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Materials Chemistry


Since the dawn of time, materials have been central to all aspects of human life. This basic need for new materials transcends cultures and civilizations and has accelerated in modern times, giving way to both commodity and designer, high-performance materials of all types.

The UT chemistry faculty are at the forefront of modern materials work, investigating the basic building blocks of materials: atoms, molecules, crystals, and amorphous solids. Our research spans all major elements of materials science and includes new materials design and synthesis, composition/structure/properties work, and processing and device issues. In every case, the watchword is performance, as we push toward the dream of molecular-level control over materials.

Materials chemistry at UT is extraordinarily diverse, with rich, interdisciplinary opportunities in every research group. Studies of inorganic materials include functionalized sol-gels, ceramics, zeolites, layered magnetic oxides, nanotubes, and molecule-based magnets. Work also focuses on the environmental, sensor, electronic, and superconducting application of these materials. Novel approaches have also been developed to prepare, modify, and investigate organic materials. On-going efforts focus on fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, polymer blends, diamond films, organic molecular superconductors, and supramolecular assemblies. Our close collaborations with Oak Ridge National Laboratory enhance many of these on-campus efforts. For instance, neutron scattering facilities support the study of surfactant and micelle structure and dynamics, as well as surface science.

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