Founded in 1960, the Pennsylvania Research Laboratory for the Structure of Matter (LRSM) is a leader in the synthesis, characterization, theory, and modeling of entirely new classes of materials that may serve as the basis for the development of future technologies that have a significant impact on society's research and educational needs.
The Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) at the University of Pennsylvania takes a multidisciplinary approach to solving fundamental materials problems that may become the foundation of future technologies, thereby having a significant impact on society's research and education needs. The Structure of Matter Research Laboratory (LRSM), the intellectual focus of materials research at Penn, consists of three interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs) and the growing Seed Program that hosts MRSEC research. MRSEC provides critical support to faculty, postdoc, and graduate students from diverse disciplines to tackle complex materials science projects that can only be tackled in a truly collaborative model, through which MRSEC leverage Penn's strengths in design, synthesis, characterization, theory, and modeling to create and understand entirely new classes of materials. These projects are made possible by the extensive expertise of the scientific staff, the complex equipment of the laboratory, and the technical and management infrastructure at LRSM's disposal.
LRSM plays a special role on Penn's campus: it fosters collaboration between faculty from different departments and colleges, and promotes connections with partners in industry, government, academia, and society at large. LRSM has extensive experience in managing IRG members, nurturing seed programs, and acquiring, establishing, and maintaining shared experimental facilities (SEFs) for the benefit of the materials research community. LRSM provides education and outreach in this "research" context and is active in the field of human Resource development (HRD) through programs aimed at students at all levels, from K-12 to postdocs, faculty, small college teachers, regional academics, industry and government scientists, the international scientific community, and the public. A major goal of LRSM's education and human resource development efforts is to attract more Americans into STEM fields and bring them to the highest possible level of education, with a focus on underrepresented minorities, women, and people with disabilities; The second goal is to educate the public about important ideas in materials science and engineering and the social relevance of the materials field.