Engineering Ideas for Tomorrow -- College of Engineering 1997 Annual Report
Ideas: Across Boundaries
College of Engineering 1997 Annual Report -- Engineering Ideas for Tomorrow

New center targets next frontier of materials research

Electron microscope

A five-year $10.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation is enabling UW-Madison researchers to uncover the little-understood behavior of materials at their most basic level - nanostructures. More than 20 faculty and staff members from five campus departments, including materials science & engineering, chemical engineering, and electrical & computer engineering, are using the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center to chart the "next frontier" of materials science. Nanostructured materials have physical structures controlled at the near-atomic level when they are made, processed and studied. (A nanometer is about three to five atoms wide.) By "stacking" atoms like tiny bricks, scientists and engineers can build new structures at an incredibly small scale. This could lead to great advances in industry, especially in the production of semiconductors and high-temperature superconductors. Shown at left are MS&E Professor Thomas F. Kelly and graduate student Jodi Reeves with the Materials Science Center's new field emission scanning electron microscope (SEM) that is supported by the new MRSEC (36K JPG). The SEM has nanometer resolution--the highest resolution SEM of its kind. It is used in studies of everything from ceramics and plastics to superconducting films and nanocrystals.

Visualizing the future of research with 3-D immersive technology

3-D computer model of weather system

The college's Model Advanced Facility (MAF) is home to a new Immersadesk® visualization system. The Immersadesk® is a virtual reality environment using stereo display techniques and electromagnetic tracking of the viewer's head to provide a 3-D immersive display with the correct perspective. The new system will be used to explore applications of immersive virtual reality to problems in scientific and information visualization. It will also support research into collaborative virtual reality through the use of high-speed long distance network connections to enable remote groups to collaborate on large-scale modeling and other applications. Purchase of the Immersadesk® was made possible through deep discounts from the vendor, and funding from the college and UW-Madison Graduate School. Shown at right, MAF director Mike Redmond, foreground, and Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Professor John Anderson use the Immersadesk® to view a virtual reality model of a weather system moving over the U.S (38K JPG).


Copyright © 1997 University System Board of Regents

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1997 Annual Report Contents