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At MU Institute for Material Research, collaboration, creativity and research surge together. Where others may see problems, disease and inefficiencies, we see opportunities, potential and infinite possibilities. We teach, we learn, and we analyze — and we demand innovation, inclusion and integrity as we create smarter, safer, more efficient ways of living.


Programmable and Modulated Metamaterials for Wave Control

metamaterials illustrationA growing area of interest in particular is bidirectional wave control whereby waves incident in a given direction are steered in one way, say slowed down, and waves incoming in the opposite direction are steered in another way, accelerated for instance. Bidirectional wave control is made possible by the breaking of time reversal symmetry and brings us one step closer to the realization of revolutionary wave control devices such as elastic invisibility cloaks.

Soft Materials

Soft Materials and Electronic Devices

soft materials illustration

Our research interests center on designing new functional materials and novel micro/nanoscale structures, through the combined efforts in chemical synthesis, material manipulation, mechanical design, and advanced micro/nanomanufacturing, for the next-generation soft electronic and energy devices with unusual attributes.

Nano Materials

Advanced Nanostructures

nanostructures illustration

The Advanced Nanostructures Group at the University of Missouri, led by Professor Matt Maschmann, examines the manufacturing, characterization, and application of diverse structures originating from nanoscale material building blocks. The group explores the fundamental behavior of nanoscale material systems to enable performance metrics exceeding those available from conventional materials. Our research interests include the fundamental growth and assembly of nanomaterials, nanoscale mechanics, processing techniques, and application of nanoscale materials for diverse applications. The group is also keenly interested in energy-based applications, particularly those related to thermal transport.

Multifunctional Materials

Electronics behavior differently when they are confined in low dimensions (1D and 2D) compared with the 3D bulk counterparts. Studying the electronics in the nanoscale paves the new route of developing next-generation electronics for applications in bioelectronics, photodetectors, transparent touch screens, memories and so on. Motivated by these applications we have studied the interactions of DNA and graphene (J. Lin et al, Small, 2010, 6 (10), 1150-1155), demonstrated the potential applications of graphene for DNA biosensors (S. Guo, J. Lin et al., J.N.N. 2011 (6), 5258-5263). We have developed the transparent resistive switching memory based on SiOx and graphene (J. Yao*, J. Lin* et al., Nat. Commun., 2012, 3, 1101). This work has offered the possibility of providing the new functionality to the glass as it becomes the fundamental construction elements in modern buildings.


nano-sponges graphicHydrogen is widely considered an essential part of our energy future as a potential medium for energy storage (its combustion byproduct being merely water vapor), however due to the fact that hydrogen is a gas, the “grand challenge” is the development of a storage system capable of delivering acceptable driving ranges. The problem is that currently we lack a “goldilocks” material–a material that interacts with hydrogen “just right,” either the materials bind hydrogen too strongly (making it hard to remove it from the tank) or too weakly (making it hard to store it).

Microwave Absorption

microwave absorption graphicMicrowave absorption is very important in many civil and military applications, such as information security, wireless communications, and object detection. Microwave absorption occurs if there is an effective resonance between the incident microwave electromagnetic field and the dipole rotations or magnetic resonance in the materials.

X-Ray and Neutron Scattering

X-ray and neutron scattering graphicX-ray and neutron scattering have played a critical role in developing the present understanding of condensed matter physics by revealing the way that matter organizes itself both spatially and dynamically. Countless contributions include understanding the behavior of crystals, alloys, glasses, fluids, phase transitions, magnetism, superconductivity, and ferroelectricity, to name just a few. With the development of highly intense radiation sources, these probes are now able to investigate the surfaces and interfaces of condensed matter on the atomic scale. Paul Miceli’s current research utilizes surface-sensitive scattering techniques to investigate the physics of epitaxial and supported nanostructured materials as well as two-dimensional materials.


bioinformatics graphicCurrently, we are developing  bioinformatics algorithms and tools for protein structure and function prediction, 3D genomics, biological network modeling, and omics data analysis. We have active projects in protein structure and function prediction, 3D genome structure modeling, inference and simulation of biological networks and systems, protein interaction and docking, biological sequence alignments, transcriptomics (RNAseq data analysis), genomics, epigenomics, and proteomics. These projects are being funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Energy (DOE).

Luminescent Carbon Nanodots

luminescent carbon nano-dots graphicSimilar to its popular older cousins the fullerene, the carbon nano-tube, and graphene, the latest form of nanocarbon, the carbon nanodot, is inspiring intensive research efforts in its own right. These surface-passivated carbonaceous quantum dots, so-called C-dots,combine several favorable attributes of traditional semiconductor-based quantum dots (namely, size- and wavelength-dependent luminescence emission, resistance to photo bleaching, ease of bioconjugation) without incurring the burden of intrinsic toxicity or elemental scarcity and without the need for stringent, intricate, tedious, costly, or inefficient preparation steps. C-dots can be produced inexpensively and on a large scale (frequently using a one-step pathway and potentially from biomass waste-derived sources) by many approaches, ranging from simple candle burning to in situ dehydration reactions to laser ablation methods. In this Review, we summarize recent advances in the synthesis and characterization of C-dots. We also speculate on their future and discuss potential developments for their use in energy conversion/storage, bioimaging, drug delivery, sensors, diagnostics, and composites.

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