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Research at PRISM is highly interdisciplinary and interactive. Much of the research takes place through research centers focused on specific emerging fields. The current centers are listed below.

Princeton Center for Complex Materials (PCCM)

Director: Prof. Nai-Phuan Ong

PCCM is an NSF-funded Materials Science and Research Center (MRSEC) at Princeton University dedicated to pushing the frontiers of complexity in materials science. PCCM brings together over thirty faculty from six departments in the natural sciences and engineering, and currently has four Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs) and several seed projects. In addition to conducting forefront materials research, the center sponsors an active Industrial collaboration and educational outreach programs involving elementary, middle and high schools, as well as a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and a Research Experience for Teachers (RET) programs.  

Mid-InfraRed Technologies for Health and the Environment (MIRTHE)

Director: Prof. Claire Gmachl

MIRTHE is a National Science Foundation (NSF)  Engineering Research Center (ERC) led by Princeton University, with partners City College New York, Johns Hopkins University, Rice University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.  MIRTHE develops mid-infrared ( ~ 3  - 20  µm) optical trace gas sensing systems based on new technologies such as quantum cascade lasers or quartz enhanced photo-acoustic spectroscopy, with the ability to detect minute amounts of chemicals found in the environment or atmosphere, emitted from spills, combustion, natural sources, or exhaled in human breath. Through its fundamental research and prototyping in materials, sources, detectors, sensing systems, and application test beds, MIRTHE addresses a broad range of technologies and industry sectors – semiconductors, test and measurement, medical equipment manufacturers, chemical and petrochemical, and homeland security – as well as government labs and hospitals.  MIRTHE provides an interdisciplinary and practice-oriented education for a competitive and diverse U.S. workforce and seeks to educate the public about chemical sensing applied to the environment, homeland security, and health.

Princeton Physical Sciences-Oncology Center (PPS-OC)

Director: Prof. Robert Austin

The PPS-OC is one of 12 National Cancer Institute (NCI) funded centers established to engage trans-disciplinary scientific teams from the fields of physics, biology, chemistry and engineering to examine non-traditional approaches to cancer research.  The Princeton Physical Sciences-Oncology Center's goal is to understand the explosive evolution of cancer under stress at a deep theoretical and experimental level.  The research utilizes experimental microfabrication techniques to create complex habitats that will allow researchers to analyze how different conditions may promote or inhibit cancer evolution and tumor formation.  The PPS-OC will provide education outreach and training opportunities, and will fund a number of innovative pilot projects relating to cancer research. Collaborating with Princeton will be: The University of California San Francisco, the Johns Hopkins University, the University of California Santa Cruz and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. 

Combustion Energy Frontier Research Center (CEFRC)

Director:  Prof. Chung K. Law
Co-Director:  Prof. Emily A. Carter

The CEFRC center, sponsored by the Department of Energy (DOE), will focus on the science underlying the development of non-petroleum-based fuels, including carbon-neutral biofuels and their optimal use in transportation.  Fundamental insights in combustion and fuel chemistry ranging from quantum chemistry to turbulence-chemistry interactions will address the goal enunciated by the 2007 DOE Basic Energy Sciences Workshop, namely to develop a "validated, predictive, multi-scale, combustion modeling capability to optimize the design and operation of evolving fuels in advanced engines for transportation applications."  This science intrinsically involves chemistry with transport at conditions far from equilibrium and at high pressures, the control of process at the level of electrons, and a coordinated multi-scale approach for understanding and predicting emergent behaviors such as nanoscale particle properties and turbulent flame phenomena.

Center for Networks, Science, and Applications (CNSA)

Director: Prof. Paul Prucnal

The PRISM Center for Networks Science and Applications (CNSA) conducts collaborative Industry/Government/University research leading to the transfer of advanced communications technology to the government and private sectors.  The Center serves to identify technology and systems requirements of next generation communications networks.