Advancing industry through materials research and education

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by in Academic Departments, Annual Report, Issues, Materials Science and Engineering, Research

For members of the Advanced Materials Industrial Consortium, some of the greatest benefits of membership include access to world-class research—and to the students at all educational levels who conduct that research. “The research we have here is five years or more ahead of the things our members are doing, and they want to know about it,” says Materials Science and Engineering Senior Scientist Jon McCarthy, who is development director for the consortium.

The 25 consortium members range in size from very small to large and include such industry leaders as Sigma-Aldrich, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Brady Corp., as well as startups and emerging companies like SolRayo, Bust the Rust and Silatronix. Many member companies recruit UW-Madison students for internships and several conduct sponsored research projects with both students and faculty. Additionally, members can network during an annual meeting that features a student research poster session and faculty, industry researcher and student talks on relevant topics such as polymers, photonics, biomaterials or energy materials, among others.

Through membership in the 8-year-old consortium, companies also can use a variety of specialized tools in the shared-instrument facilities on campus. These facilities offer campus and non-university researchers both on-location and remote access to state-of-the art instruments that include an FEI Titan aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope, an imaging x-ray photoelectron spectrometer, a Zeiss CrossBeam field-emission scanning electron microscope with a focused ion beam, a Zeiss confocal scanning microscope, and an atomic force microscope for imaging biological samples, among many other instruments for imaging, characterization and analysis. “We have facilities these companies don’t have,” says McCarthy, who oversees the UW-Madison Materials Science Center, Soft Material Center and clean rooms in the Wisconsin Center for Applied Microelectronics. “We have approximately 130 principal investigators who work with materials in diverse fields, about 600 grad students and postdocs, and 30 companies using these facilities. With all of the materials research and characterization capability that’s going on in these laboratories, we have a broad capability to offer state and national companies—many of which don’t have their own R&D, but should know about us.”Bucky Badger head

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