Architectures for Energy Conversion and Storage
Systematic design of oxide, carbide, and sulfide materials can be accomplished through utilization of a various synthetic methods that include metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD), microwave heating, magnetron sputtering, and thermal conversion. Finite control over chemical composition and structural morphology is critical for energy conversion and storage applications which are governed by surface interactions of involved species.
Processing conditions will facilitate nucleation of desirable dimensionalities including 0-D (Nanoparticles), 1-D (nanowires), 2-D (Thin films), and 3-D (structured arrays) architectures. Correlation of structure and functionality will guide further tuning of morphological modifications to optimize energy conversion and storage capabilities.
Structural and Electroanalytical Characterization of Energy Conversion Catalysts and Energy Storage Materials
Development of structure-function correlations in energy-conversion catalysts and energy storage materials is a critical imperative for propagating rational, mechanism-driven synthesis of efficient device components. Exhaustive structural characterization methods that span ex-situ and in-situ microscopy and spectroscopy techniques will allow for the elucidation of reaction mechanisms that are inherently dependent upon material composition, morphology, and electronic structure.
To compliment structural characterization methods, precise electroanalytical screening and quantitative analytical methods will identify promising materials with applications in electrochemical and photoelectrochemical reduction (H2 evolution, CO2 reduction, N2 fixation) and oxidation (O2 evolution) of small molecules, as well as in rechargeable batteries (multivalent intercalant hosts).
Materials Synthesis for Environmental Remediation
Organic-inorganic composite membranes and nanoparticles have been used in the environmental remediation of polluted water, however historically, they are not economically feasible or robust, as their performance quickly deteriorates with time. Mesoporous monoliths offer stable networks that can be synthesized with well-defined surface areas and pore sizes.
In the proposed work, monoliths and nanostructured metal chalcogens will be synthesized and functionalized to create robust, cost-effective systems for the removal of oil, heavy metals, and metal ions from polluted water.
Nanocrystalline iron oxides and oxyhydroxides are also being explored for the immobilization of radioactive waste leachate
Hafnium oxide (HfO2) monolith