Research in Materials Science & Engineering

Researching innovations

UW-Madison’s materials science students and faculty conduct innovative research in subjects ranging from nanotubes to metals, from ab initio simulations to zeolite synthesis, from opto electronics to polymers to quantum computing, and welding to wear, surface, semiconductors, self-assembly, sustainability, scattering and diffraction. We get a lot done around here! We develop materials for higher density information storage; we study radiation effects; and we’re interested in the future of synthetic biology and the possibilities afforded by nanoscale engineering.

Materials science researchers at UW-Madison use many state-of-the-art laboratories across the College of Engineering campus and beyond, connecting our students and faculty to colleagues with a wide range of research interests. These specialized labs include cutting edge equipment for synthesizing new materials, fabricating new devices, characterizing the structure of materials and measuring their properties. Students have access to electron and atomic force microscopes, x-ray diffractometers, instruments for studying the mechanical, electrical and thermal properties of materials, instruments for measuring polymer rheology, crystal growth and purification and the structure and properties of surfaces.

Additionally, the Wisconsin Centers for Nanoscale Technology offers state-of-the-art general-purpose laboratories, materials preparation facilities, and commonly used apparatus such as electron microscopes and x-ray diffractometers.




Research Areas

Research Centers, Facilities and Initiatives

To promote interaction among faculty and students with materials interests, the engineering campus hosts many laboratories for research areas such as electron microscopy, crystallography, electronic materials, fatigue and fracture, nuclear materials, polymer science, powder metallurgy, radiation damage, rheology, crystal growth and purification, superconductivity, cryogenics, and surface properties.

Facilities and expertise required to design and fabricate special research equipment is available on the engineering campus. In addition to materials research laboratories in engineering and physical science departments, the Wisconsin Centers for Nanoscale Technology offers general-purpose laboratories, materials preparation facilities, and commonly used apparatus, such as electron microscopes and x-ray diffractometers.

Campus-wide facilities include computing centers, heavy ion and electron accelerators, and a nuclear reactor with facilities for neutron diffraction. Students and faculty use the Physical Sciences Laboratory. 

Check out what’s happening in the Advanced Materials Industrial Consortium, which gives our commercial partners the opportunity to collaborate with students and faculty in advanced materials research across the UW-Madison campus.