The FIU-2DCC Partnership for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) between Florida International University (FIU) and the 2D Crystal Consortium Materials Innovation Platform (2DCC MIP) at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), will function as a science and education platform between FIU and 2DCC with the ultimate goal of increasing diversity in materials research. FIU, a premier Minority Serving Institution located in Miami, Florida, enrolls 58,928 students combining all levels of academic instruction, with 79% of students from an underrepresented minority in STEM (more than 65% Hispanic or Latino and more than 12% Black or African American), and 57% women, is uniquely positioned to promote broadening participation in STEM fields. FIU-2DCC PREM will integrate transformative research with innovative education and outreach to promote recruitment and implement participation of over 30 Ph.D., over 20 M.S. and over 40 B.S. students, the majority being from underrepresented minority groups in STEM and women. The students will be immersed in a research-intensive environment to gain expertise in quantum materials research and will be provided with a 360-degree toolkit for success, comprising dual mentoring by faculty at both institutions, access to experts and instrumentation, and career skills training. Through the student exchange initiative, the team will grow in diversity and drive innovative problem-solving. Through the PREM, FIU will become a materials research hub in South Florida while enriching the collaborative partnership with 2DCC MIP at Penn State. The research outcomes will be disseminated through peer-reviewed articles and conference presentations, and the student success will be publicized through the dedicated project website and outreach events. The project will lead to a sustainable pipeline of minority students and women joining the materials science workforce.
The interdisciplinary research of FIU-2DCC PREM will enable uncovering of phenomena related to quantum emission in two-dimensional (2D) materials, the realization of 2D-materials based quantum converters, and understanding of the mechanical properties governing the interfaces between the 2D quantum materials and the substrates supporting their integration into future quantum devices. The PREM team will focus on fundamental and practical aspects of new 2D materials and processes that can be transformative in the emerging field of Quantum Science and provide advanced characterization methods to ensure long-term 2D resilience in future quantum devices. Organized in three major thrusts, the collaborative research will focus on: (1) novel 2D quantum dots for developing Single Photon Emitters useful in Quantum Science; (2) layered crystals with optical nonlinearity for developing 2D quantum frequency converters; and (3) mechanical behavior of stand-alone and substrate-deposited 2D materials, assisted by predictive models to support 2D materials discovery and atomic-level characterization of 2D materials. The user facilities at 2DCC MIP of Penn State, along with unique equipment at FIU, will accelerate quantum materials discovery and enable cross-disciplinary student training. Ultimately, this research partnership will increase the understanding of fundamental mechanisms governing room-temperature 2D quantum emission, generate layered crystals for miniaturized quantum converters, and pave the way for scalable quantum computing, with potential to deliver significant societal progress.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.