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The Australian National University
Centre for Science and Engineering of Materials
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Materials research


Materials research at ANU ranges from understanding the fundamental atomic and molecular building blocks of matter to the design, synthesis and characterisation of materials for technological application. The materials being studied are as diverse as silicate films grown from solution on surfactant templates, polymers and tough ceramics, electronic and novel non-linear optical materials, geo- and bio-materials and composites.

Together, these research activities represent a very distinctive brand of materials science and engineering, which is much broader than the expertise usually assembled in materials engineering or materials science departments. The outcomes are equally distinctive: ranging from mineral derivatives as environmentally friendly detergents, to improved and cheaper solar cells for photovoltaic energy conversion, and quantum devices for use in optical telecommunications.

ANU materials scientists and engineers are at the forefront of materials research in a wide range of areas. Below are just a small selection of examples of the work being done at ANU.
-For progress on current projects check out our newsletter Materials Monthly.
-For a easily printed two page summary of a small selection of exciting projects, see our fact sheet: A Materials World.

Biomaterials and Synthetic Composites
Genetically modifying the synthesis and properties of plant cell wall materials.
Developing advanced composite materials for applications in aerospace engineering.

Colloids and Polymers
Exploring the self-assembly of molecules into membranes and liquid crystals.
Using neutron and X-ray scattering to study the dynamics of adsorption of polymers.

Geomaterials
Determining the behaviour of geological materials at the microstructural level, under controlled lab conditions, and then applying such insights to the evolution of the Earth.

Crystalline Materials
Synthesising inorganic solids such as solid ionic conductors and tough ceramics.
Developing new silicate materials with novel ion exchange and nano-porous properties.

Optical, Electronic and Photovoltaic Materials
Designing, fabricating and characterising optical materials for use in telecommunications.
Advancing solar cell physics and studying ionic transport through biological membranes.