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Regional Collaboration:

Nanotechnology Institute

The Nanotechnology Institute (NTI) is the region’s first partnership created be a catalyst for nanotechnology development, commercialization and company formation. Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/ SEP), the University of Pennsylvania, and Drexel University created the NTI in 2000. The NTI facilitates the research, development and commercialization of nanotechnology’s real-world applications. By providing funding, intellectual property and commercialization assistance, the NTI expedites the rate at which revolutionary technologies are brought to market, changing our world and fueling our economy. Learn more.

Affiliated Centers & Institutes

For complete descriptions of our affiliated Engineering centers, see the summaries below.

Jump to: AESOP | LRSM | MURI | Pennergy| PICS | REACT

Center for Analyzing Evolved Structures as Optimized Products (AESOP)

Shu Yang, Director
In order to address society’s ever more pressing need to conserve water, nutrients, energy, and sustainability in a highly diverse set of circumstances and environments, Center for Analyzing Evolved Structures as Optimized Products (AESOP) aims to mine nature for its structures, materials, and their processing by bringing together evolutionary biology with the physical sciences and engineering, and find innovative solutions at the system level by creating a new paradigm of algorithmic design of products that transcends scales. The Center will accelerate the discovery rate and technology advancement in manufacturing, assembly, and actuation of flexible, buildable and packable devices that can change shape, orientation, or function depends at least in part on environmental conditions with optimized energy efficiency. In turn, we will improve the synthetic ecosystems in which humans interact, just as organic and living as plants and other animals with their natural habitat. Learn more.

Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM)

Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM) Arjun G. Yodh, Director
The Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM) is the intellectual focal point of materials research at Penn. It hosts the Materials Research Science & Engineering Center (MRSEC), which consists of five Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs) plus selected seed projects. The MRSEC provides crucial support for faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students drawn from different disciplines, to tackle complex materials science projects that can only be addressed in a truly collaborative mode. Learn more.

MURI (via ONR): Phase Change Materials for Photonics

Ritesh Agarwal, Director
Partners: MIT, University of Maryland, University of Minnesota, Purdue

The MURI team will accelerate the discovery of new phase change materials to design and screen candidate materials with desired optoelectronic functionalities encoded in the material. State of the art thin-film deposition and a massive combinatorial synthesis approach combined with defect-engineering techniques will be undertaken to synthesize and characterize selected materials. These materials will then be integrated with novel platforms to assemble new photonic devices and architectures such as fully reconfigurable photonic networks and neuromorphic computing.


Penn Center for Energy Innovation (Pennergy)

Penn Center for Energy Innovation (Pennergy) Cherie Kagan and Andrew Rappe, Co-Directors
The Penn Center for Energy Innovation (Pennergy) brings together world-class researchers to solve scientific and technological problems enabling the efficient use of current energy sources, the practical use of more sustainable energy, and the facile conversion of energy to different forms.  The Center researchers and educators integrate and share their knowledge through energy research, educational, and outreach activities that impact researchers, students, and our community. Learn more.

Penn Institute for Computational Science (PICS)

David Srolovitz, Director
The Penn Institute for Computational Science (PICS) is a cross-disciplinary institute for the advancement, integration, and support of Penn research via the tools and techniques of high-performance computing.Because scientific computing stretches across all areas of science, engineering, medicine and increasingly the humanities, PICS impacts the entire university.PICS promotes research through a regular seminar series, an annual conference, by hosting joint research projects and through researcher and student training. Learn more.


Research and Education in Active Coaching Technologies (REACT) for the Human Habitat

A National Science Foundation-funded Partnerships in International Research and Education project (PIRE)
This PIRE project addresses fundamental research challenges through an international educational platform to develop Active Coating Technologies (ACTs) that divert, collect and purify water (ACT 1), suppress bacteria adhesion and proliferation (ACT 2), and convert and store solar energy (ACT 3). The three ACTs take advantage of the versatility provided by polymers, nanoparticles and their mixtures to create coatings with tailored chemistry, surface texture and function. REACT comprises a multidisciplinary team in the US and France and provides international research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Learn More.