You are here

Annual Report 2021

Director's Message

headshot of Stefan ZauscherDear colleagues and friends of the Duke Materials Initiative,

Welcome to this second annual report of the Duke Materials Initiative, in which we bring you highlights of our recent work and show impact toward solving some of society’s toughest challenges. In the highlights below you will see how we are leveraging the strength of interdisciplinary collaboration to:

We are grateful for the steady and growing support of external funding for these endeavors from the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and others. We are also excited and emboldened by support from the Duke Science and Technology (DST) initiative, funded, in part, by a $100 million investment from the Duke Endowment. The DST will impact materials science and engineering research by enabling Duke University to hire talented new faculty who will advance research in key science and engineering areas for decades into the future.

Thank you for your support—as colleagues, collaborators and friends of the growing enterprise of materials science and engineering at Duke University!


Stefan Zauscher

Director, Duke Materials Initiative
Professor, Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science

We Are Growing

exterior of brick and glass building on Duke University campus

New Wilkinson Building Adds 150k Square Feet to Advance Research and Education

Duke Engineering’s building fosters collaboration with research neighborhoods, dedicated entrepreneurial space and student hands-on learning labs

close up of microscope with slide underneath and fingers of scientist in blue gloves

$100 Million to Hire New Duke Science and Technology Faculty

The Duke Endowment is supporting Duke University’s efforts to expand its faculty in computation, materials science and the resilience of the body and brain

white man in navy blue suit standing with arms crossed

Jerome Lynch Named New Dean of Pratt School of Engineering

University of Michigan chair of civil and environmental engineering attracted by collaborative, interdisciplinary culture of Duke University

Xiaoyue Ni wearing blue lab coat in her lab

New Faculty Member Xiaoyue Ni

Xiaoyue Ni develops programmable materials and wearable electronic devices to advance precision medicine and health monitoring in the digital age

artist's rendering of a polymer network

Duke Soft Matter Symposium Attracts Worldwide Audience

Duke Materials Initiative’s milestone event on polymer networks engages 300+ attendees from 16 nations

Interdisciplinary Centers and Collaborations

David Beratan close up with map in the background

Using Quantum Rules to Move Chemistry into Uncharted Territory

Duke's Center for Synthesizing Quantum Coherence is pioneering a new paradigm for doing chemistry with applications in many fields

grid of headshots of team members on MONET project

NSF Creates Polymer Chemistry Optimization Center at Duke for Future Materials

The five-year, $20 million National Science Foundation grant will enable the MONET collaboration to transform design of polymer networks

Mark Wiesner close-up in right side of frame, trees blurred in background

New Network to Advance International Efforts for Sustainable Materials

INFRAMES will connect researchers across fields and nations to build the collaborations and resources to study the sustainability of future materials

headshot of woman on the left and man on the right in circles against tan background

Duke Leads Two New MURI Awards

Stefano Curtarolo’s team uses AI to design new super-hard materials and Maiken Mikkelsen’s team uses metasurfaces to create a 'super camera'

Research Highlights

Artist rendition of a pile of eight-sided structures with red dots at their corners

Twisting, Flexible Crystals Key to Solar Energy Production

Researchers show how shapes and movements of halide perovskites create desirable renewable energy properties

graphic of DNA packaging motor

Researchers Reveal the Inner Workings of a Viral DNA-Packaging Motor

A trilogy of papers provides insight into a critical step in how some viruses reproduce

3D device rendering

Engineers Demonstrate World's First Fully Recyclable Printed Electronics

The new technique reclaims nearly 100% of all-carbon-based transistors while retaining future functionality of the materials

A tube created by light blue boundaries with small particles within - all against a darker blue background

‘Shadow Waveguide’ Casts Complex Acoustic Patterns to Control Particles

New approach to 'acoustic tweezers' using metamaterials could help push past limitations for cell and tissue engineering applications

woman sitting in civil and environmental engineering laboratory

Re-Engineering the Consumer Product Life Cycle

Duke civil and environmental engineers are working to make raw materials more sustainable and reimagining how we deal with harmful waste

Materials + Medicine

surgeon wearing yellow gloves holds UV light on a surgical implant in the operating room

Antimicrobial Coating for Orthopedic Implants Prevents Dangerous Infections

Customizable to individual patients and requiring less than 10 minutes to prepare and use, new surgical implant coating prevented 100% of infections in mice

A man in a lab holding a plastic tube

Post-Surgical Patch Releases Non-Opioid Painkiller Directly to the Wound

New polymer promises localized pain control for critical first four days

plastic piece of device used to test for COVID

Test Distinguishes SARS-CoV-2 from Other Coronaviruses with 100% Accuracy

Duke University biomedical engineers have demonstrated a tablet-sized platform that could also predict COVID-19 case severity and immunity against variants

Shyni Varghese sitting at lab bench

Activating Mechanisms to Heal Bone Fractures and Reverse Osteoporosis

Duke University's Shyni Varghese is capitalizing on the body's production of adenosine to treat bone fracture and osteoporosis

graphic of human pelvis adjacent to X-ray of matching hemipelvis titanium implant

Developing Materials for Medical Implants to Repair Human Bone and for Other Applications

Duke University's Ken Gall translates basic materials research into medical implants to support the human skeleton and brings them to patients

Influential Faculty

logos for Cozzarelli Prize, Royal Society of Chemistry, NSF, Acta Biomaterialia, AAAS

Duke Materials Initiative Faculty Honored by Peers

Congratulations to DMI researchers recognized for their outstanding contributions to materials science and engineering

four headshots against gray backgroun

Four Researchers Recognized as Most Highly Cited

Four Duke Materials Initiative researchers were listed among the most highly cited scholars by Clarivate's Web of Science

Materials Science & Engineering Education

student in clean room garb with mask holding bottle of chemicals

Materials Science & Engineering Education Programs Expand at Duke

Students at all levels have new opportunities for interdisciplinary training

man in red shirt points to poster on easel while others listen to his presentation

Duke Engineering Lab Offers Public School Science Teachers Nanotechnology Experience

Stefan Zauscher’s lab provides hands-on summer research experiences for two public school science teachers, reaping benefits in the process