NSF invests $72.5M to design revolutionary materials
A $72.5 million investment from the U.S. National Science Foundation will drive the design, discovery and development of advanced materials needed to address major societal challenges. The Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) program will fund 37 new four-year projects.
The DMREF program brings together a wide range of disciplines — including materials research, engineering, mathematics, computer science, chemistry and physics — to achieve outcomes not possible in isolation. DMREF projects also include industrial partnerships to facilitate technology translation and train the future U.S. workforce in materials development and deployment.
"By integrating numerous research disciplines across NSF as well as federal and industrial partnerships, this program truly revolutionizes the design, discovery and development of new materials for addressing urgent national needs," NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said. "Some of these have been used to formulate highly sensitive therapeutic proteins to mitigate the primary effects of spinal cord trauma, carbon dioxide capture to address climate change, and advanced quantum materials and semiconductors for powerful computation and communication needs, to name just a few."
The 2023 class of DMREF awards involves 161 researchers at 61 universities across 30 states, including the first DMREF awards to three minority-serving institutions: Florida International University, Tuskegee University and New Mexico Highlands University.
Since 2012, DMREF has been NSF's primary response to the federal Materials Genome Initiative, whose mission is to discover, develop and deploy new materials twice as fast as and at a fraction of the cost of traditional research methods. Currently, the DMREF program joins four NSF directorates and 10 divisions — as well as seven federal research partners such as the Air Force Research Laboratory and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) — to drive a culture shift that has led to a remarkable acceleration of materials research and development.
DMREF 2023 award recipients:
- High-throughput screening of electrolytes for the next generation of rechargeable batteries. Northern Illinois University, University of Michigan and University of Illinois Chicago.
- De novo proteins as junctions in polymer networks. University of Washington and Northwestern University.
- Accelerating the design of adhesives with nanoscale control of thermomechanical properties. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Purdue University and Air Force Research Laboratory.
- Iterative design and fabrication of hyperuniform-inspired materials for targeted mechanical and transport properties. North Carolina State University, UCLA and Johns Hopkins University.
- Accelerating the commercial readiness of organic semiconductor systems (ACROSS). University of Kentucky, Wake Forest University, Princeton University and NIST.
- Topologically designed and resilient ultrahigh temperature ceramics. The University of Alabama, University of California San Diego, Colorado State University, Plasma Processes, Ultramet, Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, and Solar Turbine, Inc.
- Deep learning guided twistronics for self-assembled quantum optoelectronics. University of Pennsylvania, Northeastern University and University of Wisconsin.
- Designing linked gel networks with tunable valence. The University of Texas at Austin, New York University and NIST.
- Data-driven prediction of hybrid organic-inorganic structures. University of Colorado Boulder, Duke University, New Mexico Highlands University, Air Force Research Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
- Organic materials architecture for researching vibronic excitations with light in the infrared (MARVEL-IR). Georgia Institute of Technology, City University of New York Advanced Science Research Center; Queens College, City University of New York; University of California San Diego; University of California, Riverside; Air Force Research Laboratory; and Brilliant Matters.
- Active learning-based material discovery for 3D printed solids with heterogeneous electrical and mechanical properties. Georgia Institute of Technology, Florida International University, Air Force Research Laboratory and NIST.
- Atomically precise catalyst design for selective bond activation. Virginia Tech, University of Delaware and University of Pennsylvania.
- Multi-material digital light processing of functional polymers. University of California, Santa Barbara and Iowa State University.
- GOALI: Multimodal design of revolutionary additive-enabled oxide dispersion strengthened superalloys. Ohio State University, University of Michigan, Air Force Research Laboratory and GE Research.
- Simulation-informed models for amorphous metal additive manufacturing. Johns Hopkins University, University of Wisconsin and Washington University.
- Closed-loop design of polymers with adaptive networks for extreme mechanics. Dartmouth College, Boston University, The University of Texas at Dallas, University of Chicago and University of California, Berkeley.
- Informed design of epitaxial organic electronics and photonics. Carnegie Mellon University, University of Michigan and Princeton University.
- Magneto-electro-optically coupled hybrid metamaterial thin film platform for photonic integrated circuits. Purdue University.
- DNA-nanocarbon hybrid materials for perception-based, analyte-agnostic sensing. Lehigh University, Sloan Kettering Institute and NIST.
- AI-enabled automated design of ultrastrong and ultraelastic metallic alloys. University of Michigan, Arizona State University and University of Nevado, Reno.
- Hybrid materials for superfluorescent quantum emitters. North Carolina State University, Duke University and University of North Carolina.
- Discovery of novel magnetic materials through pseudospin control. University of Wisconsin, West Virginia University and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.
- Data-driven discovery of the processing genome for heterogenous superalloy microstructures. University of Southern California; University of California, Irvine; University of California, Santa Barbara; and NIST.
- Accelerated discovery of sustainable bioplastics: automated, tunable, integrated design, processing and modeling. University of Washington; University of Vermont; Duke University; University of Colorado Boulder; NIST; 3M; Clean Production Action; Microsoft Research; and Blue Dot Sea Farms.
- Rational design of redox-responsive materials for critical element separations. University of Illinois and University of Minnesota.
- Discovery, development, design and additive manufacturing of multi-principal-element hexagonal-close-packed structural alloys. University of California, Berkeley.
- Developing and Harnessing the Platform of Quasi-One-Dimensional Topological Materials for Novel Functionalities and Devices. Ohio State University; The University of Texas at Dallas; University of California, Berkeley; Rice University; Air Force Research Laboratory; Lakeshore Cryotronics; and Halliburton.
- Computationally driven discovery and synthesis of 2D materials through selective etching. Auburn University, Tuskegee University, Missouri University of Science and Technology.
- Programmable design, synthesis and Forensics of Soft Materials. University of North Carolina and Carnegie Mellon University.
- Accelerated design, discovery and deployment of electronic phase transitions (ADEPT). University of Notre Dame; Northwestern University; Duke University; Georgia Institute of Technology; NIST; Samsung; Micron; and Intel.
- Establishing a molecular interaction framework to design and predict modern polymer semiconductor assembly. Georgia Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University and NIST.
- Synthetic machines from feedback-controlled active matter. University of California, Santa Barbara and Brandeis University.
- GOALI: Designing materials for next-generation spintronic devices. Purdue University; University of California, Irvine; University of Nebraska; University of Arizona; Air Force Research Laboratory; and IBM.
- Designing coherence and entanglement in perovskite quantum dot assemblies. Purdue University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Southern California.
- Design of fast energy storage pseudocapacitive materials. UCLA and Stanford University.