A new grant from the U.S. Department of Defense will allow a UND professor to discover and study new science materials that show strikingly broad properties.

Through the DoD’s Defense Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR), UND Assistant Professor Deniz Cakir has been awarded nearly $600,000 to study unique combinations of materials, with ceramic-like and metal-like traits, that could be used in many applications, including national defense.

Cakir and his collaborators will be studying MAB phases, a family of materials that have attracted attention due to their unique combination of ceramic-like and metal-like traits. For example, the materials show not only high melting points and strong corrosion resistance, but also excellent electrical and thermal conductivity, and magnetism at room temperature, UND said in a press release.

Once properly synthesized and understood, these materials can potentially find their way into many applications and fields, including areas vital to national defense.

More than 150 projects were submitted to the program and only 17 were selected nationwide for funding totaling $10.2 million, including Cakir’s “Discovering New Atomically Laminated Transition Metal Borides with Diverse Properties.”

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Cakir, an assistant professor of physics and astrophysics in UND’s College of Arts & Sciences, will be working with Turan Birol, a professor at the University of Minnesota, on the three-year project. A small team of UND graduate students and post-doctoral researchers also will take part.

“I was thrilled to see Dr. Cakir secure the DEPSCoR award," said John Mihelich, UND's vice president for research and economic development. "The award will support his innovative research and collaborations while serving as an important advance in our broader efforts across campus to grow research in National Security with the DoD, other federal agencies and industry. We're also striving to align these efforts with those across the state.”