Thrust Areas

Nanomaterials

The multidisciplinary Nanomaterials Thrust is focused on the study of matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers. Unique phenomena occur in these size scales that can be exploited in novel applications. Nanomaterials are currently used in a wide array of applications including in bumpers on cars, paints, and coatings to protect against corrosion, protective and glare-reducing coatings for eyeglasses and cars, metal-cutting tools, sunscreens and cosmetics, tennis balls, tennis racquets, stain-free clothing, burn and wound dressings, inks, and automotive catalytic converters. In the future it is anticipated that nanomaterials will allow major advances in high energy density rechargeable batteries, improved low-cost solar cells, commercially viable fuel cells, more energy efficient catalysts, high-strength structural materials for aerospace applications, faster and more efficient semiconductor electronics, and improved methods for treating diseases by targeting diseased tissue.

Nanotechnology is a major thrust at UT Austin with over 100 faculty involved. The Texas Materials Institute and the Center for Nano- and Molecular Science and Technology provide critical infrastructure and modern equipment for conducting interdisciplinary nanomaterials research. The Nanomaterials Thrust within the Graduate Program in Materials Science and Engineering offers a powerful opportunity for multidisciplinary research by fostering collaborations across eight academic departments ranging from chemistry to mechanical engineering. Doctoral students in MS&E participate in the Center’s Graduate Portfolio Program in Nanotechnology to further enhance their educational opportunities.

MS&E students who select the Nanomaterials Thrust will take a sequence of courses from basic to advanced designed to educate them in the fundamentals of materials science as well as critical skills in processing, characterization and applications of nanomaterials.

More information on Graduate Program faculty research in Nanomaterials

Clean Energy Materials

Rapid depletion of fossil fuels and growing environmental concerns make energy one of the greatest challenges facing humankind in the 21st century. The Clean Energy Materials Thrust is focused on the design and development of high-performance materials for alternative energy technologies and developing a fundamental understanding of their structure-property-performance relationships. The thrust includes materials for fuel cells, lithium-ion batteries, supercapacitors, photovoltaics, solar energy conversion, thermoelectrics, and hydrogen production and storage. The research activities include materials design, chemical synthesis, nanomaterials, advanced materials characterization, prototype energy storage/conversion device fabrication and evaluation, and computational modeling of materials and processes. Some of the researchers in this thrust are also affiliated with UT Austin’s Electrochemical Energy Laboratory.

MS&E students who select the Clean Energy Materials Thrust will take a sequence of courses to develop skills and knowledge in the areas of materials design, chemical synthesis, processing, characterization, device fabrication, and performance evaluation.

More information on Graduate Program faculty research in Clean Energy Materials

General Materials

Faculty and students pursue a wide range of active research topics within the MS&E program. Examples of some of these topic areas include: design, synthesis, characterization and processing, and manufacturing of new or improved metallic, polymeric, ceramic and composite materials for structural, microelectronic, biological, magnetic, dielectric and optical applications. This thrust area is designed to educate students in a broad range of topics and prepare them for research in these areas.

To ensure that students are prepared for Materials Science and Engineering courses, we require that students complete deficiency and core courses prior to taking advanced level courses.

More information on Graduate Program faculty research in General Materials