One of the most forward-focused occupants of the Lewis Building is the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry (CSMC), which is devoted to the development of new methods and new techniques in sustainable chemistry. The focal point for the UO’s pioneering green chemistry programs, the CSMC is a nationwide program with state and federal partners such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology, as well as private-sector partners such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM.
In addition to advancing the scientific enterprise, the center aims to transform the next generation of products. Among other projects, researchers are working to produce thinner electronic components and reducing waste in the semiconductor industry to make the production of flat panel television sets greener. Through the center, the UO supports the Oregon governor’s Green Chemistry Innovation Initiative.
Oregon State University is a close partner with the UO in the CSMC. Working together, the two Oregon institutions have produced some significant results, including an electronic switch that outperforms the fastest silicon-based semiconductors, and waterbased manufacturing techniques that reduce waste and improve productivity. The center has spun off two startup companies and generated more than a dozen U.S. patents.
Another key goal of the CSMC is to prepare students to become the next generation of green chemists. By offering collaborative mentorships, the program aims to broaden graduate student perspectives and opportunities and shorten the time to degree. Students begin their careers by taking a series of summer immersion courses in semiconductor processing. CSMC programs have placed graduate students in high schools to inspire more Oregon students to go to college, and graduate students have participated in industrial, teaching, or national lab internships to help define their career paths, expand research opportunities, and inspire a love of teaching.