In modern society, functional materials are a part of our everyday life. Materials are all around us: from the anti-reflective coating on your windows or spectacles, the battery that supplies electrical energy for your smartphone, to the cement that holds together your house.
The study of materials involves developing our knowledge of how materials obtain their properties, and we do this by the examination of the arrangement of atoms and atomic bonds at all length scales. Understanding these atomic patterns help us determine how we can design exciting new materials that are fit for purpose. Working with materials also demands knowledge and access to a plethora of advanced analytical techniques that allow us to follow the influence of even the most subtle manipulations.
Materials research is the study of matter, and seeks to challenge the existing knowledge and understanding of how materials work. We challenge what is written in current textbooks and try to find new revolutionary ways of making and using materials for the future.
Materials research directly benefits society as it paves the way for smarter materials. Materials that will increase the efficiency in, for instance, solar cells or batteries. We also aim to seek out safer materials that can replace their previous harmful predecessors, materials that draw on more sustainable resources, materials that are recyclable...
In short, materials research holds the key to a more sustainable future for society.