March 7, 2016

Cornell Leads Platform to Create New Interface Materials

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Cornell will lead the Platform for the Accelerated Realization, Analysis and Discovery of Interface Materials — an effort to empower scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to create new interface materials — following a $25 million grant from the National Science Foundation, according to a University press release Friday.

PARADIM will allow users to take advantage of Cornell facilities to design new interface materials — materials that do not exist in nature and possess unprecedented properties, according to Prof. Julie Nucci, materials science and engineering.

Nucci said the NSF “envisions a network of platforms” engaged in materials engineering research across the country, each with a different focus.

The novel aspect of PARADIM is “to be non-serendipitous, to be deliberate” in their approach to materials design, according to Prof. Darrell Schlom, materials science and engineering.

Schlom said Cornell has been a leader in the intentional design of new materials since the 1960s, and PARADIM intends “to accelerate the pace at which new materials are discovered.”

Schlom added that the University is an ideal base for one of the first two PARADIM locations.

“This program fits so ideally into what we’ve already been doing,” he said.

PARADIM also includes teaching and outreach components in addition to research. It plans to attract a larger community of users from around the country to embrace this model of materials development, according to Nucci.

“The point of the NSF funding is to introduce [our] process to many other researchers”, Nucci said.

PARADIM will also host summer schools, so users from around the country can learn about Cornell’s model of incorporating theory, synthesis and characterization into a multidisciplinary approach to materials science, according to Nucci.

Nucci added that the outreach aspect of is furthered by the fact that it is a national user facility, which means academics from all over the world can use the equipment in their research for free.

Schlom also said local businesses can pay to use the facilities to develop their own products.

“Not only do we want to be discovering new materials but we also want to be able to make use of these new materials,” Schlom said. “Opening up the platform and its experts to the national community will encourage innovation and serves as an opportunity to economically invigorate local community.”