Smart Materials Lab (SML)

NYU Abu Dhabi Smart Materials Lab group photo.

Welcome to the website of the Smart Materials Lab! 

Our vibrant research team at the Smart Materials Lab works at the interface of science and engineering to explore new materials for applications in the energy, water, and health sectors. At the core of our research is the design, assessment, and application of a broad range of smart materials with extraordinary properties such as capabilities for reshaping, memorizing, moving, programming, self-repairing, and healing. We are particularly interested in materials that hold the potential for efficient and controllable transduction of energy in the form of light or heat into work that can be used in a range of devices.

Over the past decade, we at the Smart Materials Lab have pioneered the new research field of crystal adaptronics, which explores the dynamic aspects of ordered organic solid states and related methodologies, specifically the emerging class of adaptive molecular crystals, where molecular-scale perturbations are amplified to a response on a macroscopic scale. Aside from the contribution to the fundamental understanding of the performance limits of organic materials, the underlying phenomena are also the foundational basis for all-organic optics and electronics, organic emissive devices, smart membranes for separation, organic biomedical materials, and soft robots.

Some of our most recent discoveries include:

  • mechanically compliant organic crystals that can be reversibly bent, twisted, and coiled  
  • crystals with self-healing and shape-memory capabilities
  • flexible organic single-crystalline conductors and semiconductors
  • superelastic, ferroelastic, ferroelectric, and mechanoelastic crystalline materials
  • organic crystalline waveguides for transmission of light in the visible and telecom ranges
  • superhydrophobic and self-cleaning materials and surfaces
  • photochemistry, emissive materials, chemiluminescence, and bioluminescence
  • smart hybrid materials combining polymers and crystals for thermal sensing, soft robotics, underwater, and remote applications
  • organic flexible devices for sensing, monitoring, and actuation 
  • organic components for batteries, transistors, and other devices
  • bioinspired and biomimetic materials for water harvesting and purification
  • soft and light materials with extraordinary mechanical strength
  • materials chemistry for petroleomics (chemistry of oil) and development of related sensing technologies 

We are proud that the Smart Materials Lab is the leading team in impactful chemistry research in the United Arab Emirates, with research output that, according to the Nature Index, accounts for 40‒60% of the total chemistry publications within the country, both in fractional count and weighed fractional count. The past and current research projects in the Smart Materials Lab have been sponsored by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), Human Science Frontier Program Organization (HFSPO), and the UAE National Research Foundation (NRF), in addition to generous financial support from NYUAD and the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute. The members of the Smart Materials Lab work closely with NYUAD’s Center for Smart Engineering Materials (CSEM).



Contact Us

Panče Naumov
Principal Investigator, Professor of Chemistry
Phone: +971-2-628-4572
Sarah Galang
Laboratory Operations Coordinator
Phone: +971-2-628-7931