Research activities in polymers at MIT reflect the diverse interests of the faculty. PPST students are often engaged in interdisciplinary research topics involving collaboration of two or more faculty members. Typical of many interdisciplinary research activities at MIT, PPST student will often have co-advisors and thesis committee members from departments other than the student’s home department. Each of the four participating departments in PPST has guidelines for co-advising and thesis committee structure. PPST students are expected to work with the Graduate Officer in the home department to ensure that these guidelines are met satisfactorily.
Research is conducted for the most part in the laboratories of individual faculty members. However, the entire polymer research community at MIT benefits from the well-equipped characterization facilities of the Center for Materials Science and Engineering (CMSE), the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN), and the NanoLab. In these facilities, major pieces of specialized equipment are maintained and made available to researchers. Among the items available in the facility are advanced thermal analysis equipment, x-ray scattering equipment, scanning and transmission electron microscopes, ultramicrotomes, an image analyzing computer, AFM, various optical and infrared spectrometers, ellipsometry, profilometry and dynamic mechanical testing devices.
Polymer research opportunities at MIT include: functional polymers, biomaterials, controlled drug delivery, nanostructured polymers, polymers at interfaces, self-assembly, polymer synthesis, molecular modeling, polymer physics, polymer mechanics and rheology, biomimetic materials, polymers in energy.