A central limitation in the performance of traditional materials used in the medical device, biotechnological, and pharmaceutical industries is the lack of the ability to integrate with biological systems through a molecular or cellular pathway, which can lead to unfavorable outcomes and device failure. The design and synthesis of materials that circumvent their passive behavior in complex mammalian cells is the focus of the work conducted within the MSE Department at Berkeley.
Specific examples include the design and synthesis of biomimetic materials that actively direct the behavior of mammalian cells to facilitate the regeneration of tissues and organs. Major discoveries from this laboratory have centered on the control of cell behavior and tissue formation in contact with surfaces either modified with peptides or spatially distributed chemistry to induce cell differentiation. An additional theme in the laboratory is the synthesis of biomimetic hydrogel analogs of the extracellular matrix.
CHEMICAL AND ELECTROCHEMICAL MATERIALS
This area includes both the chemical and electrochemical processing of materials and the chemical and electrochemical behavior of materials. The former includes the scientific and engineering principles utilized in mineral processing, smelting, leaching, and refining materials, and along with numerous etching and deposition techniques. The latter includes the environmental degradation of materials, the compatibility of materials with specific environments, along with materials used in advanced energy storage devices.
Computational methods are becoming increasingly important in all areas of science and engineering. Materials Science and Engineering applications range from the theoretical prediction of the electronic and structural properties of materials to chemical kinetics and equilibria, or modeling the chemical kinetics and equilibria in a materials processing operation.
Recent advances in computational techniques offer truly remarkable insight into materials behaviors, particularly at the nanoscale. Under favorable circumstances, it is now possible to predict in exquisite detail the structural properties of materials at the nanoscale (one nanometer = 1 billionth of a meter) by merely solving Schrodinger’s famous equation. For example, we can predict the positions of atoms within defects to better than 0.01 nanometers.
ELECTRONIC, MAGNETIC AND OPTICAL MATERIALS
This group of materials is defined by its functionality. Semiconductors, metals, and
ceramics are used today to form highly complex systems, such as integrated electronic circuits, optoelectronic devices, and magnetic and optical mass storage media. In intimate contact, the various materials, with precisely controlled properties, perform numerous functions, including the acquisition, processing, transmission, storage, and display of information. Electronic, Magnetic and Optical materials research combines the fundamental principles of solid state physics and chemistry, of electronic and chemical engineering, and of materials science.
Nanoscale science and engineering is of increasing importance in this field. For example, researchers at Berkeley have used a remarkable growth technique known as Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) to grow novel ceramic nanocomposites. In PLD, a target is vaporized by an intense laser beam, and the vapor condenses on a selected substrate.
This area focuses on the relationships between the chemical and physical structure of materials and their properties and performance. Regardless of the material class metallic, ceramic, polymeric or composite, an understanding of the structure-property relationships provides a scientific basis for developing engineering materials for advanced applications. Fundamental and applied research in this field responds to an ever-increasing demand for improved or better-characterized materials.
Department offices are located in 210 Hearst Memorial Mining Building, in the Northeast corner of campus.
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
210 Hearst Memorial Mining Building
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-1760
Phone: (510) 642-3801
Fax: (510) 643-5792