MSE Briefs

Announcements and updates by the faculty and students of the UVA Department of Materials Science and Engineering


    MMI Retreat Brings New Collaboration

    May 02, 2019

    Faculty and students from departments across the engineering school gathered Friday, March 22 at the first annual Multifunctional Materials Integration (MMI) retreat. The nearly 40 participants are part of a cross-disciplinary initiative that embraces grand challenges in engineering and technology which cannot easily be solved by a small team or with experts in only one field.  The purpose of the retreat was to share ideas, build new collaborative teams, and identify goals for the following year.

    The retreat included updates about the Nanoscale Materials Characterization Facility (NMCF) and the University of Virginia Microfabrication Lab (UVML), learning about how to collaborate with the CRISP/MIST centers, as well as a student poster session.  The highlight, however, was exploring those grand challenges.  The group is exploring projects such as integrating photonics on a chip.

    “We were able to get discussion about the next goals started,” explained MMI Director and Materials Science and Engineering Professor Petra Reinke, who was pleased with the attendance and the excitement of the group.  “We’re already planning the next retreat in the summer to develop the ideas further.”

    UVML Director and Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Art Lichtenberger found the retreat valuable as well.  “[It] reinforced our sense of being part of an MMI community and fostered conversation on our longer term, big picture/impact research goals.”

    Thinking toward the future of MMI, Lichtenberger explained, “Being an experimentalist, I am particularly excited by the striking technical capabilities the MMI is realizing through the $10M Strategic Investment Fund grant.  Powerful equipment with new capabilities not only allows us to perform experiments we have been previously wanting to realize, but also energizes and enables us to think in new ways.”

    The MMI Initiative is one of a number of cross-disciplinary initiatives inspired by Dean Craig Benson when he arrived at UVA several years ago.  He observed that the Engineering School had many high-quality pockets of strength but lacked the size and distinctiveness to achieve world-wide recognition in a highly competitive landscape. Benson charged the faculty with finding ways to bridge these pockets and build a critical mass of scholars across SEAS that would enable world-class research in areas of opportunity.  MMI grew out of these early discussions.  Professor John Lach, UVA Engineering Director of Cross-Cutting Initiatives, explained the progress already being made by the presence of MMI. “Thanks to faculty from multiple departments working together to intellectually and operationally drive the initiative, the investment of faculty lines and research development support from the Engineering School, and the university’s investment in equipment and facilities, MMI is moving forward and positioning the school to become world-class leaders in this important area of research.”

    Lach continued by describing that initiatives like MMI are stitching pieces together from across the university.  “The retreat was another important step to building an interdisciplinary community and identifying future opportunities that our faculty can go after collaboratively.”

    The next MMI retreat is planned for summer 2019.


    New Film on NMCF

    May 02, 2019

    This new film on our Nanoscale Materials Characterization Facility was just created and shared at the Materials Research Society Spring Meeting in Phoenix - see it here!


    Katie Detwiler named DoD SMART Scholar

    April 17, 2019

    Katie Detwiler.jpg
    Katie Detwiler

    Katie Detwiler, a Materials Science & Engineering Ph.D. Student, is a 2019 recipient of the prestigious SMART Scholarship, a Department of Defense (DoD) initiative to develop and retain talented, innovative and brilliant scientists, engineers and researchers.  Katie, a member of the Beth Oplia’s group at UVA, is researching oxidation behavior of ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) for use in high-temperature jet engine applications.  She previously studied the effects of residual stresses on mechanical properties in CMCs for her Master’s Thesis, which she completed as a Pathways Intern at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB), near Dayton, Ohio.

    Now, as a SMART Scholar, Katie will continue to intern over the summers at AFRL for the remainder of her Ph.D. studies.  After her graduation, Katie will be brought on as a civilian employee at AFRL.  Wright-Patterson holds a special place in Katie’s life as her grandfather has worked there for close to 50 years. “I’ve interned at AFRL before and, in fact, it was what led me into materials science,” explained Katie. “I’m excited to support the Air Force’s mission to protect our country and it’s a great motivator to see real life applications of my research.” Congratulations, Katie!


    Sean Agnew selected as distinguished TMS Brimacombe Medalist

    April 16, 2019

    sean agnew

    At the spring TMS 2019 Annual Meeting & Exhibition, Sean Agnew was honored as a Brimacombe Medalist. The award recognizes individuals with sustained excellence and achievement related to materials science and engineering and with a record of service. Professor Agnew was specficially recognized for his "outstanding contributions to advancing the scientific understanding of deformation mechanisms and the associated mechanical response of magnesium-based and other metals".