We are pleased to introduce this Special Issue of Advanced Materials, which showcases the exciting and innovative work being carried out at the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory (MRL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The MRL serves as the campus-wide home for collaborative research in condensed matter physics, materials science and engineering, chemistry, and related disciplines.
Since its inception in 1962, our primary mission has been to foster interdisciplinary research at the forefront of materials science. Towards this objective, the MRL brings together world-class faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers with a broad range of expertise and supports state of the art, shared facilities for materials fabrication, characterization, and computation. Our outstanding cadre of researchers and staff includes one Nobel Laureate, multiple members of the National Academy of Sciences and of Engineering, a MacArthur Fellow, and numerous society fellows and young investigator awardees.
MRL houses several multi-investigator research programs, including those that focus on quantum materials, complex oxides, soft materials, 3D assembly/nanofabrication, flexible electronics, photovoltaics, and solid-state lighting. Our research activities and facilities have greatly benefited from long-standing support by the United States Department of Energy/Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division. The MRL is a proud partner in two DOE Energy Frontier Research Centers as well as home to other interdisciplinary research programs supported by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and industry. The impact of our research activities is enhanced substantially through use of the MRL Central Facilities, which are widely recognized as amongst the premier midscale facilities in the nation (see back cover for more information).
In this Special Issue, we highlight our recent research accomplishments in three thematic areas: i) materials synthesis and assembly, ii) functional materials for energy harvesting, transport and storage, and iii) advanced techniques for materials characterization. We present a series of review articles, progress reports, research news, and communications based on our highly collaborative work. The research described herein ranges from novel colloidal assemblies to optical and electrical materials. In addition, a new approach for ultrafast imaging by inelastic X-ray scattering, characterization of interfacial structure in oxide superlattices, and in situ transmission electron microscopy of nanocrystalline metals are described.
In closing, we hope that you enjoy learning more about the MRL, our exciting research and its impact on the scientific community and society as a whole.