News & Announcements

Nan Li and Wei-Chen (Ivy) Wu won Silver Graduate Student Awards @ the Fall Materials Research Science Meeting in Boston, MA! The Graduate Student Awards are intended to honor and encourage graduate students whose academic achievements and current matierials research display a high level of excellence and distinction. Both students study under Research Triangle Faculty members, Nan with Yara Yingling and Ivy with Joseph Tracy, both at North Carolina State University. Read More

Ms. Li also won the 2nd place Biomaterials Student Award at AIChE. This session will honor graduate students whose research achievements, in the broad area of biomaterials, demonstrate a high level of excellence. Read More


Jianfeng Zang, former MRSEC Fellow, was a Poster Award Winner at the Fall 2014 Materials Research Society meeting.

Dr. Zang studied under Professor Xuanhe Zhao, and just began a new position as a tenure-track professor at the Innovative Institute, Huazhong University of Science & Technology. Congratulations to Dr. Zhao and Dr. Zang!

Poster title: Self-Organizesd Origami of Large-Area Graphene and Graphene Papers Enables On-Demand Multifunctionalities. Dr. Zang, and Professor Xuanhe Zhao

ABSTRACT: Origami pattern, for example, Miura-ori pattern, is a periodic array of artificially and geometrically folded mountains and valleys. With the predefined creases of origami, one can fold flat sheets to create three-dimensional deformable structures. The origami-based patterns have inspired some fascinating applications, such as deployable solar panels, self-folding membranes, origami-inspired stents, Miura-ori folded metamaterials, and origami lithium-ion batteries. Patterns generated by conventional origami methods usually require predefined creases. In that way, the produced origami patterns are in macroscale. The requirement of predefined creases and macroscale size patterns greatly limited the flexibility, stretchability and controllability of this otherwise promising technology. Here, we present a novel approach that overcomes these limits, to control reversible crumpling and unfolding of large-area graphene or graphene papers by harnessing the mechanical instabilities using soft materials. We transfer a large-area graphene or graphene paper on an elastomer substrate that is either uniaxially or biaxially stretched to 3~5 times of its original dimension. Self-organized origami patterns, such as wrinkles, delaminated buckles, or localized ridges, develop in graphene or graphene papers when the substrate is simply relaxed uniaxially or biaxially. The origami patterns of graphene or graphene papers can be unfolded by stretching the substrate back. Graphene nanocomposites or surfaces of the graphene or graphene papers exhibit an unprecedented combination of merits including high stretchability (e.g., linear strain ~400%, areal strain ~1500%), reliability (e.g., over 1000 stretch/relax cycles), transparent and conductive electrodes, on-demand superhydrophobicity, supercapacitors (e.g., specific capacitance ~196 F g-1) and artificial muscle actuators (~100% areal strain). Our work not only reveals new modes of instabilities in graphene and graphene papers for studying fundamental properties of highly deformed and patterned graphene / grpahene papers in large-area, but also creates electrodes and coatings with unprecedented combined properties and tunability and provides a powerful tool for studying graphene-based nanocomposites and biomedical devices with changeable “on demand” functions.

Read more about the Fall 2014 MRS Meeting in Boston

Two faculty members from Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering have been named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI): Robert Calderbank, the Charles S. Sydnor Professor of Computer Science, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and director of the Information Initiative at Duke, and Ashutosh Chilkoti, professor and chair of the biomedical engineering department. Read More

Prof. Jan Genzer has been appointed as the new Co-Director of the Research Triangle MRSEC.

Prof. Carol Hall, the previous Co-Director at NC State University stepped down as of August 31, 2014 and we thank her for 4 years of dedicated service to our Center.

Dr. Genzer is the Celenese Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State and is internationally recognized for his research in the areas of polymer science and engineering and soft matter. He is author on more than 200 journal articles and book chapters in these areas. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and has served on the editorial boards of several journals including Macromolecules, Polymer, Annual Review of Materials Research, Macro Letters, Open Materials Science Journal and Macromolecular Chemistry & Physics, Macromolecular Theory and Simulations. Jan previously served as a co-Leader of our IRG2 on Self-Assembly of Stimuli-Responsive Polypeptides.

Dr. Michael Rubinstein (John P. Barker Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, University of North Carolina and currently Chair of the Editorial Board of Soft Matter), a highly accomplished and also world-renowned leader in the area of soft matter research, has taken Jan’s place as co-Leader of IRG2.

We look forward to working closely with both Jan and Michael, as well as the rest of our Center members, in this next critical phase of our Center’s first grant cycle.