Michigan State University, the nation’s Pioneer Land Grant institution, has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives for nearly 200 years. In addition to being a major source of engineering talent for the Midwest region, MSU has developed research strength in areas of high interest to the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Department of Defense in general. These include wide bandgap semiconductors, radiation effects on materials, advanced manufacturing methods, and utilization of data science and pattern recognition methods for a wide range of applications from biometrics to material discovery.

A long-term strength of MSU is in diamond as a semiconductor. This wide bandgap, high thermal conductivity material offers performance advantages over other semiconductors. It also offers unique potential for optical windows. MSU has extensive experience in growing single crystal and nanocrystalline diamond. MSU’s experience in this material has led to a growing strength in nitrogen-vacancy diamond for quantum sensor applications.

With the commissioning of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, a Department of Energy facility, on the MSU campus, the university has exceptional strength in both accelerator development for heavy ions but also applications of such beams. As an example, MSU is expanding its capability for design and testing of semiconductors in extreme conditions including space-based applications from low earth orbit to cis-lunar orbits.

As one of the largest universities in Michigan, MSU has extensive experience in advanced manufacturing with metals, polymer composites, and hybrid materials. This includes the capability to develop materials from coupons, to prototypes, to pre-production articles. Manufacturing methods include traditional approaches as well as additive methods.

Advanced computational methods and tools underpin much of what is done at MSU from object identification using pattern recognition and artificial intelligence to multi-scale material design and discovery (microscopic through mesoscopic to macroscopic length scales). This includes the use of AI-enabled modeling of material formation and performance.

Basic research is leveraged towards production-level partners through a more than 20-year partnership with FraunhoferUSA. The Center Midwest is headquartered on the campus of MSU and located at several sites across Michigan. Through this partnership, MSU can access the expertise of the Fraunhofer Society in Germany – the global leader in transition of basic and applied research to industry. This partnership can leverage all the global expertise of Fraunhofer.

The comprehensive and innovative research conducted at Michigan State University in these areas not only advances scientific knowledge but also plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of AFRL’s key interests in aerospace technology, defense capabilities, and space exploration.

Visit the Michigan State University Research Website