinson, assistant professor of materials science and engineering and Corning Faculty Fellow. Jun Lou and Pulickel M. Ajayan, both professors of materials science and nanoengineering, are leading the ATOMIC center at Rice University.

"The focus of an I/UCRC is industry driven research, which is part of our new mission at Penn State," said Robinson. "Ten companies have committed to support us, and we are excited about establishing new partnerships with other companies interested in coatings."

Because this is such a new area of research there could be significant intellectual property that members will benefit from, he said.

"In the future, we expect to create spin-out companies from our center," said Terrones. "Coatings are everywhere. If we can solve the problem of corrosion, that will save society billions of dollars. If we can create multifunctional coatings that produce energy, that will be huge."

The NSF I/UCRC program is designed to grow U.S. innovation capacity by seed funding long-term partnerships among industry, universities, and the government. Members pool their funds to conduct pre-competitive research that solves fundamental problems that will advance the entire industry sector. The program builds relationships between companies and researchers, and provides students with real-world experience and future employment opportunities. NSF provides the organizational framework along with funding for center administration, in this case over $1 million over five years between the two sites. The member companies provide funding for the center research.

"My heartiest congratulations to Mauricio, Josh and their colleagues at Rice University," said Neil Sharkey, Penn State's vice president for research. "The Center for Atomically Thin Multifunctional Coatings is just the type of industry-university research partnership that we hope to accelerate here at Penn State. We are very proud to be hosting this new center and anticipate seeing highly innovative materials and coatings that will eventually hit the marketplace in any number of useful applications. The Center, surrounded by highly advanced instrumentation and expertise within Penn State's Materials Research Institute and bolstered by the creativity of its industrial partners, promises to be a wonderful resource for our students and faculty, and one with real potential to impact the economy of the commonwealth and the nation."

About Pennsylvania State University

The Pennsylvania State University (commonly referred to as Penn State or PSU) is a public, state-related research university with campuses and facilities throughout Pennsylvania. Founded in 1855, the university has a stated threefold mission of teaching, research, and public service. Its instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education offered through resident instruction and online delivery. Its University Park campus, the flagship campus, lies within the Borough of State College and College Township.

Source: Pennsylvania State University

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