Who We Are

MDI 's team back in the facilites in Evanston in summer of 2023.   Pictured L to R: Jared Rafferty, Abdulrahman Al-Rubkhi, Mary Doxas, Rick Weber, Stephen Wilke, Sophie Benmore.

Our Team

Visiting congress after receiving a 2002 Tibbetts' Award for technology commercialization.    (Pictured L to R: Richard Weber, former Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, Mary Weber, Paul Nordine)


Rick Weber, Founder & President

Rick Weber develops materials processing technologies and high value add materials with a focus on liquids, glasses, and non-equilibrium products. These materials include functional photonic and geological glasses, and organic materials. He has had commercial success with three small businesses as a founder or key staff member. He formed MDI in 2006. Weber also holds an Argonne Associate appointment at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), Argonne National Laboratory.

Materials Development, Inc (MDI) is a materials science and R&D engineering company based in Evanston, Illinois. MDI's focus is on containerless processing, both in developing and improving sample environment as well as making and studying novel materials. MDI's team consists of material scientists, physicists, and engineers and frequently collaborates with scientists at Argonne National Lab, Oak Ridge National Lab, and Brookhaven National Lab, among others.

Prior to forming MDI in 2006, Richard Weber directed the Glass Products Division (GPD) at Containerless Research, Inc. (CRI). This  was commercialized in 2007 when the glass technology was sold.


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Stephen Wilke, Senior R&D Scientist

Stephen helps to lead experiments using containerless and high-temperature techniques to study structure-property-processing relationships in amorphous and glassy materials. These methods include X-ray and neutron scattering, thermophysical property measurements in microgravity, and molecular modeling. Prior to joining MDI in 2020, Stephen completed a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University.  His past research has covered a wide range of materials including applications in energy conversion and storage, thermal management and high temperature redox processes.

Abdulrahman Al-Rubkhi, Research Assistant

Abdulrahman joined MDI in 2022 after completing a double bachelors degree in Physics and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois, Chicago. He is helping to develop new glass and amorphous materials, developing samples for experiments at the Advanced Phtoton Source (APS) and the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), and analyzing data from MDI's ISS experiments. Abdulrahman also assists with mechanical design aspects of instruments.

Jared Rafferty, Controls Engineer

Jared joined MDI in 2019 after completing his bachelors degree in Physics at Loyola University.  He is responsible for developing LabVIEW software and electronic hardware  for advanced instruments.  He is working on optimization of acoustic drive system for next generation levitation instruments. He is supporting experiments for research at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) and helping to analyze data from various projects.  Jared is a qualified APS user.