The department has an internationally recognized research program in structural, functional, and biological materials, spanning synthesis, characterization, processing, modeling activities, with strong links to academic, government, and industrial research centers. Areas include plasma processing (eg. nanofluids, carbon nanotubes, advanced coatings) and polymeric or “soft” materials research (eg. self-assembling or structured materials, complex fluids, liquid crystals, colloids and soft composites and novel polymerization methods). Applications of the research are targeted towards the development of next-generation high-density storage media, functional coatings, electronic devices, composite fluids and “smart” materials, to name but a few.