Through a six year, $13.6M grant, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Materials Research has established a multi-university center in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina to investigate aspects and applications of programmable assembly of soft matter. The Triangle MRSEC (http://www.mrsec.duke.edu) includes researchers at Duke University, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University and has two primary interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs) as well as seed projects. IRG1 is focused on multicomponent colloidal assembly and is developing fundamental understanding of self-assembly of bulk functional materials from multi-component colloidal suspensions. IRG2 is focused on the concept of syntax in the sequence of genetically encoded peptides with a deliberate goal of understanding programmable self-assembly of these peptides into supramolecular nano- to meso-scale structures. Both IRGs combine elements of synthesis, characterization, theory and simulation to develop fundamental understanding for creation of useful new types of soft matter via programmable assembly. Both IRGs also proactively engage in translating discoveries and innovations to the commercial sector. The Triangle MRSEC is a national resource for soft matter materials science / engineering research and education in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill (Research Triangle) area of North Carolina, a thriving technological and economic hub with a high concentration of materials innovation activity in both academia and industry.
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