Ainissa Ramirez (Scientist)

Aineesa RamirezMaterials scientist Ainissa Ramirez lives for figuring out new ways to control metals and shape them into materials that can be put to practical use — for instance, in the ever-shrinking smart phones.

Her research on shape memory alloys — so-called “smart materials” — and on a solder that can be manipulated into place with a magnetic field has kept her busy during her time in Yale’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

“Metals are often overlooked as a field for innovation,” says Ramirez. “These materials are fundamental to things that we use everyday.”

Ramirez is known for discovering a universal solder that can bond metals to ceramics, glass, diamonds and the oxide materials used in semiconductor fabrication. She also developed thin film shape-memory alloys, which have the unique property of “remembering” and reverting back to their original shape.

 “My work is in understanding their thin film behavior and integrating them into microelectromechanical systems (or MEMS),” says Ramirez. “We’re now using these materials as a way to move a MEMS device. These materials would help move liquids or blood in medical devices.”

The diverse applications for these metals have made them increasingly important and visible to the world, she adds.

Here she is giving a lesson about space shuttle fabrication:

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