News & Announcements

Soft robots can bend, walk and grip, but unlike their rigid counterparts, they can deform and bounce back into shape. In their recent publication in the journal ACS: Applied Materials & Interfaces, graduate student Gregory Gossweiler and MRSEC investigator Stephen Craig report a new way to make an elastic material for soft robots that changes color when it stretches.

Newly discovered genetic sequences will allow unprecedented control over assembly of protein structures. In their recent publication in Nature Materials, Research Triangle MRSEC professor Ashutosh Chilkoti and graduate fellow Felipe Garcia Quiroz created test motifs to identify the amino acid sequences that determine phase behavior in proteins. They demonstrate that proteins can be designed to exhibit tunable phase transitions, allowing significant control over assembly and disassembly processes.

Oak Ridge National Labs (ORNL) and Duke University held a Joint Workshop in Neutron Science & Scattering on Friday, September 18, 2015 on Duke's main campus. George Truskey, Interim Dean of Engineering (Duke), and Alan Tennant, Chief Scientist, NScD (ORNL) welcomed approximately 55 faculty, students and staff from ORNL and the Triangle Universities. Larry Carin, Vice Provost for Research (Duke), also provided a lunchtime message. Discussions were valuable and will certainly foster new user proposals and collaborations between institutions. 

Congratulations to MRSEC faculty, Orlin Velev and Michael Rubenstein, as well as Post-Doc, Bhuvnesh Bharti, for having their publication highlighed on the homepage! READ MORE

Alexander Richter, student of RT-MRSEC faculty Orlin D. Velev (NCSU), and founder of MRSEC affilicated start-up, Benanova, was awarded the 2015 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for work to improve agricultural pest control that could strengthen the global food supply. The Lemelson-MIT Student Prize is a national competition and recognizes student innovation and entrepreneurship. Read More.

Approximately 250 students, parents and community guests filled Gross Hall for the NC Science Festival event, hosted by the Research Triangle MRSEC. The event, geared towards making science fun and engaging the next generation of scientific and engineering minds, was thanks to the successful coordination of staff, faculty and students from all areas of science: Materials, Biomedical & Mechanical Engineering, in addition to Chemistry & Physics.

The 7th Triangle Soft Matter Workshop will be held on Monday, May 11, 2015 at NC State's Hunt Library, Raleigh, NC


Creating large amounts of polymer nanofibers dispersed in liquid is a challenge that has vexed researchers for years. But engineers and researchers at North Carolina State University and one of its start-up companies have now reported a method that can produce unprecedented amounts of polymer nanofibers, which have potential applications in filtration, batteries and cell scaffolding.

Researchers have fine-tuned a technique for coating gold nanorods with silica shells, allowing engineers to create large quantities of the nanorods and giving them more control over the thickness of the shell. Gold nanorods are being investigated for use in a wide variety of biomedical applications, and this advance paves the way for more stable gold nanorods and for chemically functionalizing the surface of the shells.

In a recent study published in Soft Matter, Benjamin Yellen, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke University, and his colleagues, Josh Socolar and Patrick Charbonneau in Duke’s physics and chemistry departments, respectively, use a single layer of microscopic colloidal particles suspended in a thin liquid medium to watch phase transitions in action.