Research Areas

There has never been a more exciting time to obtain a graduate degree in Materials Science and Engineering. Breakthroughs in materials research are creating new technological opportunities in sectors spanning aerospace, biomedical, chemical, electronics and energy. We provide graduate students unique opportunities for one-on-one interaction with faculty members at the forefront of their fields and synergistic transdisciplinary interactions with each other as they engage in ground-breaking research.


Development and synthesis of new materials, and processing including forming, joining and strengthening of materials and their interfaces, is fundamental to all materials disciplines. Research in this area at Rensselaer targets future techniques for advanced manufacturing that employ data-driven machine-learning methods to actively control microstructure and precisely target material properties.
Metallurgical research at Rensselaer spans development and processing of advanced alloys for structural and aerospace applications, to interconnects and contacts for electronic technologies. Advanced characterization techniques facilitate fundamental studies of degradation and corrosion mechanisms in a variety of materials including metal alloys, battery electrodes and ferroelectrics in harsh conditions.
The next generation of devices for computing, communication, sensing and energy conversion demand new materials with novel electronic properties, synthesized with high quality and control over defects. Electronic materials research at Rensselaer targets nanoscale interconnects, interfaces with designed electronic and thermal transport, new semiconductors, ferroelectrics, optical / plasmonic materials, and materials for future quantum and neuromorphic computing architectures.
Glassy materials are ubiquitous in electronic, structural and chemical technologies for their optical properties, hardness and chemical inertness, yet fundamental relations between structure, environmental effects and these properties remain unknown. Glass research at Rensselaer combines specialized synthesis conditions, characterization techniques and computation to elucidate atomic-scale structure-property relations, the effect of high pressure and surface stresses, and new glass compositions including mixed-alkali, non-oxide and metallic glasses.
Polymers provide tremendous flexibility in designing chemical and nano-scale structures to achieve unprecedented functionality for mechanical, chemical, opto-electronic and biological applications. Polymer research at Rensselaer expands the domain of polymer functionality further using nano-composites containing inorganic nanoparticles, biomimetic chemistry for antimicrobial properties and biofilm removal, and fluorophore functionalization for sub-wavelength imaging and lithography.
A cross-cutting strength of Rensselaer MSE, computational research here spans electronic structure, molecular dynamics, phase field and continuum simulations. This facilitates in silico prediction of mechanical properties, chemical processes, phase equilibria and transport phenomena, in materials of all classes, across scales ranging from atomic to macroscopic.
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