The educational and research efforts of the multidisciplinary W. M. Keck Computational Materials Theory Center (CMTC) at California State University Northridge (CSUN), a Hispanic-serving institution, focus on:
- fostering multidisciplinary and innovative research in computational materials science;
- educating and training students in cutting-edge computational materials science;
- stimulating and developing strong industry-university-national laboratory partnerships; and
- increasing recruitment, retention, and degree attainment by members of groups underrepresented in materials research.
The materials research emphasis is on the development of physical models, numerical algorithms and robust simulation techniques for the study of:
- mechanical properties of metallic systems;
- charge and spin transport in two-dimensional interacting electron systems; and
- spin transport in magnetic tunneling junctions.
Some of these developments involve linking multiple length and time scales, as well as combining various building blocks that have been studied in the traditionally separated disciplines. These disciplinary boundaries need to be eliminated in order to seamlessly integrate complementary computational methodologies and thereby facilitate the investigation of problems too complex to be tackled by a single technique. We have assembled a multidisciplinary team consisting of a tightly knit group of scientists with coordinated and complementary skills. The project has direct applications to future nanotechnology; the theoretical/computational efforts outlined may guide the development of novel materials and devices for nano-applications. The CMTC with its partner (PCCM) expand and strengthen educational and outreach programs to nurture collaborations in materials research/education, and to enhance infrastructure for the broader community through the following:
- organization of summer schools, tutorials and workshops designed to disseminate information on the latest developments in materials science, especially those involving innovative computational algorithms and tools;
- summer Materials Science Camp for local high school teachers;
- distinguished lecture series; and
- industrial/national laboratories outreach.
This center along with the establishment of an NSF-PREM significantly advances the quality of research and education at CSUN, achieving national competitiveness and promoting accessibility of frontier research/education experience in materials research to students from underrepresented groups. Integration of teaching and research assists our students in making informed career choices and improving their participation in post-graduate education.