The Center for Research on Interface Structures and Phenomena, or CRISP, will soon receive a $13 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

The grant, which was announced Sept. 8, designates CRISP as a National Science Foundation Center of Excellence for Materials Research and Innovation and will allow the center to double its staff size. In addition, the funds will go toward strengthening the center’s efforts to help students and teachers learn and teach science and technology in New Haven public schools, a move that the center’s education director, Christine Broadbridge, said is vital for state and national competitiveness.

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“The time for the $13 million federal investment is exactly right,” said Broadbridge, chair and professor of physics at Southern Connecticut State University, which shared the grant with Yale. “This grant allows us to build on the very successful initiatives of the initial CRISP grant to implement a focused effort impacting New Haven Public Schools.”

Typically, a National Science Foundation grant of this type is linked to outstanding research and integration with education and outreach, she explained. CRISP’s research is focused in two main areas — the study of oxides and of metallic surfaces — that have potential applications in the computing, communication, and medical industries.

The grant will allow the center’s education outreach program, which offers research experiences for New Haven high school students, to expand, Broadbridge said. For teachers and students in the local public school district, the program also offers professional development and other educational resources, she added.

“Via CRISP, Yale, SCSU and NHPS have an established track record of collaboration and successful implementation of high impact initiatives for students and teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” she said.

The two interdisciplinary research groups, the Atomic Scale Design, Control, and Characterization of Oxide Structures and the Multi-Scale Surface Engineering with Metallic Glasses group, will take advantage of the new funding.

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences professor of chemical and environmental engineering Eric Altman, who heads the research group studying oxides with associate professor of applied physics Sohrab Ismail-Beigi, said that the grant helps his group facilitate a change in research direction. They will now seek to create oxides with unique physical properties to suit specific applications, he said, adding that new equipment and a bigger budget will both be helpful in this endeavor.

Although Altman’s group will not be adding more research positions, the other research group, led by Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Jan Schroers and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Udo Schwarz, is expected to recruit several new members, including undergraduates, as part of the overall center’s doubling in size, Altman said.

CRISP was launched in 2005 with the help of a $7.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation.